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Fair Rate for Custom Calving

March 16, 2015

What’s a Fair Rate for Custom Calving?Fair_Rate
Agreements between parties for someone to calve another’s cows, tend to be as unique as the circumstances of people looking to hire out or take on calving responsibilities.  Cow owners need to be comfortable who they hire to do their calving has the labor, facilities, feed, and record keeping for a good outcome.  The custom calver needs to be aware of the condition of the cattle, breeding, and handling of the cattle he will be taking on, and assured he will get payment for his feed and services.

A typical situation might entail:  cows are brought in for a couple of month feeding and calving period in which the cow owner pays the feed/yardage along with a labor and management fee for calving/processing/ and recordkeeping.  Additionally there is often an incentive payment for live healthy calves.  The owner is also responsible for veterinary costs associated with c-sections, prolapses, and other needed treatments.  Labor required for calving might be less than 1 hour per head for late spring pasture calving, or more than a couple of hours per head for winter barn/lot calving.  Labor inputs will also vary by group size, and weather heifers or cows are being calved.

For an example: assume feed and feeding yardage of $2.00/head per day, $40/heifer (cow) labor charge and a $25/pair incentive.  The bill to feed and calve out 50 heifers over a 60 day period with a 90% calf survival rate would be $9125, or $183 per heifer.  What would you do it for?  Whatever is agreed upon, put it in a simple written, signed agreements.

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