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Cost to Raise Calves and Expected Market Value

Cost to Raise Calves and Expected Market Value?
John Dhuyvetter    

The big market adjustment that occurred last fall taking cattle prices down significantly, has producers wondering where calf prices will be this fall for the 2016 calf crop currently being born.  In the NDSU agricultural economics publication “Plotting a Course 2016 – Agricultural Planning Prices for ND”, 500-600 pound steer calves are projected at $1.75 per pound for this fall.  This is similar to last fall’s prices, but below current seasonal highs for light weight feeders coming into a grazing season.  It also appears to be in line with thoughts and rumors for fall calf contracts.

Cow calf managers might want to do some planning and budgeting to project how adjusting markets impact returns and cash flow of their business.  An easy to use budget calculator is available for this purpose at ag.ndsu/northcentralrec/livestock-extension by clicking on “Cow Web”.    This interactive web-based spreadsheet allows you to input herd inventory, marketing intentions, pasture rents and costs, feed use and value, direct operating costs, an estimate of several overheads, and debt service to project cash flow costs per cow, per calf, and a breakeven calf price.  For help in using Cow Web or additional questions call 701-857-7682.

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