Source: Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee Apr 7, 2022

A recent question that crossed my path was, what is the biggest cost in a cow-calf operation?

The typical answer is the cost of feeding animals including pasture, hay, and supplemental feed. However, this question that has been asked several times throughout my years at the University, made me do a little more thinking. What is one of largest costs for an individual animal?

The answer to that is failure to wean and market a calf. This may come in the form of failure to conceive, abortion, or calf dying prior to marketing. Regardless of the reason, failure to market a calf out of a cow every 12 months can become expensive and will cost more this year than last year as prices continue to increase. This is an important topic as the spring calving season will soon begin and as the breeding season for fall calving cows is ending.

Producers should consider investing in pregnancy determination and marketing females that fail to calve.

Another question, can a person be called a cattle producer if all their cows do not produce? Does that make them a part time producer?