Cattle costs...what??

People often forget what the cost associated with raising cattle are, and wonder why the price of meat continues to rise; what really goes into the raising a cattle on a farm in order to generate the supply of meat needed for the demand of shoppers? According to there are six basic expenses in the beginning that should be accounted for: cow, shelter, water, pasture, hay and ground feed, veterinary and other costs.

COW: The purchase of the cows will depend on the breed. An additional cost to consider is the farmer who takes out a loan to buy their cattle. There is interest involved with the bank on that cattle and the death loss. A starter herd could cost around $5000.00.

SHELTER: The costs to shelter them will very, do you want a barn or a windbreak shelter.

WATER: A normal cow will consume approximately 12 gallons of water per day. Imagine having a dozen cows, that’s 144 gallons of water per day, and in the winter tank heaters will be necessary . . . that’s an added expense a consumer would not consider

PASTURE: You are what you eat and so are your cattle. Providing a quality pasture with a “mixture of alfalfa, brome, and timothy will help the cattle thrive and in the end produce quality meat. The farmer should have 20 acres of grass for one “head of cattle.”

HAY and GROUND FEED: The same holds true here as well; Hay comes in many varieties. One cow will consume ½ to ¾ tons of hay. Yes ton of hay and a thousand pounds of ground feed per cow. Corn is said to be the best ground feed.  This is 70-75% of the costs to raise cattle.

VET and OTHER: Such a vast category. Think about how much it costs to take your pet to the Vet, imagine having a few dozen cows. That can add up. As for other costs, think about the transportations, insurance for the property and the livestock, general overhead, and labor costs associated with the cattle.  


Next time you’re shopping and you wonder why the beef costs so much, there are those hidden expenses the standard shopper doesn’t think about.