What is the average annual cost of raising cattle for meat?

I need exact figures for how much it costs to raise one cow for meat. This should include the cost of feed, medicine, insurance, etc. Also, what is the minimum amount of land required to raise only one cow. Please, only people with either lots of personal experience raising livestock or those with a reliable reference. Please site where you got your information. Thank you.


@Betty: I'm actually doing a research paper that compares growing plants to raising livestock and the effects it has on different factors e.i. environmental, hunger, etc. I'm very much pro vegetable (as I'm vegan).

P.S. I'm not one of those vegans who condemn "meat-eaters", although, I do believe we should all eat more fresh fruits and veggies...

Update 2:

@WRB: Thank you, sir. Your antagonistic words of sarcasm have given me a lot to think about. Being negative won't help anyone. I will do a little more research as to what kind of animals you can slaughter and where the optimum location to do so is and then rephrase my question. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

6 Answers

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    I totally agree with WRB.

    But to answer your questions:

    Cost of feed: varies from location to location (hay is cheap in the east, expensive in the west; corn is expensive everywhere but the corn belt, etc.)

    Cost of medicine: varies from vet to vet, feed store to feed store, etc.

    Cost of insurance: I know several farmers (I'm one of them)...none of which have insurance for thier livestock.

    Minimum amount of land for a bovine: 100 sq ft or so...assuming you are feeding them stored feeds. (hay, grain, etc). if you're pasturing them, it varies by location. in the mid-atlantic region, you can get by with one animal unit (1,000 lbs of livestock) per acre.

    Also, since you are comparing plants to livestock, I would suggest having more than one cow to compare to a field full of crops. I say that because feed is usually the #1 cost of production when dealing with livestock and when you buy feed by the ton for multiple animals, it is much cheaper.

    Growing crops: I suggest you fully research this, too. Include fuel costs for the tractors, combines, and other farm machinery, the actual costs of the farm machinery, silos, grain elevators, wages for the farmers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, seeds, etc.

    Livestock production: include feed (grain, hay, haylage, silage, feed additives), health costs (vet, vaccines), management costs (docking, disbudding/dehorning, hoof trimming, shearing-for sheep, etc), etc.

    For feed: if you are going to be raising a beef cow to produce a calf which will be slaughtered, I suggest figuring out a feed ration for her for the entire year (maintenance, gestation, lactation) and then figure out feed costs from there. Then figure out a feed ration for creep feed for the calf, and a growth ration and a finishing ration.

    For health: most farmers do their own veterinary procedures...castration, vaccinations, treating disease, etc. The only time they don't is if a female is experiencing dystocia and they can't help her, if the animal is bloating, etc. My neighbor has been raising sheep over 80 years. He never calls the vet because he's been around them for so long, he knows more about sheep health and management than what a vet can learn in vet school.

    My first suggestion: Figure out a location in which you are going to base this report, because prices vary greatly and so does production per acre. Also, google "enterprise budgets for [crops/livestock]" and it will help you figure out the costs.

    If it helps, here are the most commonly raised breeds of livestock: Holstein (dairy cattle), Hereford (beef cattle), Yorkshire (hogs), Suffolk (sheep), Nubian (dairy goats), Boer (meat goats), White Leghorn (laying hens), Cornish X (broilers-chickens), Broad Breasted White (turkeys).

    I will add more economic information later as I think of it.

    Source(s): have a 150-ewe flock and a 200-sow herd producing over 3900 babies per year for me to sell or keep
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  • luth
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Cost Of Raising Cattle

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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    What is the average annual cost of raising cattle for meat?

    I need exact figures for how much it costs to raise one cow for meat. This should include the cost of feed, medicine, insurance, etc. Also, what is the minimum amount of land required to raise only one cow. Please, only people with either lots of personal experience raising livestock or those with...

    Source(s): average annual cost raising cattle meat: https://bitly.im/cfD3V
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  • 6 years ago

    You also have to factor in the cost of livestock excrement and its environmental impact, much of which isn't reported as it's dumped into the ecosystem. A few have suggested all sorts of variables about breeds and locations, but you can get a good approximate value using the statistics from a fast food place like McD's and compare that with that of a large produce store's distributor. Those have the greatest economic impact.

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  • 8 years ago

    Your kidding, right?? This question is IMPOSSIBLE to answer for one reason: NO LOCATION. You cannot get EXACT figures if we have absolutely no idea where you are located. Nor can we get the exact figures because each and every farm, feedlot, ranch etc. have their own means of raising cattle for beef. There are grass-fed operations, forage/grain finishing operations, and then there's the feedlot grain-finishing operation. Which one are you stemming your research from?

    And as for this so-called "cow" are you referring to feeding this "cow" from birth to slaughter or from weaning to slaughter, or just during the finishing phase? In between these periods the type of feedstuffs fed to this "cow" varies from ranch to ranch. For some operations, this "cow" may be on grass from birth to slaughter (a.k.a grass-fed). It could be on grass for 6 to 10 months (until weaning), then sold to another farm to be put in a hay-grain diet and/or pasture, then to the feedlot to be finished on grain. These are just examples. And of course the hay prices, grain prices, what feed is fed to this "cow," the fuel, feed and fertilizer costs, the average daily gain of the "cow" in question, the list goes on, all varies according to what location you are aiming for or come from, not to mention average stocking rate (which is the "minimum amount of land required to raise only one cow")!

    Also, what do you mean by "cow?" Are you referring to the female mature bovine that has had several calves, or a heifer or steer or even a young bull that is raised for slaughter? Also what breed or breed cross is this animal? Angus, Brahman, Charolais, Hereford, Simmental, etc.??? Unless you provide more far more specifics, you are out of luck on getting what you came for on here. You had better do some research on various university/college extension sites on the exact costs it takes to feed one steer or cow or whatever you are referring to.

    Source(s): Raised beef cattle
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  • Betty
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    the cost to the environment is catastrophic

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