Earn More Money with Beef Cattle Culls


According to NBC Business News, the total cattle supply has reached an all-time low due to the three year drought. This makes selling your cull cows at an excellent opportunity to make more money. Although culls make up 15 to 30 percent of a rancher’s income from cattle, few ranchers take advantage of earning more from each cull.

Why Culls?

Culling beef cows happen for a variety of reasons as you may learn from our Cattle Forum. Cows that have genetic faults, age, disposition, calving and reproductive issues are possible reasons ranchers decide to cull. However, few ranchers plan to make the most money from their culls.

Best Time to Sell Culls

Culls sell best around February and March according to Rick Rasby, a beef specialist at the University of Nebraska. The price is higher during that time — as much as $4 per hundred pounds. This makes sense when the fall and early winter is glutted with new slaughtered culls. Ranchers are likely to hang onto bred cows and young calves born during the late winter into early spring, thus the market for beef culls is at its highest demand.

Don’t Give Two for One Sales

Before sell your culls, the first thing to consider is whether you’re selling a cull or accidentally selling a pregnant cow. According to a study cited by Cody L. Wright, a South Dakota State University Extension Beef Specialist, when 306 cull cows were purchased, about 23 percent or 70 of the culls were pregnant. Those ranchers who sold them as culls lost money when they could’ve sold them as bred livestock. Check for pregnancy in all your culls, even if you’re sure they’re not. Use an ultrasound if necessary. Otherwise, you’re throwing away money.

Prepare Your Culls for Market

Choose your culls according to their health and fitness. They should be sound and not sick. Treating with medications now delays withdrawal times and can impact the market timing. If you have winter range — possibly with old corn stalks and downed corn — it will be cost effective to run your culls there. If you have to dry lot feed them, feed them a high protein diet to finish them. Shorter feed durations are preferable since the feed-to-gain ratio is higher.

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