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How to calculate the true value of a herd sire

14 February 2022
Beef Cattle Research Council

A bull represents half of the herd's genetics

Bull selection is a key decision for cow-calf producers that will have implications for both short- and long-term profitability. A bull represents half of your herd’s genetics and will sire calves to be marketed or represent the future of your breeding herd.

With bull prices trending higher year after year, producers want to ensure that their investment is adding value to their operation in the right places while still working within a budget. Many bull traits have different impacts on your bottom line.

According to the Beef Cattle Research Council in Canada, before buying a bull, it’s important for producers to identify their breeding management goals so they can select a bull that will help accomplish them. It is important to evaluate how much a bull is worth to your farm or ranch, and identify a price to pay in which you will ideally break even during the lifetime of that sire.

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Bull value is dependent on key parameters such as individual animal performance, environment (e.g., pasture productivity), management (e.g., cow-to-bull ratio), markets (e.g., calf prices), and how that bull meets your unique goals. Do you plan to retain heifers? Or are you looking for a terminal cross for the feeder market? What is your labour availability like during calving? Answering these questions are essential to identifying the herd sire that best suits your operation.

BCRC has a calculator that helps evaluate a bull’s worth allowing producers to use their own unique on-farm parameters. Producers can factor in criteria such as longevity, expected revenue from sired calves, and bull maintenance and veterinary expenses. Use the calculator for a guide to finding out what the next herd sire needed to achieve your production goals and improve your bottom line may truly be worth.


BCRC Bull Valuation Calculator

This calculator was designed to provide an estimate of how much a bull is worth using individual on-farm numbers. Factors that significantly influence bull price are the years of service, cow-to-bull ratio, expected price of feeders, and bull maintenance cost.

The bull value obtained from the calculator is only an estimate and may not reflect the true breakeven price. However, this interactive tool can be used as a general guideline and demonstrates how changing different variables can affect the cost or value of a herd sire.

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