An Economic Study of Cattle Buisness on a Southwestern Semidesert Range

Culley, Matt J.
United States Department of Agriculture
Publication Year: 
The range business of the semidesert grassland region of the Southwest consists mainly in the production of young range cattle, principally calves and yearlings. Yearlong use of these ranges favors this type of breeding ienterprise. Most of the cows on a given range are retained from year to year. Thus the common basis of the cattle operations is the breeding herd, and the comparable unit on which the earnings are based is a breeding cow that is, since the breeding herds are the source of returns, it is logical that cattlemen should think of the economics of their business in terms of receipts, costs, and earnings per cow.  Most range users have some genereal knowledge of the main costs and the principal factors that affecct receipts; but only a comparatively fefw know the detailed costs. It is generally recognized that, regardless of whether cost recors are kept, net profit, simply stated, is the differencce between gross receipts and total cost. Thus cost accounting on ranges may seem unneccessary. Nevertheless, there are advantages to be gained in keeping cost records and in thinking more in terms of costs and earnings per cow and cost of producing a calf (considering all charges), a point of view common to the economics of other business enterprises.  Continuation of the cattle business through preservation of ranges is the first fundamental; when ranges are stocked in accord with this view, adequate forage is assured through a period of years. Then the economics of the cattle business, from the viewpoint of profit, might well center on cost per cow and calf and, particularly, on earning per cow. Further, when expenditures are involved for fences, water developments, and the like, it will not be a question simply of total cost, which may not seem very much, but rather how much will proposed expenditures increase the costs per cow and calf, and, more important still, how much additional cost could a cow or calf carry with profit. 
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Technical Report
University of Arizona

The Rangelands West collection includes articles, websites, reports, and multimedia resources focused on issues relevant to the Western U.S.  Also included are resources emanating from the 19 land-grant universitires that are members of the Rangelands Partnership and made available throught their respective state Rangelands websites.