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CowProfit$ - Cost of Production Software

CowProfit$ has been upgraded to be compatible with today's computers.
Training materials and links to download CowProfit$ will be posted here once available.

Cost of Production Materials

Training MaterialsCOP Training Manual spacerABC Ranch - Populated Excel Tool ABC Ranch - Populated COP Calculator

Overview

It has been said, “you cannot manage what you do not measure”. Determining cost of production is a great way for a cow-calf producer to gauge their operation’s financial sustainability. Cost of production analysis can actually be completed for all the enterprises on your ranch - cow-calf, replacements, backgrounders, grassers, hay, pasture, etc. This is known as whole-ranch analysis. It is important to calculate cost of production for all your enterprises in order to determine where the ranch is making money and where it is losing money.

Typically cow-calf cost of production is reported as dollars per cow wintered ($/cow wintered), however, dividing costs by the total pounds of calf weaned yields the unit cost of production or break-even price on calves. Your unit cost of production can be compared with posted market prices.

While Western Beef's cost of production benchmarks can offer a starting point for discussion into cow-calf cost of production in Saskatchewan, producers need to determine their own cost of production given the large variation between operations. Over the years, Western Beef found at least $100 per cow difference between the low-cost producers (Top 25%) and the study average (Figure 1). Therefore, it is invaluable for a producer to take the time and use their own production and financial information to calculate their own cost of production.

Figure 1. Variation in Cost of Production ($/cow wintered), Low-Cost versus Study Average

COP Variation

Source: WBDC, COP Studies, various years.

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Tools Available to Calculate Cost of Production

  • CowProfit$ For many years, Western Beef utilized a software program called CowProfit$ that was developed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. The software is currently being upgraded to be compatible with today's computer operating systems. The software is expected to be ready for release in Winter 2016/17. Videos and other training materials will be posted here once available.
  • COP Calculator A free, Microsoft Excel-based tool has been developed by WBDC's economist, Kathy Larson, for producers to use at home. The Excel tool can be used to enter your own production and financial information, throughout the Excel tool are helpful hints to guide the data entry process. A populated example for a made up ranch called ABC Ranch is also available to show how the data can be entered into the tool. (Note: In order for this tool to work properly on your computer, you must have Microsoft Excel installed.)
Blank COP Calculator

COST OF PRODUCTION EXCEL TOOL
(BLANK - FILL IN WITH YOUR RANCH'S INFORMATION)

 

Training Materials
COST OF PRODUCTION TRAINING MANUAL

 

ABC Ranch - COP Calculator

ABC Ranch Details

COP EXAMPLE: ABC RANCH

An example ranch has been set up to help learn how to use the Excel Tool. The PDF document provides details about ABC Ranch and its enterprises and the Excel file is populated with ABC Ranch's production and financial information.

YouTube Instructional Videos
Several videos have been produced to guide you through the Excel-based calculator. The videos are Western Beef's YouTube Channel.
  • Excel Calculator from Manitoba Agriculture Manitoba Agriculture offers single enterprise COP Excel-based calculators. These calculators are updated annually and are pre-populated. The cow-calf calculator is based on 150 cows.
  • Excel Calculator for Purebred Producers The Canadian Beef Breeds Council developed a cost of production calculator tailored to purebred producers. There is also a manual to guide you through the tool.

Looking for Historical COP Benchmarks?

Western Beef has been helping cow-calf producers calculate their cost of production (break-even price) since the late 1990s. Data was collected through ranch visits from February through April for the previous calf crop. The average sample size per year was around 25 operations (excluding 2002 and 2003). Producers in the study received their analysis for free, with the understanding that their information would be aggregated and shared as benchmarks with the industry. From 2001 to 2012, Western Beef released an annual benchmark study (except for 2006, 2007 and 2009). The results of those studies are summarized in the table below.

 
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2008
2010
2011
2012
Fact Sheet
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
PDF
# of Herds
30
67
53
17
22
18
22
30
22
Herd Size
173
155
211
303
264
241
282
305
354
Wean %
94%
92%
94%
93%
94%
89%
88%
88%
88%
WWT (wean weight)
510
523
515
524
565
545
542
549
510
DOF (days on feed)
n/a
175
165
170
153
151
160
165
160
Total Costs ($/Cow)
$584
$650
$601
$553
$582
$573
$615
$625
$630
Break-Even ($/lb of calf)
$1.22
$1.35
$1.24
$1.13
$1.10
$1.19
$1.29
$1.31
$1.42
Margin ($/Cow)
$144
($68)
($60)
$3
$138
($110)
($9.29)
$122
$46

Looking for results from Alberta? Alberta collects producer data on an annual basis to generate benchmarks. For the most recent benchmarks, click here.

Still Have More Questions?

Email info@cowprofits.ca if you have additional questions related to cow-calf cost of production.

Project Funding

We are very thankful to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement through the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) for the funding to develop of a producer-friendly cost of production tool (ADF Project #20120247).

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