Friday, May 13, 2011

sold the cows

This spring has been a very trying time for us. Having just built and relocated our home and farm...starting our flour business...being laid off from the off-farm job...jeesh what else can I pile on? One of the things that we have been half-heartedly kicking around is the idea of selling off all the cows (as opposed to expanding the herd). I adore my cows. The thought of selling them killed me inside and I wouldn't have anything to do with it. However...sitting on my tractor this spring for hours on end has given me the chance I needed to really think about it objectively. The return per acre of our little herd is about $70/acre when we sell the beef. The return on grain is approximately $250/acre. So, it came down to a simple question of how much am I willing to pay to have cows around the farm? The answer, once I thought about it seriously, was obvious and with one phone call to our neighbour our cows were sold. He had been admiring them all winter and it was an easy sell.

We will keep the two steers that we have already sold via the csa. But come November when they are processed that will be the last bovines on our farm for the time being.

I will miss them surely...but, grains are our focus around here and grains is what we are going to do. No more baling feed. No more winter days of fixing frozen stock waterers. No more stuck tractors in the snow and fretting about whether or not I secured enough hay for the winter. No more holidays cut short by the thoughts of poor relatives at home feeding and watering our animals. But, also, no more Missy and Miley, Henny and Hanna, Skipper and the little ones each spring. I guess I'll have to look at them from across the fence at the neighbours place. Every now and then I can walk over and give out some neck scratches.


  1. Awwwww..... that's a tough choice, but it sounds like a sound one. What good fortune to sell them to neighbours, though! You'll never be wondering if they are well cared for. Still enjoying your wheat ~ love it.

  2. Got rid of chickens, ducks, sheep and llama this year and last. Miss them, too.
    The dog is certainly nice but the farm animals provide a different heartbeat.

    At least you can see they are being well cared for, and maybe you can spell you neighbor when they go away?

  3. Just curious, is the return per acre you mentioned gross (before expenses) or net (after expenses), and I assume per year (not per month)? This question is for curiousity sake only, coming from a city slicker.

  4. per year yes. rough net returns on average based on our experiences.