Beef: cost of production benchmarks - suckler herds

The following from the AHDB benchmarking programmes gives technical and financial results for various suckler herd production systems

The information shows top, average and bottom performing farms, with the farms in each percentile identified by ranking on full economic net margin. 

Financial KPIs are the most important as they are linked to all other KPIs. The cost of producing a kg of beef or weaned calf is key to comparing any farm's ability to compete with another farm.

Techinical KPIs enable farms to look at the detail behind financial achievement.

Each farm must budget and plan for what is best for their own circumstances, resources and the market/s they are aiming for.

You can use one of AHDB's benchmarking tools - Farm Business Review and Farmbench.

These can be found under the Tools section of the AHDB website.

AHDB Farm Business Review https://ahdb.org.uk/farm-business-review

AHDB Farmbench https://ahdb.org.uk/farmbench


Download Cost of production benchmarks: Beef Suckler Herds 2016 (XLS)

Non-SDA Suckler herds (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per lwt kg calf output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom Third Average Top Third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 31 95 31 31 95 31
Average herd size (cows to bull) 64 88 91 64 88 91
Calf output 517.80 537.98 591.06 2.01 2.06 2.13
Other income 3.91 5.02 8.81 0.02 0.02 0.03
Gross Output 521.71 542.99 599.87 2.03 2.07 2.16
Replacement costs 99.54 62.21 23.58 0.39 0.24 0.08
Output less replacement costs 422.17 480.78 576.29 1.64 1.84 2.07
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 35.44 26.36 27.73 0.14 0.10 0.10
Home-grown feed 7.74 10.16 12.45 0.03 0.04 0.04
Purchased forage 5.15 4.54 5.17 0.02 0.02 0.02
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 44.71 39.21 36.50 0.17 0.15 0.13
Total feed and forage 93.04 80.27 81.85 0.36 0.31 0.29
Vet and medicine 38.70 34.96 37.25 0.15 0.13 0.13
Bedding 42.81 28.45 25.13 0.17 0.11 0.09
Other livestock expenses 25.51 21.63 19.56 0.10 0.08 0.07
Total variable costs 200.07 165.31 163.79 0.78 0.63 0.59
Gross Margin 222.10 315.47 412.50 0.86 1.21 1.48
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 75.88 61.25 28.80 0.30 0.23 0.10
Machinery repairs and spares 32.87 23.02 24.57 0.13 0.09 0.09
Contracting 55.56 40.02 34.38 0.22 0.15 0.12
Electricity 3.60 2.15 1.83 0.01 0.01 0.01
Fuel 37.49 23.90 19.50 0.15 0.09 0.07
Property maintenance and water 28.69 20.25 15.82 0.11 0.08 0.06
Land Rent (Actual) 53.78 50.46 50.84 0.21 0.19 0.18
Overheads 25.43 19.29 18.91 0.10 0.07 0.07
Cash Only fixed costs 313.30 240.35 194.64 1.22 0.92 0.70
Cash Only Cost of Production 612.91 467.87 382.01 2.38 1.79 1.37
Cash Only Net Margin -91.20 75.12 217.86 -0.35 0.29 0.78
Depreciation 127.07 74.30 50.27 0.49 0.28 0.18
Finance costs (Imputed) 37.07 33.62 32.24 0.14 0.13 0.12
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 102.41 61.29 55.91 0.40 0.23 0.20
Land Rent (Imputed) 87.75 61.68 52.92 0.34 0.24 0.19
Non-Cash fixed costs 354.31 230.88 191.34 1.38 0.88 0.69
Full Investment fixed costs 667.61 471.23 385.98 2.60 1.80 1.39
Full Investment Cost of Production 967.22 698.75 573.34 3.76 2.67 2.06
Full Investment Net Margin -445.51 -155.76 26.53 -1.73 -0.60 0.10
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 30 33 33
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 29 46 55
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 52 39 32
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 19 15 13
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) 93 91 93
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 88 88 90
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 3 3 3
Calves died from birth to weaning per 100 cows/heifers to bull 4 3 3
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 87 85 86
Calf losses from birth to weaning (% of born alive) 4 4 3
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 16.0 15.2 14.6
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 32.0 35.1 39.3
Empty cows/heifers (%) 9.0 9.7 7.3
Cow mortality (%) 1.5 1.6 1.3
Herd replacement rate (%) 14.6 16.7 16.4
Average age at weaning (days) 238 234 235
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 296 306 322
Daily liveweight gain to weaning (kg per day) 1.1 1.1 1.2
Weaned calf weight produced per forage hectare (kg at 200 days) 204 292 353
Return per calf (£ per head) 608 636 690
Calf price (£ per kg lwt) 2.07 2.09 2.15
Weaned calves sold at weaning (%) 22 9 12
Weaned calves retained at weaning (%) 78 91 88
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 168 135 102
Total DM cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 119 84 80
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 175 139 155
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 4240 3660 3627
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1655 1390 1251
Creep feed fed (kg per calf weaned) 46 57 79
Number of grazing weeks 32 32 32
Stocking rate (LU per ha) 1.1 1.5 1.7
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 35 35 34
Labour use - paid hours per cow 6.8 5.4 3.2
Labour use - unpaid hours per cow 10.5 6.1 5.6
*includes calves purchased to put on cows

SDA Suckler herds (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per lwt kg calf output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom Third Average Top Third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 8 26 8 8 26 8
Average herd size (cows to bull) 65 80 80 65 80 80
Calf output 510.23 641.02 703.95 2.09 2.35 2.45
Other income 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Gross Output 510.23 641.02 703.95 2.09 2.35 2.45
Replacement costs 39.48 38.28 20.00 0.16 0.14 0.07
Output less replacement costs 470.75 602.74 683.95 1.93 2.21 2.38
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 17.95 31.11 15.39 0.07 0.11 0.05
Home-grown feed 8.32 5.41 0.00 0.03 0.02 0.00
Purchased forage 20.59 9.42 6.15 0.08 0.03 0.02
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 34.82 42.32 38.07 0.14 0.16 0.13
Total feed and forage 81.68 88.27 59.61 0.33 0.32 0.21
Vet and medicine 35.16 34.20 20.84 0.14 0.13 0.07
Bedding 10.76 28.51 32.70 0.04 0.10 0.11
Other livestock expenses 10.49 14.28 17.18 0.04 0.05 0.06
Total variable costs 138.10 165.26 130.33 0.57 0.61 0.45
Gross Margin 332.66 437.48 553.62 1.36 1.60 1.93
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 13.09 44.09 43.13 0.05 0.16 0.15
Machinery repairs and spares 32.20 25.78 24.27 0.13 0.09 0.08
Contracting 28.64 31.79 26.86 0.12 0.12 0.09
Electricity 1.75 2.25 2.71 0.01 0.01 0.01
Fuel 27.34 24.29 21.68 0.11 0.09 0.08
Property maintenance and water 10.27 13.71 9.55 0.04 0.05 0.03
Land Rent (Actual) 84.51 61.86 42.68 0.35 0.23 0.15
Overheads 19.53 22.62 21.61 0.08 0.08 0.08
Cash Only fixed costs 217.31 226.38 192.48 0.89 0.83 0.67
Cash Only Cost of Production 394.89 429.92 342.81 1.62 1.58 1.20
Cash Only Net Margin 115.34 211.09 361.14 0.47 0.77 1.26
Depreciation 99.63 72.21 68.79 0.41 0.26 0.24
Finance costs (Imputed) 36.30 33.62 32.91 0.15 0.12 0.11
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 103.85 66.12 66.14 0.43 0.24 0.23
Land Rent (Imputed) 43.53 36.33 58.94 0.18 0.13 0.21
Non-Cash fixed costs 283.31 208.27 226.78 1.16 0.76 0.79
Full Investment fixed costs 500.63 434.66 419.26 2.05 1.59 1.46
Full Investment Cost of Production 678.20 638.19 569.59 2.78 2.34 1.99
Full Investment Net Margin -167.97 2.82 134.36 -0.69 0.01 0.47
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 36 32 27
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 25 35 50
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 25 42 38
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 50 23 13
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) n.a. 94 95
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 86 90 94
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 5 3 3
Calves died from birth to weaning per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 2 2
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 85 91 92
Calf losses from birth to weaning (% of born alive) 2 2 2
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 12.4 14.1 17.0
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 30.9 32.1 29.9
Empty cows/heifers (%) 10.6 7.8 5.5
Cow mortality (%) 2.9 2.3 0.8
Herd replacement rate (%) 12.3 14.2 13.7
Average age at weaning (days) 236 239 249
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 286 301 310
Daily liveweight gain to weaning (kg per day) 1.1 1.1 1.1
Weaned calf weight produced per forage hectare (kg at 200 days) 203 235 217
Return per calf (£ per head) 602 715 767
Calf price (£ per kg lwt) 2.08 2.36 2.47
Weaned calves sold at weaning (%) 14 18 15
Weaned calves retained at weaning (%) 86 82 85
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 85 77 49
Total DM cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 73 57 42
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 202 181 229
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 4100 5508 5254
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1270 1648 1554
Creep feed fed (kg per calf weaned) 6 81 4
Number of grazing weeks 34 32 33
Stocking rate (LU per ha) 1.0 1.1 1.0
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 33 37 22
Labour use - paid hours per cow 1.5 4.4 4.7
Labour use - unpaid hours per cow 10.3 6.7 6.8
*includes calves purchased to put on cows

Spring calving suckler herds (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per lwt kg calf output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom Third Average Top Third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 22 68 22 22 68 22
Average herd size (cows to bull) 54 90 101 54 90 101
Calf output 495.38 535.91 587.77 2.06 2.10 2.21
Other income 2.23 4.67 8.25 0.01 0.02 0.03
Gross Output 497.61 540.59 596.01 2.07 2.12 2.25
Replacement costs 82.66 55.64 24.54 0.34 0.22 0.09
Output less replacement costs 414.96 484.95 571.47 1.72 1.90 2.15
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 30.13 25.30 24.25 0.13 0.10 0.09
Home-grown feed 3.40 11.07 15.23 0.01 0.04 0.06
Purchased forage 8.29 5.12 6.83 0.03 0.02 0.03
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 45.02 36.70 31.61 0.19 0.14 0.12
Total feed and forage 86.85 78.19 77.91 0.36 0.31 0.29
Vet and medicine 35.04 34.13 36.19 0.15 0.13 0.14
Bedding 31.94 26.46 28.39 0.13 0.10 0.11
Other livestock expenses 20.76 18.46 15.50 0.09 0.07 0.06
Total variable costs 174.59 157.24 157.99 0.73 0.62 0.60
Gross Margin 240.37 327.71 413.48 1.00 1.28 1.56
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 81.38 70.81 46.19 0.34 0.28 0.17
Machinery repairs and spares 37.06 22.63 23.48 0.15 0.09 0.09
Contracting 63.64 37.00 26.57 0.26 0.15 0.10
Electricity 5.06 2.69 2.68 0.02 0.01 0.01
Fuel 32.44 22.21 20.69 0.13 0.09 0.08
Property maintenance and water 29.17 18.81 13.93 0.12 0.07 0.05
Land Rent (Actual) 66.37 53.16 53.60 0.28 0.21 0.20
Overheads 30.85 18.68 16.89 0.13 0.07 0.06
Cash Only fixed costs 345.96 246.00 204.04 1.44 0.96 0.77
Cash Only Cost of Production 603.20 458.88 386.57 2.51 1.80 1.46
Cash Only Net Margin -105.59 81.70 209.44 -0.44 0.32 0.79
Depreciation 112.98 63.49 47.63 0.47 0.25 0.18
Finance costs (Imputed) 30.85 32.27 31.79 0.13 0.13 0.12
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 85.02 45.37 40.89 0.35 0.18 0.15
Land Rent (Imputed) 81.11 55.33 43.85 0.34 0.22 0.17
Non-Cash fixed costs 309.96 196.46 164.17 1.29 0.77 0.62
Full Investment fixed costs 655.92 442.47 368.21 2.73 1.73 1.39
Full Investment Cost of Production 913.16 655.35 550.74 3.80 2.57 2.08
Full Investment Net Margin -415.55 -114.76 45.27 -1.73 -0.45 0.17
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 30 32 31
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 45 53 59
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 27 28 27
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 27 19 14
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) 92 91 94
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 86 88 91
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 3 3 3
Calves died from birth to weaning per 100 cows/heifers to bull 3 3 3
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 83 85 88
Calf losses from birth to weaning (% of born alive) 4 4 4
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 16.4 15.3 13.5
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 35.5 36.6 40.5
Empty cows/heifers (%) 12.0 10.4 6.9
Cow mortality (%) 1.8 1.8 1.6
Herd replacement rate (%) 16.3 17.1 14.5
Average age at weaning (days) 233 224 216
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 291 300 300
Daily liveweight gain to weaning (kg per day) 1.1 1.2 1.2
Weaned calf weight produced per forage hectare (kg at 200 days) 177 289 337
Return per calf (£ per head) 599 636 666
Calf price (£ per kg lwt) 2.07 2.12 2.23
Weaned calves sold at weaning (%) 11 6 4
Weaned calves retained at weaning (%) 89 94 96
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 124 136 115
Total DM cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 75 75 88
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 155 126 153
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 4032 3382 3555
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1640 1338 1292
Creep feed fed (kg per calf weaned) 51 60 53
Number of grazing weeks 33 33 31
Stocking rate (LU per ha) 0.9 1.4 1.5
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 29 30 18
Labour use - paid hours per cow 7.0 6.2 5.0
Labour use - unpaid hours per cow 9.6 4.7 4.2
*includes calves purchased to put on cows

Autumn calving suckler herds (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per lwt kg calf output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom Third Average Top Third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 4 13 4 4 13 4
Average herd size (cows to bull) 43 67 103 43 67 103
Calf output 432.87 589.74 649.45 1.90 1.95 1.94
Other income 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Gross Output 432.87 589.74 649.45 1.90 1.95 1.94
Replacement costs 122.44 48.20 10.44 0.54 0.16 0.03
Output less replacement costs 310.42 541.54 639.00 1.36 1.79 1.91
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 27.37 22.64 7.71 0.12 0.07 0.02
Home-grown feed 0.00 3.51 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.00
Purchased forage 57.80 11.28 0.00 0.25 0.04 0.00
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 24.13 44.60 49.46 0.11 0.15 0.15
Total feed and forage 109.29 82.03 57.17 0.48 0.27 0.17
Vet and medicine 18.11 26.42 25.63 0.08 0.09 0.08
Bedding 16.88 25.25 24.85 0.07 0.08 0.07
Other livestock expenses 21.37 25.10 28.02 0.09 0.08 0.08
Total variable costs 165.65 158.80 135.68 0.73 0.52 0.41
Gross Margin 144.77 382.74 503.32 0.63 1.26 1.51
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 35.39 30.74 25.31 0.16 0.10 0.08
Machinery repairs and spares 24.05 21.92 25.03 0.11 0.07 0.07
Contracting 7.25 38.14 50.37 0.03 0.13 0.15
Electricity 1.93 1.34 0.86 0.01 0.00 0.00
Fuel 16.83 19.40 22.54 0.07 0.06 0.07
Property maintenance and water 24.93 15.29 9.68 0.11 0.05 0.03
Land Rent (actual) 33.33 54.31 81.68 0.15 0.18 0.24
Overheads 18.42 18.93 16.88 0.08 0.06 0.05
Cash Only fixed costs 162.12 200.08 232.35 0.71 0.66 0.70
Cash Only Cost of Production 450.21 407.08 378.48 1.97 1.34 1.13
Cash Only Net Margin -17.35 182.66 270.97 -0.08 0.60 0.81
Depreciation 55.99 72.84 63.46 0.25 0.24 0.19
Finance costs (Imputed) 23.54 30.52 36.58 0.10 0.10 0.11
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 65.44 59.27 48.72 0.29 0.20 0.15
Land Rent (Imputed) 52.13 37.74 27.23 0.23 0.12 0.08
Non-Cash fixed costs 197.11 200.37 175.99 0.86 0.66 0.53
Full Investment fixed costs 359.22 400.45 408.34 1.57 1.32 1.22
Full Investment Cost of Production 647.32 607.45 554.47 2.84 2.01 1.66
Full Investment Net Margin -214.46 -17.71 94.98 -0.94 -0.06 0.28
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 28 36 41
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 50 54 100
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 25 31 0
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 25 15 0
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) 83 90 93
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 84 89 90
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 4 5
Calves died from birth to weaning per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 1 1
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 82 87 89
Calf losses from birth to weaning (% of born alive) 2 1 1
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 13.0 11.9 12.7
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 33.5 33.2 35.0
Empty cows/heifers (%) 15.2 9.1 7.5
Cow mortality (%) 5.8 2.2 0.7
Herd replacement rate (%) 23.4 14.2 10.2
Average age at weaning (days) 282 280 283
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 279 346 377
Daily liveweight gain to weaning (kg per day) 0.9 1.1 1.2
Weaned calf weight produced per forage hectare (kg at 200 days) 186 328 338
Return per calf (£ per head) 529 674 733
Calf price (£ per kg lwt) 1.88 1.94 1.94
Weaned calves sold at weaning (%) 33 9 6
Weaned calves retained at weaning (%) 67 91 94
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 149 113 14
Total DM cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 87 74 13
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 151 142 288
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 3532 5217 6509
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1228 1543 1580
Creep feed fed (kg per calf weaned) 45 40 0
Number of grazing weeks 40 34 31
Stocking rate (LU per ha) 1.1 1.7 1.7
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 23 50 50
Labour use - paid hours per cow 3.2 3.0 2.4
Labour use - unpaid hours per cow 6.2 5.8 4.7
*includes calves purchased to put on cows

Combined breeding herd/beef finishing (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per dwt kg output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom third Average Top third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 9 29 9 9 29 9
Average herd size (cows to bull) 51 90 91 51 90 91
Calf output 1031.16 1076.45 1131.21 3.48 3.68 3.99
Other income 8.34 17.96 18.62 0.03 0.06 0.07
Gross Output 1039.50 1094.41 1149.84 3.51 3.74 4.06
Replacement costs 69.91 49.35 34.84 0.24 0.17 0.12
Output less replacement costs 969.58 1045.06 1115.00 3.28 3.57 3.94
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 126.67 117.00 61.99 0.43 0.40 0.22
Home-grown feed 79.81 76.98 84.49 0.27 0.26 0.30
Purchased forage 7.43 12.10 14.96 0.03 0.04 0.05
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 54.99 65.15 65.66 0.19 0.22 0.23
Total feed and forage 268.91 271.24 227.09 0.91 0.93 0.80
Vet and medicine 42.31 51.92 58.31 0.14 0.18 0.21
Bedding 86.49 65.32 62.56 0.29 0.22 0.22
Other livestock expenses 44.90 40.12 34.69 0.15 0.14 0.12
Total variable costs 442.60 428.60 382.65 1.50 1.46 1.35
Gross Margin 526.98 616.46 732.35 1.78 2.11 2.59
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 177.26 123.62 31.36 0.60 0.42 0.11
Machinery repairs and spares 39.48 35.70 43.02 0.13 0.12 0.15
Contracting 68.15 67.77 74.87 0.23 0.23 0.26
Electricity 6.19 4.21 2.71 0.02 0.01 0.01
Fuel 67.84 40.04 28.32 0.23 0.14 0.10
Property maintenance and water 62.52 43.64 37.01 0.21 0.15 0.13
Land Rent (Actual) 60.13 85.12 115.74 0.20 0.29 0.41
Overheads 75.37 51.50 41.38 0.25 0.18 0.15
Cash Only fixed costs 556.93 451.59 374.41 1.88 1.54 1.32
Cash Only Cost of Production 1069.44 929.54 791.90 3.61 3.18 2.80
Cash Only Net Margin -29.95 164.87 357.93 -0.10 0.56 1.26
Depreciation 238.98 133.00 101.51 0.81 0.45 0.36
Finance costs (Imputed) 78.81 64.56 62.64 0.27 0.22 0.22
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 140.11 94.91 146.65 0.47 0.32 0.52
Land Rent (Imputed) 140.30 75.48 62.32 0.47 0.26 0.22
Non-Cash fixed costs 598.20 367.94 373.12 2.02 1.26 1.32
Full Investment fixed costs 1155.13 819.53 747.53 3.90 2.80 2.64
Full Investment Cost of Production 1667.64 1297.48 1165.02 5.63 4.43 4.11
Full Investment Net Margin -628.15 -203.07 -15.19 -2.12 -0.69 -0.05
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 28 31 31
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 33 44 11
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 56 40 78
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 11 17 11
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) 96 92 95
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 91 90 90
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 3 4
Calves died after birth per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 3 2
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 89 88 89
Calf losses from birth to sale (% of born alive) 2 3 2
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 22.9 15.6 12.6
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 28.2 33.3 29.2
Empty cows/heifers (%) 8.1 8.5 7.6
Cow mortality (%) 1.3 1.7 1.6
Herd replacement rate (%) 14.5 15.0 12.3
Average age at weaning (days) 243 234 225
Average age at sale (days) 622 576 634
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 293 315 292
Average liveweight at sale (kg per head) 610 595 571
Average carcase weight (kg) 332 334 320
Daily liveweight gain birth to sale (kg per day) 1.0 1.0 0.9
Calf return per head finished (£) 1149 1255 1332
Calf return per head store (£) 1400 970 899
Liveweight sale price all animals (£ per kg lwt) 1.90 2.07 2.24
Liveweight sale price: finished cattle (£ per kg lwt) 1.86 2.06 2.27
Deadweight sale price: finished cattle (£ per kg dwt) 3.46 3.79 4.19
Calves sold finished (%) 96 90 88
Calves sold store (%) 4 10 12
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 224 152 171
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 119 153 146
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 4097 3001 3285
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1373 1223 1310
Total FW calf concentrate use (kg per calf) 1829 1107 702
Total FW forage (kg per calf) 4433 4222 4595
Total DM forage (kg per calf) 1351 1334 1435
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 50 58 29

Combined breeding herd/stores (Stocktake 2016)

(£ per cow to bull) (£ per lwt kg calf output)
Financial Performance (£ per cow to bull) Bottom third Average Top third Bottom Third Average Top Third
Number of herds in sample 5 17 5 5 17 5
Average herd size (cows to bull) 64 74 79 64 74 79
Calf output 653.54 713.43 914.31 1.74 1.89 2.02
Other income 4.40 1.11 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.00
Gross Output 657.95 714.54 914.31 1.75 1.90 2.02
Replacement costs 62.64 80.53 70.36 0.17 0.21 0.16
Output less replacement costs 595.31 634.01 843.95 1.58 1.68 1.86
Variable Costs
Purchased feed including minerals 48.02 80.59 72.86 0.13 0.21 0.16
Home-grown feed 37.14 5.92 3.69 0.10 0.02 0.01
Purchased forage 14.56 10.24 23.31 0.04 0.03 0.05
Home-grown forage (excludes contract) 19.25 42.51 48.49 0.05 0.11 0.11
Total feed and forage 118.97 139.26 148.35 0.32 0.37 0.33
Vet and medicine 26.41 37.18 32.43 0.07 0.10 0.07
Bedding 32.65 51.56 53.61 0.09 0.14 0.12
Other livestock expenses 28.33 38.90 44.01 0.08 0.10 0.10
Total variable costs 206.37 266.90 278.40 0.55 0.71 0.61
Gross Margin 388.94 367.11 565.55 1.03 0.97 1.25
Fixed Costs
Labour - paid 94.99 63.84 56.29 0.25 0.17 0.12
Machinery repairs and spares 32.41 49.98 29.93 0.09 0.13 0.07
Contracting 34.79 42.04 19.17 0.09 0.11 0.04
Electricity 2.73 2.68 2.14 0.01 0.01 0.00
Fuel 26.06 33.42 28.72 0.07 0.09 0.06
Property maintenance and water 21.19 24.32 33.08 0.06 0.06 0.07
Land Rent (Actual) 155.83 107.59 27.08 0.41 0.29 0.06
Overheads 41.41 36.48 41.04 0.11 0.10 0.09
Cash Only fixed costs 409.42 360.35 237.45 1.09 0.96 0.52
Cash Only Cost of Production 678.43 707.78 586.21 1.80 1.88 1.29
Cash Only Net Margin -20.48 6.76 328.10 -0.05 0.02 0.72
Depreciation 94.65 126.67 148.09 0.25 0.34 0.33
Finance costs (Imputed) 47.83 55.35 57.42 0.13 0.15 0.13
Labour - unpaid (Imputed) 120.20 122.40 117.78 0.32 0.32 0.26
Land Rent (Imputed) 70.01 50.63 73.23 0.19 0.13 0.16
Non-Cash fixed costs 332.70 355.05 396.52 0.88 0.94 0.87
Full Investment fixed costs 742.13 715.40 633.98 1.97 1.90 1.40
Full Investment Cost of Production 1011.13 1062.83 982.74 2.69 2.82 2.17
Full Investment Net Margin -353.19 -348.29 -68.42 -0.94 -0.92 -0.15
Physical Performance
Cow to bull ratio 43 38 43
Age at first calving
Herds 2 year policy (%) 0 44 40
Herds 2.5 year policy (%) 40 40 60
Herds more than 2.5 year policy (%) 60 17 0
Percentage of cows/heifers scanned in-calf (%) 95 68 n.a
Calves born alive per 100 cows/heifers to bull 87 86 89
Calves born dead per 100 cows/heifers to bull 2 3 2
Calves died after birth per 100 cows/heifers to bull 3 3 2
Calves weaned per 100 cows/heifers to bull* 85 84 87
Calf losses from birth to sale (% of born alive) 3 3 3
Calving period (first to last calf - weeks) 9.5 11.2 13.3
Cows and heifers calving in first 3 weeks (%) 50.6 36.2 30.7
Empty cows/heifers (%) 10.7 11.2 10.4
Cow mortality (%) 2.2 1.9 1.8
Herd replacement rate (%) 12.3 16.7 16.5
Average age at weaning (days) 220 233 236
Average age at sale (days) 445 497 475
Average weight at weaning (kg per head) 270 293 309
Average liveweight at sale (kg per head) 445 447 524
Average carcase weight (kg) n.a 190 336
Daily liveweight gain birth to sale (kg per day) 1.0 0.9 1.1
Calf return per head finished (£) n.a 509 1208
Calf return per head store (£) 773 853 1000
Liveweight sale price all animals (£ per kg lwt) 1.75 1.93 2.02
Liveweight sale price: finished cattle (£ per kg lwt) n.a 1.43 2
Deadweight sale price: finished cattle (£ per kg dwt) n.a 2.68 4
Calves sold finished (%) 0 1 28
Calves sold store (%) 100 99 72
Total FW cow concentrate use (kg per cow) 38 31 9
Average concentrate cost (£ per tonne) 306 219 186
Total FW forage (kg per cow) 3211 3432 3373
Total DM forage (kg per cow) 1971 1608 1576
Total FW calf concentrate use (kg per calf) 202 371 435
Total FW forage (kg per calf) 2436 2664 3470
Total DM forage (kg per calf) 1058 1053 985
Inorganic nitrogen use (kg per ha) 3 19 35
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