beef cattle

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by petefarms, May 12, 2006.

  1. petefarms

    petefarms Well-Known Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    new york
    would like to know what is the approximate life of a beef cow, hereford or angus. This is a real general question and there are a lot of factors that make up a cows life. I've heard that they can be productive up to 15 years of age. thanks.
  2. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2005
    Some can live as long as you said and be productive, others may have a problem delivery of their first calf and are basically done at 2 years old, unable to rebreed and destined for the slaughter house. It depends on the animal and what kind of care the owner takes with it, and luck as well.

  3. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Pete, some of the ranchers around here have mama cows that are twenty years old. They should not have them, but they start out with a small herd and twenty years later they are rich men and just refuse to sell old granny that has given them l7 ors l8 good calves and just may give them one more. They will let granny die on the place rather than sell her.

    I think the best way to look at it is to consider the price structure. A bred heifer is worth X dollars; she will probably be a coming two year old. A bred second-calf cow is worth considerably more and will hold her price until she is about seven years old. After that she is considered a little bit over the hill and her price drops, a little or a lot depending upon what her condition and breeding is. By the time she is l2 or l4 years old she is pretty much a canner at the sale barn--not many people will want to take her home unless she is really a good looking cow and with calf.

    Some few people look for and buy such older long-bred cows in mid to late winter, take them home and hay and cube them, tending them carefully until they drop their calves. They then let them fatten on spring grass and sell cow and calf to make their profit.

    You have to consider that any cow that shows up at the sale is there either because (a) the owner culled her or (b) he is out of grass. If he is out of grass you may not have any either and questions about her worth are moot. Time was when people culled cows that did not calve on time or did not get pregnant in the proper season. Practical cattlemen still do, but there is generally no question about pregnancy now because vets check them at the sale and most big ranches have someone who can palpate cows.

    Other people from other places may have different opinions. I would like to hear those too.
  4. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2004
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    A dairy farm I worked on had a cow who was 20 years old and still holding her own during herd testing. I also recall (vaguely) a steer at a petting zoo which lived to the ripe old age of 32. (I think)
  5. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    We had a hereford that lived to be 25. She had a cow every year for us too. She had one her 25th year and had just weaned it before she had to be put down (she fell and broke her leg).