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Bull Budget

What is a bull worth to me?

Bull Budget

A common question we hear at the bull sale is "how much should I spend on a bull?". Unfortunately there is no cut and dry answer. A wide variety of factors have to be considered such as the intended purpose of the calves, market trends, quality of dams, etc. With all of this in mind its easy for producers to get overwhelmed and confused. A simpler way of analyzing this problem is by the 5 calf rule. The value of your first 5 calves is what you should spend on the bull. To determine this we must first decide when calves will be marketed and estimate the value of these calves.

Example 1: Selling Weaned Steers

We will analyze the value of a bull that will be used to produce commercial weaned steers. 

Current local price per cwt for 550-625 lb steers is $250-301. To be on the safe side we will assume our calves weight 550 lbs and will be sold at $250/cwt. 


5.5cwt*$250=$1375 per head

$1375*5=$6875 estimated value of herd bull

Example 2: Selling Finished Steers

Now lets look at the bull budget if we want to retain ownership of calves and finish them out to 1400 lbs. 

Current local price per cwt for high yielding choice steers is $180-190.75.


14cwt*$180=$2520 per head

$2520*5=$12,600 estimated value of herd bull

These examples show that high quality bulls are not just for seed stock producers but for commercial producers as well! A key factor to point out is the benefit to retaining ownership for longer and capturing the economic benefit of your investment at each level of production. Another consideration for producers is retaining replacement heifers. Heifers, ideally, will be in your herd for many years to come thus rewarding you with the high quality genetics from your herd bull for longer.

To read more about purchasing a bull check out these articles below:

What's a Good Bull Worth in 2024? -By Mark Z. Johnson 

Here’s the beef: Basics for selecting a bull -By Kaitlyn Arnold

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