How Much Does A Cow Cost?

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Nowadays, many people have decided to return to nature as cattle breeders, making it their primary job. Before deciding whether making that important change in life is a good idea, it is crucial to be aware of the prices of cattle.

There are many prerequisites to define the prices of the types of cows existing out there. If we take it a step further, apart from knowing how much does a cow cost to buy, it is of the same importance to learn the expenses of owning them per year.


What determines the cost of a cow?

To start with, and to make it as simple as possible, buying a cow is like buying anything else. There are some basic criteria for the price of the cattle which we first need to point in order to move forward.

  1. Gender

It is only natural that a bull will be more expensive than a cow because it can impregnate several female cattle. However, steer male cows cost less than a bull.

  1. Age

When a calf is very young, like a day’s or a week’s old it has a low price. A 4 to 6 months old calf is more expensive because it has already surpassed the danger of mortality and they are considered to be fine with their health. As expected, a full-grown cow will be even more expensive because it is ready to produce in every aspect.

  1. Breed

There are many different breeds of cattle. When you choose a premium one, which is very good for its purpose, you will pay more. On the other hand, you will gain more from a high quality cow.

  1. Weight

Usually, the heavier a cow is, the higher its price. Sellers determine their cost accordingly to their lbs. For example, the price could be 100$ per 100 lbs.

  1. Purpose

Cows have several purposes in their lifetime. There are beef cows, dairy cows, and bulls. Each of them has a different purpose, and this is how their price is decided. 

How much is the cost of each cow?

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As mentioned before, the cost of the cattle range, and is related to many prerequisites. Here, we will be more specific about the prices by separating them into categories.


Calves are actually young cows. Their pieces vary depending on their purpose and their age. In general, caves that are born the day or the week before you buy them might cost $40 to $50. But you should know that they might not survive and you will have to raise them, so it will increase the cost.

A calf that is older, 5 months to 1-year-old, is more expensive because it is at the right age to eat by itself and its health will be a lot more stable. Of course, here again, there is a difference in the type. Dairy calves cost around $550 while beef ones are around $700. In addition, If they are older than a year, their price will increase to $900.


A heifer is a cow that hasn’t had a birth yet. Farmers usually call heifers young female cows which have almost reached maturity. So, when heifers have offspring, they become cows.

The prices here vary as well. Dairy heifers cost from $500 to $1000. Beef heifers, on the other hand, have a higher price of approximately $1300.

Dairy Cow

Dairy cows are the ones that produce a lot of milk that we use for dairy products. They are an essential part of a herd if the farmer has the purpose of either selling the milk or breeding more of these cows. Some of the best dairy cows to buy are Jerseys, Herefords, and the Brown Swiss breed.

Depending on the breed, a mature dairy cow might cost $1.05 to $1.35 per pound. This price difference is if it is a mature cow or a yearling. A bred mature cow may cost from $1400 to $3000. These are expensive because they are ready to produce and are used to be around farmers, so the labor will be minimized.

Beef Cow

Beef cows are used for the meat they produce. Their color is usually black or brown and they give meat when they are mature or almost mature. Red and Black Angus is a very famous breed, like Texas Longhorn and Charolais.

Mature beef cows, since they can produce meat straight away and are quite large, can cost $4000 to $5000. It is common that the price per 100lbs is $135 to $165. As we said before, it all depends on the weight, but beef cows are pretty big animals!


In this category, we have two types of cattle. The first one is the Bull which is a breeder and its cost is really high. Although in a herd you don’t need many bulls if it is a good breed you will pay between $6000 and $7000.

As for the second type, steer cows are male ones that cannot breed and they are used for their meat. These cost $150 to $190 per pound, much less than a bull!

How much does a cow cost per year?

While we learned how much a cow costs, the next step is to find out which are going to be the expenses of our herd. If we know how much we will spend on the maintenance of our cattle per year, we will have the whole picture of the total money needed.

The main expense when it comes to cattle is food and especially hay. It might cost up to 1000 per year. The solution here is to have land to let your cows be fed on their own, which will drop this cost very much. Apart from hay, cows also consume oats, corn, and grain and they require supplements.

The next important activity for animals, in general, is the visit to the vet. When you own a cattle herd, you might make an agreement with a veterinarian. The average cost per cow might be $60. Imagine that you have to have records about the health of your animals, you have to treat any disease instantly to not spread, and most importantly, you have to get your cows vaccinated.

Lastly, we have the equipment needed in order to have cattle. Now, you will make the necessary expenses at the beginning, but as your herd is growing bigger and as time goes by, more expenses will arrive.

Handling equipment, feeders, waterers, cow milking machine, ear tags, calf milk replacers, cow halters, cattle prod, barbed wire, etc will be needed when you decide to buy or breed more cows. In addition, all things eventually pack up. The amount $$ required cannot be really forecasted, but it is not something you will have to buy every day.


Finally, if we want to answer the question of how much a cow costs, we have to know that it is not a simple one. The prices depend on many things, from age to weight and many more of them. All things considered, cows do cost a lot of money, but they will return to you if you make the right choices.

The advice we can give is to buy a good breed, to have the quality you want in everything, even if they cost a bit more. Also, prefer heifers, because they have lower prices and they are at the proper age for you to take care of.

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