Herd Sire Selection: What Should I Pay?

Buying a herd sire can be a costly experience, but not in the way you might think  A few thoughts to mull over before you decide on an amount you want to spend.


  • Do you have the maternal traits (milk, mothering, fertility, longevity, udder) that you are looking for?
  • Are you looking for replacement females for your herd?
  • Do you want more pounds on the calves at sale time?
  • Will you have heifers to breed?
  • Is your mature cow size where you want it to be?


When purchasing a herd sire, it is always helpful to have your cow herd goals in mind and even on paper. Share them with the seller and ask his opinion on which bull he thinks might work well for you. Remember that over the lifetime of the bull, it only costs a few dollars per calf to upgrade to a better bull that will advance your herd genetics, allow you to reach your cow herd goals and produce more pounds of weaning weight.  


A summary of the following article: (Angus Media news article online. )


Running the Numbers



  • The bull will breed 25 cows per year for four years.
  • Calves will be sold for an average of $120.00 per hundredweight.
  • It will cost about $500.00 a year to feed and care for the bull.


  1. A $2000.00 bull will cost approximately $40.00 per cow bred.
  2. A $3000.00 bull will cost approximately $50.00 per cow bred.
  3. A $4000.00 bull will cost approximately $60.00 per cow bred.


Based on the genetic ability to improve weaning weight, the $3000.00 bull should add about 20 lbs of weaning weight per calf, times 25 cows, for a total of 500 lbs each year, times $120.00 per hundredweight or $600.00 per year more income. Over four years, this bull should return about $2400.00 on a thousand dollar investment.


Pounds are not the only measure


A better bull doesn’t just mean added pounds.

  • It could mean better docility.
  • Better replacement heifers that pass on added pounds.
  • More milk and better udders will also add profit.
  • Calving ease could mean more live calves.
  • More fertile replacement heifers mean more calves, and more calves born early in the breeding cycle.


The bull contributes about 80% of the herd genetics and is responsible for 80% of the herd’s improvement or decline through his genetics and his replacement females. Higher quality bulls should improve the traits you have selected and more than return your investment.

Ready to look?   Hereford Bulls     Angus Bulls


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