A cow that fails to conceive must either be kept for a year without revenue or replaced by a bred heifer. This choice is a unique case of comparing investments with different economic lives because the potential replacement asset is just a newer version of the old asset. In this study, a net present value model is developed that eliminates the problem of finding a common timeframe. Results indicate there are often times producers should keep the open cow. Whenever feed costs are low, the price differential between cull cows and replacement heifers is high, or the calf crop value is low, retaining open cows becomes more desirable.
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