Cattle Enterprise Gross Margins

How does your herd compare?

Here you can compare your enterprise to data collected by the Farm Business Survey. This data represents the 2016/17 gross margins of a cross section of south west farms. While comparing gross margins it is useful ask yourself the following questions:


    • How does your herd profitability compare to average?
    • What are your herds strengths and weaknesses?
    • What opportunities are there to improve your herds profitability?

Useful definitions

What is gross margin?

The value of output from an enterprise minus the variable costs of producing that output.

What is output?

For breeding livestock,  output is the value of milk plus progeny plus any subsidy, and minus the cost of replacing the breeding animal. Replacement costs are calculated by using the annual cost because breeding animals normally last more than one year.

For non breeding livestock (e.g. finishing beef animals), output is the value of the finished animal plus any subsidy, minus the cost of replacing the animal.

What are variable costs?

Costs that are sensitive to change in the size of the enterprise, such as crop area or livestock numbers, or sensitive to a change in the yield of the enterprise.

What would you like to do next?

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Farm business self-Assessment

More Farm Business Survey Data


We took the figures on this page from the South West Farm Business Digest. There are many more resources that can be found on their website which includes a benchmarking tool.

Complete your farm self-assessment


The 2 Minute Farmer Tractor Wheel of Life is a holistic farm self-assessment tool. Use it to find how balanced your farming life and business is. It is also a useful tool for goal setting.

Learn more using our Knowledgehub


The money page in our knowledge hub contains bite sized pieces of information on farm finances. In addition, our production page helps you think about the efficiency of your production system in more depth.