What is the lifecycle of my cow?
A cow is productive for 8 years, during which time she should give birth to 7 calves. Some cows might have a longer production period, but in OACIA we continually evaluated the cow and will advise the owner accordingly. The diagram below gives an indication of the first production cycle of a cow.
Explain to me the production cycle of a cow
Each cow can be unique, but here is the baseline we are using.
- A cow will be ready to be served by a bull at 18 months.
- She carries the calve for 9 months, giving birth at month 27.
- The calve will be ready for the market, if that is the choice of the owner, in 6 to 8 months. That is month 33-35 in the cycle of the cow.
- Hereafter the cow should give birth to a calve every consecutive year. This is our production goal to select and breed animals accordingly.
- After 8 years of production, we will advise the owner to replace the cow depending on her condition.
- The cow will normally be fattened and sold
What is my expected financial growth on a cow?
We are working with nature and no matter how well we manage the herds, improve the grazing and train our staff, there will always be variables we can not control.
As a rule of thumb, and with a lot of “fat” build into it, we say with certainty that one cow should result in a herd of four in a 8 year period.
In terms of growth, it gives you a 37.5% annual growth between the value of your cow and the value of your herd of four.
The graph below shows the growth curve for this scenario
What if my cow does not reproduce as expected?
Our management systems will alert us immediately if a cow missed her cycle. We will call for a condition scoring and internal examination to ensure that she is in good health. If we find that she has any internal imperfection or she missed two consecutive ovulation periods, we will take a decision to replace her.
The owner will be informed per email and via the mobile information system. She will be marketed for slaughtering as soon as we are satisfied with her condition. The income will be used to secure a new calve for the owner. We will do our best to cover all the costs with the income, but this is one of the risks of cattle ownership.
What are direct costs?
These are the costs to keep a cow healthy, feed during winter and dry seasons and making the best genetic material available. Direct costs should be covered by selling the male offspring.
- Medications and treatments
- Veterinarian services
- Vitamins and minerals
- Supplementary feed
- Reproduction program – An examples are artificial insemination and fertility scanning.
- Logistics should a cow be moved from the site.
- Administration fee when a new animal is introduced into the system. This is a once-off fee per animal and is included in the price of your cow. For the subsequent offspring this is part of the costs recovered by the sale of the male offspring.
When will I need to pay more money towards my cow?
You will only be required to make payments, if the sale of the male offspring don’t cover the direct costs. The direct costs is shared 50/50 between the owner and the project. The owner receives a 3 monthly statement with details of the direct costs on a cow.
Some of the reasons why the sale of the male offspring may not be able to cover the direct costs:
- Severe injuries that result in high veterinarian costs
- Calving issues that require expensive medical assistance
- Drought conditions that result in high feeding costs
- Emergency circumstances that require us to move a herd
What happens if my cow dies?
This is the risk of farming and you as the owner are exposed to the same risks as a commercial farmer. Your big advantage is that OACIA stands behind the operations and we can manage some situations better than a single farmer on his own.
Your risk is about 2% under normal circumstances.
Can I have my cow insured?
Yes, you can, but it is very expensive, and your annual premium will be about 13.5% of the replacement value of the cow.
Commercial farmers only insure stud animals with exceptional breeding characteristics and a high market value.
The best way to buffer your risk is to:
- Own animals on various farms.
- Convince your friends to club together and by a group of animals and share the risk of a single death.
Am I the only owner of the cow I bought?
Yes, you own the cow 100%. You only share the offspring and direct costs with OACIA project. We issue you with a certificate of ownership.
Can I visit my cow?
Yes. We have an annual owner day per site. It is a joyful day to meet everybody, have a real “boere braai”. You will be informed of the dates via email.
Because of bio-security reasons we do not allow random visits.
How is the price of an animal determined?
On commercial herds, we use the weight of the animal against the National Red Meat Prices of South Africa. You can see these weekly prices on your mobile information system.
OACIA adds a 10% administration fee for all animals entering into the OACIA program. This is a once-off fee.
Commercial Price: (Weight of animal x red meat price + 10% fee) + 15% vat
In studs herds, the price is determined by local auction prices and the demand for breeding stock.
When can I sell my cow?
In the first two years you will make a loss. In the third year you should break even. Thereafter you will make a profit. Why would you exit the programme if your one cow can turn you into the owner of a herd of 3 or more animals.
If circumstances requires you to sell your cattle, we will do our best to assist you.
How do exit the program?
You phone our call canter, and they will try to convince you not to exit the program. Just be persistent and they will help you through the process.
We won’t keep you in the program if you really want to leave.
Can I buy a cow with monthly installments?
Yes, we offer people a choice to pay a cow in 12 installments. The installments will go off as a debit order. We are trying to make this programme accessible to as many people as possible.
Please take note of the following:
- We are using an external company to collect the debit orders. See ADDPay
- You receive a proof of payment from ADDPay.
- The gateway system is costing us 3.9% of the paid amount. This fee is deducted from your account balance.
- You can see your accumulative balance on the Mobile Information System.
- We cannot keep a specific cow for 12 months. Your deposits accumulate and as soon as a cow comes available, that is affordable to you, we will inform you to approve the purchase.