2024 – In March 2009 Donna and Jim Green looked with dismay at the

In March 2009, Donna And Jim Green Looked With Dismay At The Financial Statement Sum After Reading The Case, Prepare A 2-4 Page Written Response To Answer The Following Questions: What Is The Appropriate Cow Size For The Herd Using The 50% Weaning Rule? – 2024

In March 2009, Donna and Jim Green looked with dismay at the financial statement sum


After reading the case, prepare a 2-4 page written response to answer the following questions:


What is the appropriate cow size for the herd using the 50% weaning rule?

Compare the value of a calf to the cost of maintaining the cow as an alternative means of determining appropriate cow size. Hint: Calculate marginal revenue and marginal expense. Which method (50% weaning rule or marginal analysis) do you think provides the best measure? Why?

What are the drivers in a cow-calf operation?  Is the revenue-expense calculation (see Exhibit 2) clear regarding drivers?  Why or why not?

How would you change the detailed statement of revenues and costs so that it provides information that would help Green make her decision?

To what extent is the Greens’ confusion a result of the failure of the accounting system?

How would the results of Old Mule Farms’ operations change if revenues or expenses were allocated in a different manner?






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David M. Currie and Lorena Mošnja Škare wrote this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The authors do not in


to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors ma

y have disguised certain names


other identifying information to protect confidentiality.

Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation

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Copyright © 2010, Richard Ivey

School of Business Foundation

Version: (A) 2010-05-03

In March 2009, Donna and Jim Green looked with di

smay at the financial statement summarizing the

performance of Old Mule Farms for the year 2008. Old Mule’s cow-calf operation had experienced

another year of losses. Especially frustrating was

that the losses occurred desp

ite the Greens’ multiple

efforts to improve the farm’s efficiency. While these efforts improved performance compared to 2007,

they were not sufficient to overcome the decline in

calf prices, so the operation continued to lose money

(see Exhibit 1). If the situation did not improve, the Gr

eens faced the threat of losing the farm that had

been owned by the family for three generations.


The cow-calf segment is the foundation of the beef

cattle industry. A ranch maintains a herd of cows,

each of them expected to wean a calf once a year. Like a human, the gestation period of a cow is

approximately nine months. After birth, the cow nurses the calf for another six or seven months until the

calf is weaned from its mother’s milk. During this tim

e, the cow enters estrus,

is impregnated, and the

cycle begins again. Thus, once a farm reaches a steady state of operations, a cow can produce a calf each


There were more than 750,000 cow-calf operations in th

e United States in 2007, the vast majority of them

with fewer than 50 cows. Cow-calf operators sell their w

eaned calves to a stocker operator or to a feedlot,

where the calves are fattened before

being sent to a packinghouse. The end products are the various fresh

beef products such as steaks, roasts and hamburgers that are consumed by millions of people around the


Revenues and expenses for a cow-calf operation typica

lly are presented on a per cow basis, as shown for

Old Mule Farms in Exhibit 2.


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