Cow Talk – Round 3

Written by Father Dougal on April 12 2017

Small or Far Away, Father Dougal on Cows

Things are working out for good or for ill in cow-land. Soon it will be time to start in with the projection numbers (Yay Numbers!) but for this week there is a bit more, possibly useful, theory stuff. Last season I was asked the very good question “when should we sell cows?” Back then, I could only give some general answers. Now I can do better. I present to you “Father Dougal’s Two Stages of Cow Growth” and “Father Dougal’s Three Guidelines for Selling Cows.”

The two stages are simple, Raw and Ripe. A cow is Ripe when it’s current price is high enough that a high score results in a high price. A cow is Raw when it’s current price is too low for a high sore to result in a high price. Examples below:

Assume a Spherical Cow….

Well, not really, but please do assume a baseline cow who scores 70 every week. While a real player will vary some week to week, long term there is not a practical difference for this purpose.

Our baseline cow averaging 70 a round will hit about $343,000 at R13. It will probably be worth selling sooner, as the growth slows down rapidly after about R7-8.

Match Score Price Change
1 70 117,300
2 70 117,300
3 70 117,300
4 70 180,592 63,292
5 70 227,326 110,026
6 70 262,247 144,947
7 70 287,933 170,633
8 70 305,912 188,612
9 70 319,252 201,952
10 70 328,398 211,098
11 70 334,846 217,546
12 70 339,836 222,536
13 70 343,113 225,813
14 70 343,156 225,856
15 70 345,821 228,521

Nobby the Cow does the same as the baseline cow R1 and a great R2 of 110 and back to normal after that. He gets a faster start, and is about a week ahead. He did score more points after all. But his price rises a lot after he goes back to scoring 70s. He is still Raw at R2.

Match Score Price Change
1 70 117,300
2 110 117,300
3 70 117,300
4 70 198,471 81,171
5 70 258,416 141,116
6 70 285,260 167,960
7 70 304,958 187,658
8 70 318,465 201,165
9 70 328,511 211,211
10 70 335,212 217,912
11 70 339,857 222,557
12 70 343,523 226,223
13 70 345,823 228,523
14 70 345,134 227,834
15 70 347,276 229,976

Fred the cow scores his 110 on round 5. He shoots right up in price, but even after three rounds of that 110 in his price cycle, his price is still rising after it leaves. He is still Raw at R5.

4 70 180,592 63,292
5 110 227,326 110,026
6 70 280,146 162,846
7 70 319,064 201,764
8 70 346,696 229,396
9 70 349,332 232,032
10 70 350,536 233,236
11 70 351,125 233,825
12 70 351,816 234,516
13 70 351,919 234,619
14 70 349,584 232,284
15 70 350,550 233,250

Sam the cow scores his 110 on R6. When the 110 leaves his three round average, his price drops. Sam is (barely) Ripe as of R6.

5 70 227,326 110,026
6 110 262,247 144,947
7 70 305,822 188,522
8 70 336,932 219,632
9 70 359,966 242,666
10 70 358,362 241,062
11 70 356,880 239,580
12 70 356,051 238,751
13 70 355,032 237,732
14 70 351,857 234,557
15 70 352,221 234,921

Carrot the Cow scores his 110 on R7. He goes up to about $369,000 at his peak. That’s about $35,000 more than our baseline cow ever manages.

6 70 262,247 144,947
7 110 287,933 170,633
8 70 323,741 206,441
9 70 350,237 232,937
10 70 368,999 251,699
11 70 364,702 247,402
12 70 361,807 244,507
13 70 359,263 241,963
14 70 354,945 237,645
15 70 354,494 237,194

Each later round will result in a slightly higher peak, but the increase shrinks each extra round.

If you look at the chart below, you can see the effects of being Ripe; not only on the maximum price, but when that maximum happens. The 110s at R2-4 means a trivial increase in maximum value on the same R16 as the baseline cow. On R5 the cow is close to Ripe, and the max value moves up by three rounds, but is still eight rounds past the high score. But, as soon as the cows is Ripe on R6, the max value happens three round after the high score, every time, because the cow is getting the full benefit of that score for three price cycles.

Round of 110 Price at max On Round
None 347,100 16
2 348,200 16
3 349,000 16
4 349,700 16
5 351,900 13
6 360,000 9
7 369,000 10
8 375,400 11
9 380,300 12
10 383,600 13

Ripe matters!

Of course the above examples are all for a cow starting at a normal low price for a cow. Do high priced cows have an advantage because they get Ripe faster? Yes, it turns out they do. They make less money, but they are ripe about two rounds sooner. Since fast cash is good, an expensive cow that has a high score at the right time can hit their peak faster than a cheap cow. Of course if they don’t have a high score, you get a lot less cash just as slow. Anyways, below is the chart of a more expensive cow with an initial price of $202,800.

Round of 110 Price at max On Round
None 348,700 16
2 349,800 16
3 352,000 13
4 355,400 9*
5 365,600 8
6 373,900 9
7 379,200 10
8 382,900 11
9 385,900 12
10 387,700 13

* ( The price at R8 is only about $1,000 lower, so really this could be 8 as well. )

Now that we understand the stages of cow growth, I can reveal “Father Dougal’s Three Guidelines for Selling Cows.”

Guideline #1 – “Sell when you need the money.” Our goal is points, not cash. If selling today means you get the cash you need to do something important, than by all means sell before the cow hits full growth. An classic example is if you want to buy a fallen premium and they are going to go up in price more than the cow will. You would not only end up with less money, you would also miss out of the points. We already know you want to be full-premo as fast as possible, so if selling a cow now helps with that, then sell!

Guideline #2 – “Sell when you have a downgrade target worth the cash you will miss by selling early.” As the season goes on there will be fewer and fewer good downgrade targets. When one shows up, it may be worth it to give up some growth on a cow you have in order to get a fancy new cow that will make you a lot of cash later, especially if they also are scoring well and can provide good backup. A cow on the bubble could go up $50-$80,000 while the cow you have goes up $20,000.  You’d get less cash a round later if that happened!

Guideline #3 – “Sell at the start of the third round after a ripe cow has a high score, unless the cow has another high score during the intervening rounds.” So, if a ripe cow has a high score during R7, you would sell at the start of R10, since the cow would benefit from all three price changes with that high score in the price change calculation. But, if the cow has another high score on R9, then you would wait and sell at the start of R12, so you get the benefit of the R9 high score as well. If you need the money and the cow has an easily achievable break even at the start of the third round after, you can risk keeping and hoping for more growth, but that won’t be the case most of the time.

What is a high score is a bit of a judgement call of course. A ton or more is, and for cows struggling along with a 50 average even a 75-80 might qualify.

Next week I’ll go though last season’s cows and we can see how #3 would have worked out in practice.


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16 thoughts on “Cow Talk – Round 3”

  1. Since the objective is to get guns into the teem sooner for more points, sitting on cows for more than seven weeks seems to be a risk, even slow rising ones. I like to use the following as a guide;
    Round 3 to 5: Trade Corrections
    Round 6 to 14: Cow farming, bringing in the guns.
    Round 15+: Corrections
    I’m not a top 1000 player though so may be wrong, however, if your waiting for cows to mature for upgrades in weeks 15+, you have missed the boat.


    1. It would be mad to wait a long time to make a tiny amount of extra cash. Note Guideline #1. If you end up with a slow burner that hasn’t had a high score I’d be looking at R7-8 like I said above. For purposes of comparing how the numbers work, I show past the time when I would expect cows to be sold off. There are certainly cows worth holding up to the byes if they are due to go up a lot. If someone puts up a pair of tons R8 and R9, I am so going to wait to sell until R12 to sell.


    1. Not in this week’s source material. And I suspect Motts prefers to be though of as a bull and not a cow.


  2. Dear Father.

    I have sinned. I’ve let myself be tempted by Mid Priced Madness.

    This week I must repent. I will use use two precious trades to right my sins.

    Tuohy and JOM Gone.

    Sloane and Newman (both in my team pre season) Save me please.

    On a side note…. Can’t we just judge the ripeness of our cows based on their break even?

    Eg; Cow has BE close to projected score. Time to sell?

    This seems to me the easiest way to judge which cow is ripest?

    Please let me know if I’m oversimplifying things.

    Thanks again FD.


    1. My general rule of thumb is when their 3 round average is close to their BE, then I’m happy to cull.

      Unless, they put in an absolute shocker (i.e Stewart this week), as once the 22 is rolled out, their BE will drop again.


    2. That is a really good question.

      If they have a BE well above a score they could reasonably make then sell for sure. If they have a BE around the score they could reasonably make, then selling would seem safe but that does not take into account any upcoming changes from a high or low score that is about to leave their three round average. My goal is to be able to look ahead rather then just look at the current week. There is value in being able to say a cow should be ready to sell X rounds in the future, or that a cow’s BE is going to drop when a bad score leaves their TRA, and so they might be worth holding onto longer. Looking at BE vs projections is useful and I would not suggest people stop using that. I’m trying to add to our toolbox, not replace the tools we have.


      1. Thanks FD

        I really enjoy your posts every week.

        I understand about the 3 game price cycle. I also know that it more complicated than just this weeks B/E.

        The point I was trying to make was a players B/E is a great starting point to judge if cows are ready or nearly ready to be culled.

        Once I have an idea which cows may be close to ripe I can then get down to the nitty gritty of deciding who gets the chop first.

        Down grade targets are my number one priority when looking to off load cows.

        When a great downgrade option pops up on the bubble, Its really important to know which Cow is the Ripest.

        Thanks again FD.


      1. I’d move Lloyd temporarily into the mids which means I still only play 1 rookie on field, either SPP or SPS.


        1. Huh. That’s pretty close to me. I’m keeping O’Meara (and Eddy) for now but I can understand trading Jaeger if you have a plan for the cash. I would for sure bring in Newman, that’s a no brainer.


  3. Thoughts on Eddy to Hayward this week? No certainty around when he might get another game and Hayward has held his spot.

    Or do you feel there are better cows coming?



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