Prices of farm animals in 1945 – part 2

Daniel and Lydia Ulvog with 5 of 8 children (Gilbert, Lloyd, Olaf, James, Clarice) on Ellefson farm, in late ’30s or before 1945. Photo provided by Sonia Pooch.

The probate filing for the estate of my grandfather, Daniel Ulvog, provides a lot of information about the farm. Let’s look at indicators of the price of farm animals. The filling provides a number of data points.

Here is the listed information sorted by animal with a mean (weighted average), mode (price with largest number of animals), and my point estimate of the price of different animals.




  • $132.07 – 19 head


  • $50.00 – “1 cow”; oddly low price suggests this was not a mature cow
  • $43.74 – “one cow”; again, this does not appear to be mature cow

Appraised value:

  • $30.00 – 25 calves,

A calf is under 1 year of age. A yearling is between 1 and 2 years old. (The distinction is something this city boy had to look up.)

The $30 price is mentioned as calves. The $50.00 and $43.74 proceed appear to be yearlings. This leaves $132.07 as the sole indicator of mature cow prices, which is a good indicator since there were 19 head sold at the time.

Estimate of prices

So, I will use these prices:

  • $132 – cow
  • $47 – yearling (average of two data points)
  • $30 – calf

Mixture of ages:


  • $167.50 – one cow and one calf

This price now makes sense and supports the above prices. One cow at $132 plus a calf at $30 would be $162, which is close to the purchase price of $167.50.




  • $35.31 – 3 hogs
  • $57.78 – 11 hogs
  • $50.00 – sale of hogs without indication of number sold – assumed to be 2 based on prices


  • $45.50 – 13 hogs at appraised value

Estimates of prices

Calculated prices:

  • $49.41 – mean (weighted average)
  • $45.50 – mode (data point with largest number of animals)
  • $51.12 – mean of two largest data points

The $35.31 price seems to be an outlier, possibly because those 3 animals were smaller or younger. Thus I will use mean of two larger items, which is:

  • $51 – hog



I will use these prices for animals:

  • $132 – cow
  • $47 – yearling
  • $30 – calf
  • $51 – hog

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