The impact of initial body condition scores on net returns from retaining beef cull cows for delayed marketing was investigated in a three-year experiment. Cows were retained either on native grass pasture or in a low-input dry lot setting. Net returns are examined across five alternative marketing periods, including culling. Sensitivity of net returns to changes in retention cost is also examined. Although a native grass pasture system was generally more profitable than a low-input dry lot system, thin and medium cows were typically more profitable than cows with higher initial body condition score regardless of the feeding system.