UT Beef and Forage Center

Economics and Marketing

Beef cattle producers face many challenges, including changes in weather, input prices, animal performance, technology, and marketing opportunities. These challenges require that producers make informed, sound business decisions.

Collecting and analyzing production and financial records are essential to making management decisions that will improve the efficiency and profitability of the beef herd. Decisions based on accurate records will assist the livestock producer in remaining competitive in today's challenging beef industry.




Cattle and Beef Market Definitions
This publication contains definitions of terms commonly used when marketing cattle and beef as feeder cattle, finished cattle, and at the packer level. The publication stems from requests from Extension Agents and producers who were not familiar with all the terminology used in the weekly Market Highlights column.

2019 Stocker/ Backgrounding Budget
The stocker/backgrounding budget was developed to assist Tennessee cattle producers in estimating the cost of production and net return to land and management.

2019 Cow-Calf Budget
The cow-calf budget was developed to assist Tennessee cattle producers in estimating the cost of production and net return to land and management

Seasonal Prices for Tennessee Feeder Cattle and Cows
When planning to market cattle, there are many factors a producer needs to take into account, one of which is the seasonal price pattern for the cattle to be marketed. Having an understanding of the historical monthly highs and lows can greatly impact returns, especially in the short-term.

2018 Bred Heifer Development Budget
The bred heifer budget is developed to assist Tennessee cattle producers in estimating the cost and profitability of developing bred heifers.

Bull Qualification for Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program Through the University of Tennessee Bull Testing Sale
The purpose of this report is to present summary statistics of cost reimbursement eligibility through TAEP for bulls sold in the University of Tennessee bull test sale from 2011-2016. Specifically, we show the percentage of bulls that qualified for cost reimbursement by bull type, which include balanced bull, terminal bull and calving ease bull.

Tennessee Branded Beef Program: The Producers' Perspective and Willingness to Participate
As more consumers demand locally produced beef and cattle producers in Tennessee evaluate finsihing cattle in-state, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate opportunities for producers.

Consumer Willingness to Pay for Tennessee Certified Beef
Recognizing this consumer interest, several livestock producers across Tennessee have delved into direct marketing finished cattle and/or beef products to consumers.Thus, evaluating opportunities to expand cattle marketing alternatives is merited to help meet the governor’s challenge.

2018 Integrated Beef and Forage Resource Management Calendar
Integrated Resource Management is a system that utilizes all resources available to optimize production and net income. This calendar has been developed to assist you in formulating an overall management plan for your beef and forage operation. Utilize the calendar to schedule various management practices, calf due dates, and farm-related activities.

Basis Estimates for Feeder Cattle and Fed Cattle
Information on the historical difference in the cash and futures price using historical data available from the Extension Marketing Specialist.

Fall vs. Spring Calving: Considerations and Profitability Comparison
Most cow-calf producers using a defined calving season in the United States follow a spring calving season, while fall calving is the second-most common calving season. Cow-calf producers have several alternatives when it comes to selecting a breeding and subsequent calving season. The most common alternatives for calving seasons include spring, fall, winter and year-round calving. The majority of beef cattle producers in Tennessee who operate with a defined calving season choose to follow a spring calving season. However, the fall calving season is more profitable than the spring calving season.

Livestock Budgets, Forage Budgets, and Field Crop Budgets
Updated versions of the budgets for Tennessee producers available through the UTIA Agricultural and Resource Economics Department.

Profitability of Retained Ownership:Tennessee Beef Evaluation
Retained ownership is a marketing strategy that allows producers to own cattle beyond weaning. The Tennessee Beef Evaluation Program assists Tennessee cattle producers in retaining ownership of their cattle through the feedlot.
Summary of Retained Ownership:Tennessee Beef Evaluation

Marketing Feeder Cattle Via Video Auction
Cattle producers have several methods to market cattle. Methods commonly used include live auction market, private treaty, graded sale, marketing alliance, video auction, internet auction, and retained ownership through the feedlot. Video Using Video Auctions to Market Cattle

Tennessee Market Highlights
This is a newsletter produced weekly to highlight the livestock and commodities markets. Comparisons, trends, and comments are made concerning the markets.

Extension- Agricultural and Resource Economics
The mission of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Extension Program is to provide leadership for developing, delivering, and evaluating current and relevant agricultural economics and resource development educational programs for decision makers. Our vision is for Tennesseans to improve their knowledge, understanding, and application of economics to agricultural and rural issues.

Marketing Locally Raised Beef
Three focus group meetings were hosted in December 2013 and January 2014 to explore Tennessee beef producers' experiences with marketing value-added beef. The purpose of these focus groups was to gather information about market opportunities and constraints faced by value-added beef producers in order to develop educational materials for interested farmers and industry partners.

Consumer Preferences for Tennessee Beef: Results of a Consumer Survey
Producers interested in adding value to cattle and directly marketing meat face many challenges such as developing business and marketing plans and starting and expanding operations. A survey of Tennessee consumers was conducted to gather information to learn about customers interested in purchasing local beef and to understand their tastes and preferences for products, shopping behaviors and willingness to pay for local beef.

Commodity Options as Price Insurance for Cattlemen
Each marketing method carries risks, and one of the most prevalent risks for cattle producers is price risk that is present throughout all stages of production and marketing. Price risk is often thought of as declining cattle prices for sellers, increasing cattle prices for buyers or increasing feed prices for feed users.

Using Futures Markets to Manage Price Risk in Feeder Cattle Operations
Livestock producers, when selling products or purchasing inputs, can either accept the market price at delivery, or point of purchase, or reduce input and product price risks by using pricerisk management tools. One price-risk management opportunity is available through futures market contracts. This publication explains how livestock producers can use futures markets to manage price risk.

Understanding and Using Cattle Basis in Managing Price Risk
Understanding the concept of basis is a key element in developing a sound marketing plan. Basis refers to the relationship between the cash price in a local market and the futures market price. Basis is the difference between the cash price and the futures price for the time, place and quality where delivery actually occurs (Basis = Cash Price – Futures Price).

Livestock Risk Protection Insurance (LRP): How It Works for Feeder Cattle
Beef producers have a limited number of tools to manage price risk associated with marketing cattle. The tools available include futures contracts, options, forward contracting and livestock risk protection insurance (LRP). Each tool brings with it a list of advantages and disadvantages, but each can be used effectively under different circumstances.

Ten Suggestions for Improved Feeder Cattle Production and Marketing
Production of feeder calves is the primary beef production system in Tennessee and the Southeast and the greatest source of agricultural income. Following are proven ways Tennessee cow-calf producers can add value to their feeder cattle if they are carried out from a "total management" standpoint. This means that the practices are part of the management package and all need to be done.