Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

Doing a breakeven analysis can help you decide whether to sell or buy cattle, and how long you should keep the calves you have. Breakevens are easy to calculate. Use your personal numbers and use current market values, not generalizations.

Knowing your costs of production is essential to know if your selling price is good enough to successfully market your cattle.

If you are only doing the work of a hired hand, don't expect a manager's wage. If you want a manager's salary, spend most of your time doing the work of a manager.

As shrinkage increases, the potential for improving net returns from calves, feeders and fed cattle decreases. Shrinkage can be reduced by minimizing animal stress during handling, transportation and arrival at the auction market, feedlot or packing plant.

Try to find the best market for your cull animals. Rather than dumping culled cows into a market, placing them in a feeding program to increase marbling, tenderness, flavor, body weight and whiten the fat may result in higher returns depending on the market place.

Risk is a part of every business. Identify and understand the risks your business can and does face and plan how to deal with them.

There are seven steps to marketing: 1] know your costs, 2] gather market outlook information, 3] know your product, 4] set several target prices, 5] evaluate pricing and delivery alternatives, 6] stick to your plan, and 7] evaluate your plan. Don't skip a step, even if it requires extra time.

There are four main types of available markets that producers can access. These include direct sales (farm gate and feedlot direct), commission sales (auction market), direct sales with commission (e.g. ranch sales, electronic auctions) and forward contracting. Understand what is involved in each of these methods and decide which works the best for the product you offer.

There are seasonal effects on the pricing of different ages of cattle. Be aware of this and try to match the animals you sell to the best season for price for that class of animal.

Fact Sheets

Break Even Analysis for Feeder Cattle

Cull Cow Body and Carcass Composition

Direct Marketing Meats...Selling Freezer Beef - available in pdf format only

Direct Marketing Meats...Selling Meat at Alberta Approved Farmer's Markets - available in pdf format only

Enhancing Canadian Beef Industry - Value Chain Alignment - available in pdf format only

Exchange Rate Impacts on the Canadian Beef Industry - available in pdf format only

Farm Gate Values for Farm-Raised vs. Purchased Calves

Forward Contracting of Cattle

Hedging Using Futures - Price Protection for Cattle Producers

Managing Shrink and Weighing Conditions in Beef Cattle - available in pdf format only

Manitoba Forage Finished Beef Potential in Niche Markets - June 2006 - available in PDF format only

Marketing Calves and Culls (2013) - available in PDF format only

Marketing Replacement Heifers - Questions to Consider

National Animal Identification System

Predicting Feeder Cattle Prices

Price Discovery: A literature Review - available in PDF format only

Traceability and Process Verification in the Canadian Beef Industry - available in PDF format only

Understanding and Managing Cattle Shrink - available in PDF format only

Understanding and Using Basis Levels in Cattle Markets

Understanding Dressing Percentage of Slaughter Cattle

Understanding the Cattle Market Sliding Scale

Using a Slide in Beef Cattle Marketing - available in PDF format only

Research Papers

Characterization of Canadian grade standards and lean yield prediction for cows - available in PDF format only

  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Mary Ann Nelson.
This information published to the web on January 20, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 23, 2017.

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