Cattle Marketing Decision Tools

Contributed by Lee Schulz, extension livestock economist

Reduced availability of feed and forage has some livestock producers making decisions now they hadn’t originally planned on for their livestock. Two Decision Tool calculators have been developed to aid in decisions regarding the sale and repurchase of cattle. The first spreadsheet, cow sell calculator, compares opportunities for marketing cows now or incurring additional costs to target other (later) markets. It evaluates alternative sale and cost scenarios and estimates the value of targeting other (later) markets. The approach used calculates the value per animal or other assets to generate the same revenue as a sale at an earlier date.

The second spreadsheet, cow repurchase calculator, estimates the costs saved and interest earned on sale proceeds between sale and repurchase date. It evaluates alternative sale, repurchase, and cost scenarios and determines the amount that could be paid for replacement animals. The approach used calculates the sum of interest earned on the proceeds of earlier culling and costs not incurred (e.g., feed, other, etc.) as a result of the sale. Then, the cash that could be available for repurchase, if saved and not used, includes the proceeds from the sale plus the interest earned on those proceeds. Both Ag Decision Maker Decision Tools are available on the Ag Decision Maker website.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM)

An agricultural economics and business website.

Managing Livestock Financial Issues

At a time when Iowa livestock producers continue to grapple with the tough economy, Iowa State University Extension wants to make it easier for producers to find ISU educational resources they need.

“We want livestock producers to easily find ISU people and information that can help them work through year-end financial issues and develop financial plans for next year,” said John Lawrence, ISU Extension livestock economist. “We know many producers are feeling financial and emotional stress, so we have placed our materials on one Web page for their convenience.”

A new Web page, Managing Financial Tough Times for Livestock Producers, at, has materials organized on seven sub-pages – Iowa Concern; Ag Decision Maker; Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation; financial management tools specific to beef, dairy and pork producers; and tips to help parents talk to kids about the financial situation.

Farm Financial Planning is Iowa State University Extension’s farm financial analysis program and can also be beneficial in tough financial times. It consists of one-on-one financial counseling, a computerized analysis of the farm business, and referral to other extension programs or outside services that may be useful.

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