Is There an Optimal Weight for Marketing Calves?

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

There have been a few questions the past two or three weeks concerning the optimal weight to market calves and feeder cattle. These questions hinged around the weight that would return the largest profit.

The answer to this question changes continuously. Whether a cow-calf producer or a stocker producer, each producer needs to consider how to maximize profits relative to the available resources while also considering seasonality of cattle prices throughout the year. Producers also need to consider decisions that could impact long term profits and not just profits in a single year.

The cattle business is about developing a reputation for developing low risk cattle that will provide value for the next producer and ultimately the consumer. There are general answers to the aforementioned question based on expected prices during the year, but the general answer does not even fit the average producer very well.

Consider the costs of feeding the animal versus the value of feeding the animal on a regular basis and the question will be answered.