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Beef Marketing and Economics

All Beef Marketing and Economics Content

Producer analyzing and grading a cow.

Live Weight vs. Carcass Weight: Effect on Cost of Gain and Margin

More cattle each year are marketed using carcass weight to determine value, sometimes combined with grid premiums and discounts. Can we use the same assumptions for growth and cost of gain when marketing methods differ?

Red angus cattle gathered in a feedlot in winter.


South Dakota is home to a dynamic livestock industry.

herd of beef cattle grazing in a pasture


Home to more than 1 million head of cattle, South Dakota’s producers can rely on SDSU Extension for research-based information, best management practices and resources to support healthy and profitable herds.

various white charts and bar graphs on a blue background

Monthly Cattle Prices and Basis Levels

Effective marketing and risk management techniques often rely on sound benchmarks. Those marketing cattle need reasonable metrics to evaluate received and expected prices.

Black angus heifers in a green pasture.

Value of Pregnancy Detection of Yearling Heifers

One of the most-important traits in the beef herd is reproduction. Any female that ends up open at the end of the year is costing the operation additional money. Strategic management decisions should be made within the reproductive herd to help maximize revenue.

Young woman reviewing data on a laptop with a producer inside a hay shelter.

Management Goals for Cow/Calf Operations

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and good management practices begin by taking good records.

A young man analyzing the results of a pregnancy check on an electronic device.

Preg-Checking Decisions

There is much value in preg-checking spring-calving cow herds in the fall. The most common is to cull open cows from the herd. The second reason would be to reduce the number of late calving cows in the herd.

A group of red angus cattle.

The Calving Distribution Calculator

Excel calculator for calving distribution

Rancher holding a notepad beside a feed bunk.

Capitalizing on Cow Costs

Feeding cows is one area of consideration when analyzing the cost of keeping a cow through her production year. Through small management choices, we can decrease the cost of the cow while maximizing on opportunities.

A group of red angus cattle.

Minimizing Synchronization Costs

With the rising costs of certain feed supplements, uncertainty in the markets, and fear of the unknown, using an estrus synchronization protocol may be the last thing on producers’ minds. However, there is still opportunity to incorporate estrus synchronization without breaking the bank.