Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Ryan Larsen


Ryan Larsen


Matthew Garcia


Dillon Feuz


The purpose of this thesis is to allow beef producers a better insight into the costs and benefits associated with carrying over fall calves to yearling weight and selling them the following spring. Producers are usually seen as risk-averse when it comes to selling their livestock. (Feuz, Fausti 1995) Cattle producers face several decisions during the year when it comes to calf input costs and the premium to be received for fall calves, with the final decision coming at the last minute, when making the decision to keep or sell calves. Said calves might be sold in the fall or retained through the winter and marketed in the springtime of the year following for a potential premium when the cattle markets tend to rise in February-April. Animals that are retained through the winter have costs associate, which must be considered prior to the decision to retain the calves. Calf retention may allow the producer better control of profitability due to the flexibility added in responding to the market price. When calf prices are high, or feed input costs prohibit carryover, the producer can sell as they conventionally would have in the fall markets. Alternative options for marketing are also something to consider when it comes time to sell calves in both fall and spring markets. New forms of digital marketing and sales may offer some benefits for producers as they consider how to sell their calves and what their time is worth. The goal of this paper is to provide producers a more extensive insight into the risk and budgeting constraints associated with backgrounding calves by using historical price data and enterprise budgets to help producers make informed decisions in their operations and assist in management decisions.

Additional Files

Excel Sheet.xlsx (83 kB)
Capital Budgeting Template

Instruction Sheet for Excel Document-Appendix A.docx (73 kB)
Instruction Sheet for Capital Budgeting Template

Included in

Agribusiness Commons