Buy/Sell Margins Calculator

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The buy/sell margin (the difference between a feeder calf or yearling purchase price and a sale price at some later date) is a critical component in the profitability of beef cattle backgrounding and finishing systems. In fact, the margin can make or break a producer in a single year.

The Excel-based Buy Sell Margins Calculator allows you to look at historical buy/sell margins for buy-sell periods that you select for steers, heifers, Holstein steers (Tennessee only), and finished cattle (5 Market Area).

These historical buy/sell margins can give you some feel for the price risk exposure on purchased cattle as well as calves from a cow/calf program. The absolute buy/sell margins in dollars per hundredweight are one measure of price risk.

The BSM Calculator will calculate the minimum (worst), average, and maximum (best) buy/sell margins for the past 10 years based on your selections of both buying and selling months, state, sex, weight ranges, and grades.

Note Regarding Security Settings: The decision-aid file contains macros (examples: buttons for printing and moving from the intro page to the calculator) which are required for the calculator to function properly. Security settings for Microsoft Office or Excel may give you warnings when you open the file regarding the safety of enabling the macros. This will especially be true if your security settings are set to high or very high. The macros in the file must be enabled for the calculator to function properly.

Download Buy Sell Margins Calculator

Updated February 2024

For additional information, contact Becky Bowling,