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The University of Tennessee | Institute of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Frequently Used Tools:




Buy Sell Margins Calculator

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). You can also look at purchasing and/or selling 50,000 lbs. loads of Tennessee steers (700-800 lbs. and 800-900 lbs.) and heifers (700-800 lbs.).

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 on Security Settings

The file contains macros (buttons for printing and moving from the intro page to the calculator). Security settings for Microsoft Office or Excel may give you warnings for when you open the file. This will especially be true if your security settings are set to high or very high. The following should correct the issue.

For Excel 2010

  • When you open the file a "Security Warning" Message may appear just above the spreadsheet.
  • The message will read "This file originated from an Internet location and might be unsafe."
  • Click on the "Enable Editing" Button beside the message.
  • A second message may then appear just above the spreadsheet which reads “Some active content has been disabled."
  • Click on the "Enable Content" Button beside the message.

For Excel 2007

  • When you open the file a "Security Warning" Message may appear just above the spreadsheet.
  • The message will read "Some active content has been disabled."
  • Click on the "Options" Button beside the message.
  • A Microsoft Office security window appears. Select "Enable the content" then "OK".

For Excel 2003
If your security settings are set to High or Very High a message will be displayed and you may need to change your security settings to enable the macros.

  • Open Excel
  • Select the "Tools" menu option
  • From the Tools menu select "Macro" and then select "Security"...
  • A window will be displayed which will include a tab labeled Security Level
  • Select "Medium" and then "OK"
  • Now open the Buy/Sell Margins Calculator file
  • When you open the file, a security warning window will appear
  • Select the "Enable Macros" button to continue opening the file

For additional information contact Tammy McKinley