How to Read a Cattle Market Report

By Sharyl Stockstill

You can derive a great deal of information from a livestock report, whether it is the national report or the local report from the livestock auction. Deciphering the information is relatively simple once you understand the basics.

Step 1

Determine the classification of cattle in which you are interested. The livestock report is divided into separate classifications for heifers, steers, bulls and cows.

Step 2

Decide the weight classification. For example, a report might break down steer calves into five different weight classes.

Step 3

Note the average price per animal in your selected weight class. For example, say 300- to 500-pound steers are averaging $95 to $118. The price listed is for hundred weight. In other words, for every 100 pounds the steer weighs, you will receive up to $118.00. Thus, a 350-pound calf would bring $413.00 (3.5 X $118).

Step 4

By doing some simple math, you can calculate the expected value of a 485-pound calf based on average per hundred weight: ($95 + $118)/2 = $107 average per hundred weight. Move your decimal two places to the left, and you have $1.07 cents per pound. Thus, $1.07 x 485 = $518.95 would be the expected value at the current market rate.