Cattle on pasture

Livestock markets across Tennessee will slow down during the holiday season says Andrew Griffith, assistant profess of agricultural economics with University of Tennessee Extension.

As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays approach, cattle sales start to slow down. This slowdown in cattle movement includes local livestock markets across Tennessee, says Andrew Griffith, an assistant professor of agricultural economics with University of Tennessee Extension.

“If a producer is planning to market cattle during the next few weeks, then a call to the market or market manager to inquire about the sale schedule for the next few weeks may be a wise decision,” said Griffith.  “A phone call may save producers time, effort and a few dollars, as well as from unnecessarily stressing cattle during transport by simply being aware if the livestock market is open or closed for the week.”

Even if they plan to market cattle in the next few weeks, it may benefit producers if markets are closed. Added the economist. “Cattle prices this time of year for most classes of cattle are generally declining or are posting some of the lowest prices of the year. We normally see cattle prices start strengthening after the first of the year,” he said.  

Lightweight steer and heifer (300 to 600 pounds) prices normally are on the rise through March and early April, and stay fairly strong through early to mid-May, Griffith said. “Prices for 600 to 800 pound steers and heifers make most of their northward price movement from March to May and then are normally strong and steady through early August, when they are likely to start tapering off the remainder of the year.”

The economist advises cattle producers that cull cows will start to find some price support in February and will generally continue to ascend into May and early June before prices start to experience some resistance.

“It may benefit producers to hold on to all classes of cattle until after the first of the year if marketing of cattle is planned in the near future. If markets are closed the next couple of weeks, then producers do not have much of a choice other than to wait until the new year which should benefit the revenue side of the profit equation,” he said.  

“Even more beneficial to padding the bank account is to hold those cattle until March or April, if ample feed supplies are available,” Griffith recommended.

For more information about Tennessee livestock marketing, read the Tennessee Market Highlights newsletter, online at or contact your local county UT Extension office.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.



Dr. Andrew P. Griffith, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 865- 974-7480,