Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Coatney, Kalyn

Committee Member

Harri, Ardian

Committee Member

Rivera, J. Daniel

Committee Member

Riley, John Michael

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


To improve meat quality and consistency, cattle feeders have moved towards implementing end-point marketing strategies (EPM) based on visual estimates of physiological characteristics. A commonly used 0.5 inch backfat target was used in this analysis. Recognizing that physiological targets will not necessarily result in profit maximization; this research developed a profit maximization rule (PMR) that accounts for the dynamics of animal growth, output prices and costs. A natural field experiment was conducted in Iowa to evaluate the potential for the PMR. One hundred twenty three fed cattle were randomly assigned into two treatments (PMR and EPM). Realized profit results indicate that EPM outperformed the PMR methodology by $24.35 per head. However, simulations that relax some experimental constraints resulted in the PMR outperforming EPM by $102.06 per head. Interestingly, the PMR did not negatively affect carcass quality. Therefore, relaxing PMR constraints in future experimental studies is expected to improve realized profitability.