Not All Calves Are Created Equal

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor! Let’s see how advancements in genetics produce cattle that capture a high quality consumer’s interest.
(Bob Cervera) Not all calves are created equal. (Cliff Lamb) In the past it didn’t matter – every five hundred pound calf would sell for about the same amount. Now we might see somewhere in the range of thirty to fifty cents per pound difference for the same weight calves sold at a sale barn or sold in a load lot just based on genetics, previous performance, things like that. (Bob) Every day, beef producers are looking for ways to capture these premiums. (Larry Corah) But there are three big areas where we have to add value to cattle. They have to have the ability to grow once they hit that feedlot or even before the feedlot on the cow, the ability to grow. They have to be healthy. Health is such a huge economic importance in the industry today. And finally they have to create a quality eating experience for the consumer because we need to keep in mind that the people that really drive this industry ultimately is that beef consumer. And so they demand today a high quality product. (Bob) Producers can work with their veterinarians to prepare calves for health in the feedlot. Corah says focusing more on genetics can greatly influence the other two value-drivers. (Larry) Make sure on the growth side that you are paying attention to weaning EPDs, yearling EPDs, or even dollar index values can tell an awful lot about how the cattle will do once they leave that ranch or farm. (Bob) Little numbers can have a big impact. Some producers mistakenly think because marbling EPD numbers are small, like .4 or .6, they don’t mean much. (Larry) Keep in mind that as you go from the industry average on Angus cattle today of slightly above .6 for a marbling EPD if you go to .8 just at picking that bull we’re going to get 20 units of marbling. 20 units of marbling is absolutely huge to both that ultimate consumer and basically how those cattle are going to perform once they hit the rail. (Bob) As beef prices have risen, consumers expect a better eating experience. Corah says that increased demand is seen in calf values. High-quality cattle may bring an extra $50 at weaning and $80 to $120 coming out of the feedlot. (Larry) So it’s really this high quality part the consuming public is demanding. That has been increasing in the last 5 to 8 years. I think it will continue to increase and that’s the opportunity for the cattle industry to add value. (Bob) I’m Bob Cervera.
(Jamie) Stay with us after the break for this week’s Plain Talk with Kyle and Duane Toews.

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