Cattle producers are always looking to add value to their cattle operation through marketing strategies. However, there are several ways to add value through basic management practices, although applying these practices do not always guarantee a premium as there are several factors to consider when selling your calves.
Bull selection is the fastest way to had value to any calf crop as quality will always be rewarded in any marketing setting. Buyers want calves that show high quality growth potential. A bull has the ability to produce 25 to 30 calves per year which will also drive the uniformity and quality of the calf crop.
Making the decision to castrate can improve value, as steers are more desirable than bulls to finish for meat quality factors. If a buyer can purchase a steer over a bull, he doesn’t have to take on the risk of stressing the calf at the next stop in his grow phase through castration.
A polled calf has higher value than a horned calf as in a feed yard setting to finish cattle as horns can cause negative affects to carcass quality.
A healthy calf sets the stage for market value, sick or lame cattle offer limited value for buyers and often times come with discounts in value. Health vaccinated calves come with a reflection of perceived decrease in risk with those calves through the various growth phases. Weaned and vaccinated calves show a decrease in morbidity and an increase in performance through feeding and grading.
Number of Calves
To increase value in calves being able to sell, a load lot of calves can add value to your calf crop as the buyer is able to access a high quantity of high-quality uniform calves. Having a defined calving season allows for a large group of calves to be marketed at time of sell. If you are a smaller producer partnering with other producers to group market may add value or selling direct my improve value.
Weaning and background calves can add value, as a calf that has been weaned is at less risk of stress than one being weaned at time of sell. Introducing calves to feed helps to make the transition of ownership from seller to buyer less stressful and lowers the affects of performance disruption.
Adding value to your calf crop starts by making business management decisions to increase the quality of calf produced and ensuring management decisions reflect a good guidance to excel performance for your calve crop.
Make plans to attend the cattle program hosted November 14th, 2022 from 6-8pm to visit with guest speakers from Zoetis, Cracker Land & Cattle, and Superior Livestock. Please RSVP by by calling the UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension Office, An Equal Opportunity Institute at (386) 362-2771.
Matt Hersom and Todd Thrift, Factors That Affect Calf Selling Price At Marketing