Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
October 7, 1999

Marketing Or Just Selling Feeder Calves

Getting feeder cattle ready to market seems to be an annual problem for many producers. Extra labor and additional time is required prior to the actual weaning process for many producers who do an excellent job of marketing their cattle. Some individuals feel that the extra time and labor is useless when they see the feeder cattle market results posted in the paper or attend the local sale they are marketing through.

However, I can assure you that the extra effort devoted to calf management prior to weaning is time well spent. Many producers feel they are not getting a premium for their production when the white, red or blue tag process is followed prior to marketing. We can expect little or no premium for feeder cattle marketed under these circumstances. However, we certainly can expect a discount of feeder cattle that have not had the proper immunizations. One message that is frequently conveyed is this group has had all their shots. I immediately wonder what the phrase "all their shots" covers. This may range from a simple blackleg immunization given soon after birth, (because the calves are easily caught at this stage of life) to a very rigid weaning program which may include the use of modified live vaccine, weaning, breaking to eat from a bunk, and introduction to drinking from a pressurized water tank.

If you are processing your calves prior to weaning I suggest you record the date of all immunizations, serial number, name of immunization and company manufacturing the vaccine. This is not that hard to do. Simply peel off a label from a bottle of immunization and tape it in your date book, calendar, on the sun visor of your truck, or on the barn door for future reference. This information will become a valuable piece of information at marketing time.

If any calf is observed with some form of sickness, especially a lung disorder, record the date and ID of the animal. Frequently we see the reoccurrence of lung congestion later in life of the calf. This generally becomes very evident when we experience extreme cold or intense heat throughout the feeding period. Any time a consignment to the feeding phase has to be pulled for treatment you can expect the cost of feeding to increase. Frequently the cost of treatment is very minor. The real expense comes when we see the days required for the extended feeding period, added yardage, additional feed, and the frequently observed reduced quality grade compared to pen mates or half sibs when sold.

Marketing your calves -- not just selling them -- is becoming more of a practice for many producers. Pre-weaning management methods desired by those purchasing your cattle are becoming closely associated with a reputation of quality cattle for many producers.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - October 7, 1999
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT0100799.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004