Mourer Says Producers Have Several Tools to Add Value to Their Beef CattleMon, 23 Sep 2013 15:40:43 CDT
With weaning season upon us, ranchers are preparing to market their cattle. Gant Mourer, Value Added Specialist with the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department, says there are a lot of things producers can do to add value to each head sold. He speaks with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays on the latest Beef Buzz. You can hear the full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
“When I think of weaning calves, we can keep those calves back, vaccinate those calves and make them healthy for the next person who wants to purchase those calves,” Mourer says.
Adding value can be as easy as producers simply considering what kind of calves they would want to buy and what kind of calves they, themselves, would be willing to pay more money for.
“First of all, the health of that calf is important. The genetics of that calf-one that can convert feed well, that does well on feed, gains for you not only in the pasture but in the feedlot, have a little muscle to him, a little bone to him. So, that is a relative term, but I think a lot of people would agree on the same specs.”
Beyond genetics, he says there are plenty of things producers can do to increase their returns on market day.
“If we can just vaccinate those calves--get two rounds of vaccinations in them, booster those calves, get the health of those calves where we need them to be-60 percent of the time, we’ll see increased value in those calves anywhere between $50 and $60 a head.
“Now, if we can keep them back for 45 days, we’re going to put a little bit of weight on them, that value gain is really high-right now, a $1 to $1.15. And if we can do that, 80 percent of the time we’ll see $70 to $80 a head for that particular calf.
“Again, it just goes back to selling a quality product and the type of calf you want to be able to pass along to the feedlot or to the stocker operator.
“The other thing we need to think about is your own personal reputation. When you market those calves, people realize which calves perform and do well and they’ll come back to you and want to be able to purchase those calves again.”
Mourer says there are a lot of programs producers can use to document the quality of their management like the OQBN Vac 45 program. There are also corporate sponsored programs that perform similar functions.
“What these programs do is, someone is actually at the ranch verifying the products that you use to manage these cattle. They sign off on it and it really just brings a little peace of mind to the people purchasing those cattle.”
Mourer said that producers using such programs saw anywhere from a $12-$14/cwt premium last year. He said county agents across Oklahoma are very knowledgeable about the Oklahoma Beef Quality Network program and can assist ranchers with more details.
More information about the Oklahoma Beef Quality Network is available at http://oqbn.okstate.edu/
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