Thursday, March 21, 2013

Get Data to Make Your Cattle Crop More Attractive to Buyers; Sign-up for Missouri Steer Feedout is Underway

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

Beef cow-calf producers who want to develop a reputation as a producer of cattle that do well in the feedlot and on the rail should consider entering the upcoming Missouri Steer Feedout.

“Raising calves that have the potential to create excitement when they run into the sale ring requires that they have some positive objective data,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

According to Cole, progressive feeder cattle order buyers are not content to just bid aggressively on calves that have the looks, flesh and fill condition.

“Those buyers would like to have a track record for feedlot gain and carcass merit that supports that extra one, two or three bids,” said Cole. “The most effective way to develop that objective data is to retain ownership on all or at least a portion of your calf crop.”

The cattle feeding business has not been financially rewarding in recent times with calf and feed prices both high. In fact, last December’s closeout on the Missouri Feedout showed a $225 per head feeding loss.

Despite that dollar loss, some of the participants discovered they had steers that gained above average in the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity in southwest Iowa. Excellent carcass quality and yield grades were also made.

“These facts can help their herd mates attract more bids in the future,” said Cole.


The feedout is now accepting entries, a minimum of five head, until May 10. Eligible entries must be born after July 1, 2012. Birth dates and positive sire identification are desired, but not required.

The calves must be weaned and given two rounds of modified live vaccinations at least 28 days before the June 4 delivery date. Forty-five days are preferred. They must be castrated, dehorned, healed and bunk broke.

Pickup locations will be Joplin Regional Stockyards and possibly the Paris Veterinary Clinic. Calves in the northwest corner of the state may be delivered directly to the selected feed yard in southwest Iowa.

At the June 4 pickup, steers will be weighed, given feedlot tags, graded by Missouri Market News graders and priced. The price is used to establish value going into the feeding phase. The price helps determine the profitability during the finishing phase.

Data available on individual animals at the conclusion of the feedout include: rate of gain, carcass weight, marbling score, ribeye area, fat thickness, retail value per day on feed and per day of age, carcass premiums, discounts, disposition score, feed to gain and health treatment costs.

Information about the program can be found online at


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