Friday, August 23, 2013

Missouri Steer Feedouts Can Help Producers Increase Profits Says Extension Specialist

Contact: John Hobbs, agriculture and rural development specialist
Tel: (417) 223-4775

MT. VERNON, Mo. – You may wonder why your calves don’t attract a lot of bids when you sell? Do you know if you are producing the feeder calves that are the right kind for today’s beef industry?

“The right kind of feeder calves for today’s industry may not be what was in demand 5, 10 or 20 years ago as the market changes,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Market demands may change faster than you can change your cow herd.”

However, with today’s genomic technology, heat synchronization and artificial insemination, change can be sped up if it’s necessary.

“Today’s cow-calf producers must evaluate the current type of cattle they raise, compared to current and future demands, before they can put technology to work.  Here’s where the Missouri Steer Feedout can help,” said Cole.


For years, Cole has had farmers say they would like to get feedback on their calves after they have been slaughtered.

“There are a number of ways this can be done but in most cases the farmer must retain all are at least part ownership in the cattle and stand some of the risk.  Feedlots and packing plants will not normally give you a complete report on how your cattle have performed without your investments,” said Cole.

The feedout program allows cow-calf raisers to sample a portion of the herd rather than taking a risk on the entire calf crop.  However, participants should keep in mind that the more head they sample, the more accurate the results.

“When making decisions on which calves to enter in this type of evaluation, select calves that are not the best and not the worst.  This should allow a more accurate appraisal of your herd’s genetic makeup, this enables you to select your next sire more wisely,” said Cole.


The upcoming feedout will accept a minimum of five steer calves, no maximum, born after January 1, 2013.  They will be gathered in Missouri at Joplin Regional Stockyards and a couple of other Missouri locations.

The cattle will be fed as part of the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) in southwest Iowa. The TCSCF has been in existence for over 30 years and does a very thorough job of collecting and analyzing cattle performance.  They can also provide risk management assistance.

The entry deadline for the Missouri Steer Feedout is Oct. 10 and delivery to Iowa will be Nov. 5.  Calves should be weaned by Sept. 21.  Complete details on the health protocol are outlined in a brochure you may obtain from your University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist or go to:

“The corn prospects appear to favor a less expensive feeding cost this winter and fed cattle prices for the spring of 2014 look optimistic.  This should be a good year to learn about what type of feeder calf you’re raising and possibly make a profit while you learn.  That would put you in a more competitive position if you plan to stay in the feeder calf enterprise,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.


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