Thursday, November 07, 2013

“Feeder Calf Buying 101” Presented in Joplin Nov. 5

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

JOPLIN, Mo. -- One hundred and seventy cattle producers were educated on the finer points of feeder calf evaluation and cattle buying at a program at Joplin Regional Stockyards on Nov. 5.

The cattle buying “101” session was a part of the regular Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association meeting, following a steak supper compliments of Alltech.  Cooperating in the effort was University of Missouri Extension.

The teachers for the evening were Missouri Department of Agriculture market news reporter Rick Huffman, and two feeder cattle order buyers: Scott Kirby of Liberal and Frank Brazle, Chanute, KS.

The trio critiqued 77 head of steers from nine owners as the calves went through the ring.

Huffman placed a grade on each group regarding frame and muscling.  Kirby and Brazle both commented about their approach to filling orders while only having 15 or 20 seconds to determine if cattle coming through the sale ring would satisfy their feedlot customers.

The steers evaluated are entered in the Missouri Steer Feedout held in the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity in southwest Iowa.  As the nine groups came through, the order buyers pointed out strengths and weaknesses and did not pull any punches.

The cattle were praised for uniformity, thickness, bone, flesh condition, apparent growth potential, ability to withstand rough weather and breed makeup that could enhance carcass grades.

Negative comments centered on too much fill, smaller frames, mixed colors/breeds, eye problems, and too much flesh.

Brazle mentioned that buyers can only bid on what sellers bring to the auction and what buyers can see.  He said his goal is to help his customer make money ultimately both the buyer and seller should share in the profit.

The evaluated steers averaged 635 pounds.  Huffman placed an average price on them at $163.06 with a range from $90 up to $175 per hundred.  The price will be used to calculate their profitability in the feedlot and carcass phase of the feedout.

“The $90 steer was colored like a Longhorn thus the severe discount,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The same day, four owners in north Missouri took 36 steers to Paris Vet Clinic for processing.  Those steers were shipped to Gregory Feedlot at Tabor, IA where they will be fed with the southwest Missouri cattle for 150 to 180 days.  The owners will receive a very complete report on their animal’s performance during that time.  This complete evaluation provides objective data to make breeding, feeding, management and marketing decisions.

For more information of future feedouts, 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.

Angus steer calves at the event:
Rick Huffman:
Scott Kirby:
Frank Brazle:


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