Successful Farming - - CONTENTS - By Jodi Henke, Mul­ti­me­dia Edi­tor

Most feeder calves in the U.S. are born in the spring and go to mar­ket in the fall. Cow-calf pro­duc­ers have been in ex­pan­sion mode over the past few years, lead­ing to a large sup­ply of feeder calves. The in­crease in an­i­mals has cre­ated a buyer’s mar­ket, and pro­duc­ers are look­ing for ways to add value to their calf crops.

John Grimes is an Ex­ten­sion beef co­or­di­na­tor at Ohio State Univer­sity. He says there are sev­eral things that can give you an edge.

“They talk about these VAC 45 pro­grams as the in­dus­try stan­dard now where cat­tle are pre­con­di­tioned and have been weaned for 45 days, bunk broke, and cas­trated. De­horn­ing, con­trol of pests – those things all add value,” says Grimes. “These fac­tors are ex­tremely im­por­tant to the buyer.”

Uni­for­mity is also im­por­tant to a buyer, but it’s hard to put a semitruck load of like calves to­gether if you have a small herd. Grimes rec­om­mends part­ner­ing with your neigh­bors and fill­ing the truck with uni­form calves by weight, sex, or breed­ing.

Tra­di­tional feeder calf sales are al­ways a mar­ket­ing op­tion. How­ever, there is a grow­ing trend of us­ing the in­ter­net as a mar­ket­ing tool.

“Video auc­tions used for pre­selling the calves are prob­a­bly more pop­u­lar in the West­ern states,” Grimes says. “A lot of those hap­pen dur­ing the sum­mer months. Calves are sold for de­liv­ery at a set date at a cer­tain size.

“In the Eastern states, you’re start­ing to see more of those kinds of sales. I think some of the weekly auc­tion mar­kets are look­ing at cre­ative things to do to help mer­chan­dise cat­tle,” he says.

“It also seems to re­duce the stress when calves are sold and de­liv­ered from the farm in­stead of go­ing through a weekly auc­tion,” he notes.

A lit­tle ex­tra time spent on your mar­ket­ing plans now may put a few ex­tra dol­lars in the bank.

Learn more adding-value-to-feed­er­calves/

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