BEEF INSIDER®: ROUNDUP
HERE’S HOW TO MARKET YOUR CALF CROP IN A BUYER’S MARKET.
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 u.osu.edu/beef/2017/07/12/ adding-value-to-feedercalves/