All hail “the right kind” of calf

At some point in time, perhaps sooner, perhaps later, we’ll move to a discount market where the good calves will bring market price and high-risk cattle will be severely discounted.


Burt Rutherford, BEEF Magazine

Dec 05, 2018


I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on the sale of Integrity Beef calves earlier this week. Integrity Beef is a program coordinated by the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Okla., and the calves that qualify must meet a rigid protocol for health and genetics.


These calves are an example of what happens when you do things right, and watching them come through the sale ring at the OKC West Stockyards at El Reno, Okla., they showed the phenotypes of that effort.


Time will tell, of course, about how well they perform in the feedyard and on the rail. But history says they’ll do just fine, according to Robert Wells, the Noble beef cattle consultant and ramrod of the Integrity Beef program.


The interesting thing about that, however, is when the calf-feds get sick with BRD, it’s not in the first three weeks after arrival. It’s from 50 to 90 days on feed.


At this point, nobody knows why. It’s a multi-factorial issue and researchers are still trying to tease out all the factors that might be a cause. Look for more articles on this in the coming weeks.


Nonetheless, those preconditioned calves are what the kind we call value-added and expect them to fetch a better price than “commodity” cattle. And typically, they do. That’s because they’ve proven their worth to feedyard managers. Wells tells me there is more demand for good cattle than are being produced...


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