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Agricultural News

Feeding Cattle Longer Increases Weight, Quality, and Profit

Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:51:56 CST

Feeding Cattle Longer Increases Weight, Quality, and Profit
Feeding cattle longer increases weight, quality, and profit, but, says Tom Brink, Tom Brink, cattle ownership arm of feeding giant Five Rivers, it’s a balance.

“There is some ability to increase the choice percentage if you feed cattle longer. You have to be careful with that because corn costs are high. The costs of gains are high. And, so, you can’t feed cattle too long beyond the efficient part of their growth or you can offset any additional quality grade you get. Of course, when the choice-select spread is wide, you will push that about as far as you can.”

The Professional Cattle Consultants Company tracks data on millions of cattle. When feeders ask about that perfect balance, the answer surprises many, says PCC’s Shawn Walter.

“As cattle get heavier and carcasses get heavier, a higher percentage of live-weight gain goes to carcass weight gain. So, if you’re looking at cost of gains and incremental cost of gains versus the value of that gain, you can actually, oftentimes, take a pen of cattle 40 to 60 to 70 days longer and still be feeding them at a profitable level because the value of that carcass hasn’t reached the cost of adding the additional carcass pounds.”

Walter says that should push more feeders toward feeding longer and selling on a grid.

As the genetics improve, Brink says, the ability to increase weight and quality will likely follow suit.

“The other thing for us is to certainly try to source cattle that have some genetics that will grade. And that’s somewhat easier to do than it used to be because we’ve seen more quality cattle and a higher percentage of Angus-based cattle around the industry. That helps us a lot, but there’s still a lot of room for progress there and there still are a lot of cattle out there that don’t grade very well and so that challenges us to buy a better quality animal than try to create a higher-grading group of cattle out of it.”

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