Helpful solutions to calf weaning woes

Weaning is a stressful time for calves. Stress can lead to poor performance or sickness. Weaning management should focus on reducing stress, promoting consumption of feed and water, and preventing disease.

The impacts of drought are leading some to reconsider marketing alternatives for calves. Lower beef cow inventories now indicate higher values of calves, yearlings and fed cattle in the future. If you have traditionally marketed weaned calves or yearlings and are considering retained ownership through finishing in order to be selling at a later endpoint (in a more favorable market), consider the following.

Most fed cattle (approximately 75 percent) are sold with a price determined on a carcass value basis. How does this work? Your pen of live finished cattle are harvested, carcasses are weighed and USDA yield and quality grades are assigned. Optimum combinations of quality and yield grades result in more dollar value per pound of carcass weight sold. Price docks occur if carcasses are too light or too heavy.

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