Adding Value from the Inside Out

Mark Werner, Livestock Production Specialist, Purina Animal Nutrition (507) 990-8235

When it comes to adding value to your calf crop, there are many practices that can be implemented, but one that will stick with that calf all the way till that morsel of juicy, medium rare ribeye hits the consumers tongue is the marbling that calf establishes early in its life.  Marbling is the largest determining factor in affecting the quality grade of your calves when they hit their finish point and are harvested.

No matter if you are selling weaned calves, finishing out your home raised calves, purchased calves, or feeding Holsteins; the way those calves are treated and handled through the weaning and growing phase will affect the end-product.  If you have the mentality that once those calves are marketed and leave your farm. Those calves are no longer your concern, there is nothing farther from the truth.  Those packers that purchase your cattle, whether it’s direct off the farm or through a sale barn, can track where those cattle are sourced and how they perform on the rail.  That information can then be utilized to use that bid on your cattle in the future.  With that thought in mind, giving your cattle every chance to succeed starts as early as the conception of the embryo that will produce next year’s calf crop.    

Jason Ahola, Colorado State University Animal Scientist; recently stated in a Beef Magazine article that his recipe for helping calves reach their full potential includes “tactics proven to enhance marbling as well as strategies that have at least some evidence of a positive impact through reduction of stress.”

Beyond prompt castration and early weaning onto a high energy diet, Ahola found low stress management such as fence line weaning or use of a self-weaning nose flap, in combination with a vaccination program, worming, and mineral supplementation can help with marbling. 

Creep feeding your calves will help ease the weaning process for your calves. Creep feeding familiarizes the calves with dry supplement which aids in bringing the calves to the bunk, not just leave them scouring the dry lot looking for grass or looking for mom when we remove them from the cow instead of using their nose to find the bunk.  Establishing a successful, proven mineral plan for your cow herd and weaning plan will benefit your calves by meeting their nutritional needs through the most stressful time of their life and set them up for success for the rest of their lives.  Implementing management practices to help your calves meet their full potential will Adding value from the inside out by making healthier cattle that are easier to manage and add value through performance and above average carcass traits that will hopefully be recognized in your buyers’ next purchase.

Ask the Beef Production Consultants at All American Co-op Progressive Ag Center to learn more about how Purina creep feeds, minerals and Stress Care products can help your cattle meet their full potential and add more value to your cattle today.

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