Preconditioning beef calves prior to sale by cow-calf producers

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Preconditioning is designed to reduce incidence of bovine respiratory disease by increasing the immunity of the calf in preparation for the stress of weaning and shipping as calves move from their birth location through the stocker and feedlot phases of the beef production cycle. Results summarized from various studies indicate buyers paid more for preconditioned relative to nonpreconditioned calves (premium values ranged from $1.43 to $6.15/100 pounds for studies that assessed statistical significance of values); however, premiums paid for preconditioned calves do not necessarily result in increased net profit for cow-calf producers (net profit values ranged from −$89.92 to $53.71/calf). To realize the greatest monetary benefit from preconditioning, cow-calf producers should develop a reputation for integrity and market calves through special preconditioning sales.

Source: Thrift and Thrift. 2011. Prof. Anim. Sci. 27:73-82.

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