MT. VERNON, Mo. — If you've been following the cattle feeding business the last year, you know there's been a lot of red-ink closeouts. That point hit home in late December when the June-placed, Missouri Steer Feedout cattle ended up losing $225 per head.
That loss was the greatest for the feedouts dating back to 1981. The previous worst was in 2008 when the average loss was $154 per head according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
"We've had 19 Missouri feedouts in Iowa with the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity since 2001 and six have ended up in the red. This year's $225 loss set a record. Usually there's at least one owner's cattle that makes money, but not this year," said Cole.
Only one steer out of the 69 head that completed the carcass phase showed a profit after the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity folks analyzed all the data on an individual basis. That steer came from the 10-head entry of Weaver L. Forest, Verona and he had a profit of $30.87.
The profitable steer was born on Aug. 18, 2011 out of a Simmental cross cow and a Simbrah bull. The bull was Hollywood Oscar and the semen was frozen in 1985. The steer weighed 585 lbs., June 6 on arrival. He was graded by Missouri Department of Agriculture Market grader Rick Huffman as a Large frame, 260 Muscle. Rick placed a market price on him at $156 per hundred. He gained 3.73 lbs. per day and finished at 1313 lbs. on Dec. 17. He hung an 837 lb. carcass that graded low Choice. His Yield Grade was 2.57.
The 10 Forest steers showed the least loss, $152.64 in spite of only having one steer make the Choice grade. Close behind those steers were entries from Kunkel Farms, Neosho, Shiloh Land and Cattle Co., Mt. Vernon and Garton Angus Ranch, Nevada. Those four herds consistently enter steers in the program. Garton's steers were the only group that achieved the 70 percent Choice - 70 percent Yield Grade 1 & 2 - 0 outs target. His 7 steers were 86-71-0.
Shiloh had the distinction of having the steer with the top Retail Value per Day on Feed as well as the top Retail Value per Day of Age. He was sired by the Angus bull Werner War Party 2417 and out of a SimAngus cow.
Cole says the biggest puzzle was why only 36 percent of the steers graded Choice.
"As a rule, the Missouri fall-borns tend to quality grade lower than their late winter-early spring mates. The last seven fall-born steer groups averaged 52 percent Choice. The heat during the summer of 2012 could have been a factor or going back one year, the heat and feed supply of 2011 could have affected the potential marbling ability of the developing calf before it was born," said Cole.
The latter phenomenon is referred as fetal programing.
"Even though the profit was not here for this feedout, the cow-calf producers who entered learned valuable information on the genetic makeup of their herd. This will help them build a more productive herd in the future," said Cole.