A survey of more than 150 cow/calf producers across the country revealed that producers using age and source verification systems earned an average of $10 more per hundredweight than generic calves. Age and source verification certifies the accuracy and integrity of animal information and helps assure customers they’re receiving a consistent product supported by a documented quality management system.
The survey, sponsored by Global Animal Management, was conducted during January 2008 and asked producers about prices earned on calves sold during 2007. Survey participants represented herd sizes ranging from less than 50 to more than 5,000. More than 75 percent of participants sold their calves through a sale barn, about 6 percent sold calves direct to the feedlot, and just 2 percent of respondents sold direct to the packer.
Producers like Matt Chisum from Stinnett, Texas, said age and source verification provided substantial value with little additional work. The certificate earned Chisum an extra $4 to $5 per hundredweight premium, and when combined with the VAC45 program he realized a $10 to $12 premium per hundred.
“I run Herefords and those calves tend to get a bit of a discount on the market,” Chisum said. “Both days I sold my calves this year, they topped the market. I’m convinced it’s that certificate that made a difference.”
“Clearly the results indicate there is a market for calves with an age and source process verified program certificate,” said Jim Heinle, president of Global Animal Management. “Interestingly, while certified calves earned an average of $10 more per hundredweight than their counterparts, most producers using a verification program don’t realize the extent of the value they’re receiving. In fact, 50 percent of Tri-Merit users thought they earned $3 or less per hundredweight.”
About 95 percent of Tri-Merit users surveyed said they believe age and source verification and health certification will be important to the sale and export of their cattle in the future. Further, three in four non-users also deem age and source important for the future sale of their cattle. However, only 11 percent of non-users suggested they were considering implementing an age and source verification system.
“A lot of producers think getting their operation approved as process verified for age and source is a long, difficult process,” said Rick Sibbel, technical services veterinarian for Schering-Plough Animal Health. “However, many producers are already recording the critical information needed for such certification. Recording birth dates of each calf born or the birth dates of the first and last calf, as well as individually identifying these animals, are the most important factors needed for certification, so it’s a lot easier than most producers realize.”
Tri-Merit offers the cattle industry a single-source solution to manage all their compliance and value-added animal information, whether it be certifying animal health processes, verifying an animal’s age and source through the Tri-Merit PVP, satisfying NAIS requirements or purchasing unique animal ID tags.
Source: Schering-Plough Animal Health news release