Profit Tips: Marketing - BVD-PI test can add $10 to calf value

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Research now shows cattle buyers are paying a premium for calves that test negative for being persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), according to an analysis of Superior Livestock Auction data. In this data analysis from June through September, 2012, 2,868 lots totaling 353,624 cattle were marketed. Of these, the 41 lots identified as BVD-PI-negative cattle brought a $2.42-per-hundredweight premium compared to non-BVD-PI-tested cattle. For a 600-pound calf, this meant a $14.52 advantage. After subtracting the testing costs, producers netted at least $10 per head. “Netting an additional $10 or more on a 600-pound calf that is BVD-PI-negative makes it well worth the investment in testing,” says Chris McClure, general manager of Gold Standard Labs. “Veterinarians and producers have long known BVD is the most costly contributor to respiratory disease in cattle, and that BVD-PI cattle — despite being few in number — are the primary source of this highly contagious disease.” Cattle buyers also understand the value BVD-PI-negative calves bring to their stocker operations and feedyards. Research shows that simply exposing pens of feedlot cattle to a BVD-PI animal makes them 43 percent more likely to need treatment for bovine respiratory disease and results in performance losses averaging -$88.26 per head.



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