The Oklahoma Quality Beef Network (OQBN) was established to aid producers in taking advantage of “value added” marketing opportunities in Oklahoma. To be able to accomplish this mission a clear line of communication is needed to all segments of the beef industry. OQBN is that communication system and it also is an educational tool where all cattle producers can learn what affects their price at marketing and how their cattle need to perform from pasture to plate.
One clear message cattle buyers have been sending for many, many years is that health of cattle when leaving the ranch affects the industry as a whole. In fact, in 2001 it is estimated that Bovine Respiratory Disease cost the industry 800-900 million dollars annually. To help combat that huge loss, OQBN started a Vac-45 program for cattle that have been weaned and well managed for 45 days or longer, (visit http://www.oqbn.okstate.edu/ for specific requirements). These calves are then third party verified on the ranch before shipment.
In 2016 OQBN enrolled over 11,000 calves selling both at auction and private treaty, increasing enrollments by 18% over 2015. Several livestock markets hosted OQBN verified sales selling over 8,000 head at those verified sales across Oklahoma. Records were recorded on 19,456 calves being sold at auction including the 8,000 OQBN verified calves. The premium for 2016 was $10.20 per hundredweight for all OQBN calves as compared to non-preconditioned cattle. Figure 1 illustrates overall premiums since 2009.
Premiums are only a small fraction of why a producer should precondition. The health and well-being of cattle should be and is the upmost importance to producers. But during preconditioning this fall the value of gain and an increase in the market helped add more value than many producers realize. The value of gain from the first of October to mid-November was over $1.00 per pound and in some instances reached $1.36 per pound at the top end. If we remove the cost of precondition over that 45 days, we had a net profit of almost $67.00 a calf if those calves gained 2 pounds a day.
To see all the sales results for this fall and for additional information or questions about the Oklahoma Quality Beef Network, contact your local OSU Extension Office or Gant Mourer, OQBN Coordinator at 405-744-6060 or at email@example.com. More information may also be found at www.oqbn.okstate.edu.
Figure 1. Premiums of OQBN Verified Calves Compared to Calves Marketed with No Preconditioning.