Maximize Your Cattle Value

Farmers everywhere are trying to increase the value of their livestock. Bill Halfman, extension beef outreach specialist says the most important way to add value is simple: raise good-quality animals. His suggestions for being able to do this are as follows:

1.Crafting a Balanced Ration:

Producers should prioritize crafting a well-balanced ration that suits the specific needs of their cattle. This involves considering factors such as cattle type, intended market, and nutritional requirements. A good finishing ration should contain sufficient energy to promote growth while also incorporating enough roughage to minimize the risk of digestive disorders.

2. Consideration of Cattle Type:

Cattle type plays a significant role in feeding strategies. For instance, large-frame cattle should not be overgrown before being put on feed, while dairy cattle may benefit from specialized feeding programs such as calf-fed programs. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the end goal and to tailor feeding programs accordingly, ensuring cattle reach the desired weight range and finish.

3. Consistency is Key:

He says, “Maintaining consistency in feed quality and management is paramount. Producers should ensure that rations are mixed consistently and manage bunk space effectively to encourage cattle to clean up their feed.”

Consistency helps in achieving desired results and contributes to producing a desirable end product for the market.

4. Transitioning Rations:

When transitioning cattle to different rations, it’s crucial to proceed slowly and methodically to allow for microbial adaptation. Abrupt changes can lead to disruptions in feed intake and potential health issues. Producers should consider the costs and benefits of incorporating specific ingredients or supplements into their rations to improve cattle value without compromising profitability.

5. Environmental Considerations:

Environmental factors such as pasture management and shelter significantly impact cattle health and productivity. Implementing rotational grazing, managing pasture quality, and providing adequate shelter are essential practices. Adequate bunk space is crucial, especially during feed delivery, to ensure all cattle have access to feed simultaneously, promoting healthy feeding behaviors.

6. Market Awareness:

Producers should stay informed about market trends and buyer preferences. Attending cattle sales and observing which traits command higher prices can provide valuable insights for optimizing cattle value. Understanding market dynamics allows producers to make informed decisions about breeding, feeding, and management practices.

7. Continuous Learning and Adaptation:

Lastly, continuous learning and adaptation are essential for success in the cattle industry. Producers should remain open to new strategies and technologies that can enhance efficiency and profitability.