The only one way to find out if your fall 2014 calf crop really is outstanding, regarding quality and feedlot performance, is to retain ownership all the way to the packing plant.
"If you have a small herd or don't wish to send, your entire calf crop to the feedlot, the Missouri Steer Feedout may be an option for you," said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
The Feedout is offered twice a year and the upcoming one is designed for steer calves born from July 1, 2014 to mid-October, 2014. Those steers will be gathered on June 2 at Joplin Regional Stockyards. Northern and central Missouri area locations will be determined after the May 10 entry deadline.
The Feedout steers are sent to a feedlot in southwest Iowa that is part of the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity. Steers should weigh at least 500 pounds and 600 pounds is preferred. The feedlots require the steers be weaned at least 30 days and 45 days is even better.
The initial cost is only $20 per head to enter. All costs incurred during the 5 to 6 months after they arrive will be removed from your proceeds following the sale of the steers.
The minimum entry number per consignor is five head. There is no maximum. However, the Tri-County group has made arrangements with their lender to advance $400 per head to consignors who have 10 head or more. This is available once the cattle have been processed in Iowa in early June.
The Missouri Steer Feedout is an educational program offered by University of Missouri Extension to cow-calf producers.
"The purpose of the feedout is to help determine if their genetic and management practices result in a beef product that is desired by the industry and is profitable to the farmer," said Cole.
Many cow-calf producers may feel they are raising an outstanding set of calves but when all the facts and figures are in they are just average or possibly even below average. According to Cole, this could be why the order buyers don't get very excited when your calves enter the ring.
"If you expect your cattle to receive a premium you must have credentials that show they have exceptional growth, feed conversion, health, carcass quality and yield grades," said Cole.
The entry deadline for the upcoming Feedout is May 10. Rules and regulations may be found on the website.
Information is also available from one of these MU Extension livestock specialists: Eldon Cole, Mt. Vernon 417-466-3102; Gene Schmitz, Warsaw 660-438-5012; Shawn Deering, Albany 660-726-5610; Daniel Mallory, New London 573-985-3911 or Zac Erwin, Kirksville 660-665-9866.
Source: University of Missouri Extension