COVID-19 Even Affected Steer Feedout

  • Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

Top profit steer, an Angus-Simmental entered by Ronnie Veith from PurdyThe top profit steer was an Angus-Simmental entered by Ronnie Veith, Purdy. He made $219.76 during the finishing phase and was the top gainer at 4.55 lbs. per day. His carcass graded Choice Plus with a 2.84 Yield Grade qualifying him for CAB. His Angus sire was JDD Top Hand 10E.

COVID-19 is blamed for almost anything that occurred since mid-March and you can add to that list the Missouri Steer Feedout results. Some of those results probably were good for the owners of the steers while some had bad results occur.

The results of the retained ownership, educational program were revealed August 4 at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon. The feedout program began in early November when 127 head of 2019-born steers were processed at Joplin Regional Stockyards and at the Paris Veterinary Clinic. The calves were weighed, tagged and evaluated by USDA personnel for feeder grade, body condition and a price was placed on them. The latter item is used to establish a value entering the finishing phase at a feedlot in Iowa.

In addition to the above at JRS a panel discussed each group of 5 steers or more. Their charge was to be very honest about the strengths and problems each group faces in the feeder cattle marketing world. The evaluators were Jodie Pitcock, USDA at St. Joseph, Jackie Moore, JRS, Carthage and Chip Kemp, American Simmental Association. Nine groups were processed at JRS and 5 were sent from Paris.

Results, including rankings among the 14 gives participants an idea how their steers compared to other Missouri cattle. As mentioned above COVID-19 did influence the outcome. Normally, the steers are slaughtered in mid-April and May. Due to packing plant labor conditions, our first kill group went on June 17. Some of those steers weighed between 1450 and 1700 lbs. In addition, the buyer Greater Omaha was different than traditionally used and they paid a flat price regardless of carcass merit.

The second kill group sold on July 7 to Tyson’s on a grade and yield scale which gives a more typical comparison to previous feedouts. Once again, there were some heavy steers in the July steers. Feed conversion likely was affected on some of the heavier steers but on-average the rate was comparable to the conversion one year ago.

The biggest change in carcass merit showed up on the percentage of steers grading Prime- or better. Thirty-five head or 29% made that grade. Eighty-seven percent made low-Choice, or better which was a record. Unfortunately, the added days on-feed pushed the average fat cover to 0.61 inch. Normally, they average between 0.45 and 0.50 inch of fat. Some steers ran over one inch of fat which pushed them into a 5 Yield Grade carcass.

The Feedout dates back to 1981 and is not designed as a competition but as a program to let participants use the data to adjust their breeding and management efforts. It also lets stocker and feeder buyers know how good our cattle are. This information can be used by producers to differentiate their feeders from average steers.

The feedout did have only one group of 9 steers that showed a profit. They were entered by Vandalfsen Farms, Reeds. They were A.I. sired by a Polled Hereford named Torque. Their dams were dairy crosses with Jersey and Holstein genetics. The calves were never on a cow, but were hand-raised and weaned around April 1. They only weighed 426 lbs. when delivered in November and they were killed at 17 months of age weighing 1156 lbs.

In November the evaluators were uncertain how to establish a price on the dairy crosses. They ended up setting them in like straight dairy steers would have sold for, $1 per pound. That gave them an advantage in the end as their profit was $61.63 for the 9 steers per head. Overall, the 122 head had an average loss of $159.95 per head. A big penalty always results from death losses and 5 steers, 3.9%, died during the feedout.

Even though only one group of steers showed a profit, overall 29 head showed a profit with the top-profit per head of $219.76 on a steer entered by Ronnie Veith, Purdy. The steer was the top gainer overall at 4.55 lbs. per day. His carcass graded Choice plus with a Yield Grade of 2.8.

The top gaining group were 5 Hereford-sired steers out of Brangus cows. The owner was Duane Walker, Neosho and their daily gain was 3.68 lbs. One performance measure calculated by the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity is the dollar retail value per days of age. This measure looks at the overall animal performance going back to birth. In short, $RV/DOA looks at pre-weaning and post-weaning gain, carcass merit, feed conversion and expenses for health at the feedlot. The top $RV/DOA group was entered by Cavlin Hudson, Middletown. They were Angus-sired and the group even lost one steer. The $RV/DOA is calculated only on steers hanging a carcass on the rail.

Recognition for carcass merit goes to Carrier Muddy Creek Angus, Lockwood as 10 of their 12 steers graded low Prime and better with a Yield Grade of 3.55. The best Yield Grade cattle were entered by Keuper Farms, LLC, Ionia with an average of 2.29.

A complete power point presentation may be viewed by going to the following link:

The next steer feedout will begin November 3. Entry will be no later than October 10. Contact your Extension livestock field specialist for details.

Writer: Eldon Cole

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