Low-Risk Calves add to your bottom line

Jul 18, 2022

We are getting into that time of the year when we should start focusing on marketing plans for this year’s calf crop. Most of the calves in this area will end up at the sale barn, where the producer wants the buyers to bid a good price for their calves. How we handle our calves up to that time can have an effect on how the buyers bid. You get one chance for a good first impression. When your calves walk into that sale ring, the buyers first thought is “are these calves high risk?” High risk calves are more likely to be affected by disease and environment which leads to more sickness and death. High risk calves have different management needs, including nutrition, drugs, labor, and cost. In the end they are less likely to perform to their potential.

To market low-risk cattle, our calves need to be prepared for the transitions from home to the sale barn and on to the feed yard. This preparation starts now in the pasture. Nutrition is the foundation for immune system health. Limited protein, energy, or trace minerals can have an effect on how a calf responds to vaccines. For that reason, it is important to make sure they are receiving adequate nutrition through good grass, supplements, or creep feed. We also need to make sure they have access to mineral. Mineral is just as important for calves as it is for cows, so make sure they can access the feeder. The next step is vaccinations. Calves should be given all the proper shots in a timely fashion. Any castration or dehorning needs to be done and healed up before weaning. We need to be working closely with our veterinarians to implement programs that fit our operations. A close working relationship with the veterinarian can have a huge impact on cattle health.

All this preparation makes for calves that look the part and make that good first impression in the sale ring. This gives buyers confidence that our calves have had good nutrition, are immunized, and their immune system is functional. These are the type of calves that can go on to the next phase of production with very few problems. Buyers are willing to bid higher for those type cattle when they have confidence. SFG has a full line up of creep feed, supplements, and mineral to keep your nutrition on target. Let us help you produce low-risk calves. Contact SFG to help with the nutritional and mineral needs for your herd.