What is Preconditioning Really Worth?


Portion of an article by John Maday, Editor, Bovine Veterinarian 

Given the value of cattle today, feedyard death loss is more costly than ever, and in spite of the preventative measures and treatments available, death loss percentages seem to have increased in recent years.

Speaking during the recent Cattle Industry Convention, Tom Brink, founder and owner of Top Dollar Angus, presented data showing the margin-busting losses associated with feedyard mortality and illustrating the value of effective preconditioning. Brink has vast experience in cattle feeding after years of helping manage the cattle-ownership branch of JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, the nation’s largest cattle-feeding company.

Looking at preconditioned calves, Brink cited multi-year data from showing that calves managed in certified VAC-45 programs, meaning a full course of preconditioning vaccines and at least a 45-day weaning period prior to shipping, experienced one-third the feedyard morbidity and one-half the mortality seen in unweaned calves. They also posted daily gains averaging 0.3 pounds higher than unweaned calves and better feed conversion.

Based on the previous data showing the likelihood of high mortality rates in non-preconditioned pens, and the financial losses, Brink calculates that VAC-45 calves actually are worth a premium of about $95 per head, due to the 30 percent reduction in morbidity and 50 percent reduction in mortality.

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Source:  Bovine Veterinarian



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