James E. Devillier, Page, Timothy G., Claesgens, Mark A. | 7/29/2005 9:22:06 PM
The LSU AgCenter is inviting nominations for two programs of interest to cattle producers - the Louisiana Calf-to-Carcass program and the Louisiana Forage-Based Bull Performance testing program.
The Louisiana Calf-to-Carcass program is very useful in making management decisions on breeding, genetics, nutrition, herd health and marketing, according to LSU AgCenter animal science professor Dr. Tim Page. The nomination deadline is August 17.
The Louisiana Forage-Based Bull Performance test is for purebred cattle producers to evaluate their bulls on forages rather than concentrate diets. Deadline for entering bulls is August 31.
The Louisiana Calf-to-Carcass program, which began in 1992, is entering its 2005-06 feed-out year. More than 235 steers were consigned to the 2004-05 program. These cattle were fed at the Henry C. Hitch Feedlot in Guymon, Okla. The last pen of steers on feed sold in June.
Of the four pens of cattle fed, one pen sold for $92/100 pounds, two pens sold for $89/100 pounds and one pen sold for $84/100 pounds. All the cattle gained over 3 pounds per day in the feedlot, and their average finishing weight was 1,250-1,300 pounds.
"Exposure to preconditioning and retaining ownership of one’s calves, plus the educational tour in the spring, makes the Louisiana Calf-to-Carcass program an outstanding educational program for Louisiana’s cow/calf producers," Page said, adding, "Since implementing preconditioning of all steers and heifers going to the feedlot, there has been a significant reduction in death loss."
The program accepts nominations for heifers and steers. After nominations are in, it will be determined if there are enough heifers to make a pen. The nomination fee is $35/head with a minimum of three steers or heifers per producer weighing at least 500 pounds. Cattle arrive at the preconditioning sites on September 8, 2005.
This year, the preconditioning sites are McNeese State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The 40-45 day preconditioning plan follows the Southeast Pride Health Certification program, and, when completed, the cattle will meet the requirements for the Blue Tag Level. Producers have the option of preconditioning their cattle at home, but they must adhere to the same preconditioning plan.
The preconditioning plan costs $55 to $60 per head. The reason this fee is so low is that nearly all vaccines and pharmaceuticals are donated by Fort Dodge Animal Health, Elanco and Pfizer. Also, Cargill/Nutrena provides the medicated preconditioning feed for the program at wholesale costs. Producers preconditioning at home will not receive the benefit of these donations and wholesale costs.
At the end of the preconditioning program, cattle will be shipped to Henry C. Hitch Feedlot in Guymon, Okla. Producers are provided regular updates on cattle performance and health during the feeding period. All producers are invited to participate in the Calf to Carcass Trip in April 2006. They will be able to see Hitch Feedlot, view their cattle and visit other beef cattle operations, markets and packers along the way.
The method of selling the cattle, cash value or value-based grid sale, will be determined when the cattle are sold by Dave Foster with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Page with the LSU AgCenter and personnel with Hitch Feedlot. The historical data from the program and the marketing conditions at the time of the first sale will be used to obtain what is believed to be the best price for the cattle consigned to the program. Along with their checks for the cattle sale, producers will also receive performance and carcass data on the cattle.
The Louisiana Forage-Based Bull Performance testing program begins its eighth annual test in October and concludes in May 2006. It is conducted in cooperation with Dixon Correctional Institute, Prison Enterprises, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Elanco and Merial Animal Health.
The testing program involves grazing purebred beef bulls on ryegrass for a period of 150 to 180 days. Growth rate and other traits are measured on each bull, and data are provided to producers. Bulls are monitored on a day-to-day basis by staff from Dixon Correctional Institute and Prison Enterprises. Health care is supported by Merial, Elanco, Fort Dodge Animal Health and beef and dairy consulting companies.
Interested participants should contact their county agent for rules and nomination forms. The cost of the test is $280 per bull with a $30 fee per bull accompanying the nomination form and a $115 deposit per bull upon delivery of the bulls in early November. Additional charges are made for a breeding soundness evaluation and any extraordinary veterinary expenses.
For bull test rules, regulations and nomination forms, contact your local county agent or East Feliciana county agent James E. Devillier at 225-683-3101 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information also is available from Page at 225-578-7906 or email@example.com.