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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

What Do Feeders Want?
Kansan Sees Value in Cattle with a Story

JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — Jerry Bohn has seen big differences in the money grid-priced cattle fetch — up to $300 and even $400 per head among cattle of very similar genetic background. The Pratt, Kan., cattle feeder says the difference usually can be explained by the fact that some cattle have a story — a herd history of past performance. For others, pieces are missing or there is no story at all. Speaking at the Applied Reproductive Strategies for Beef Cattle (ARSBC) conference, in Joplin, Mo, Bohn advised sellers of calves and feeder cattle to “build a book” on their cattle, adding the pages that represent added value.

Jerry BohnPratt, Kan., feeder Jerry Bohn advised sellers of calves and feeder cattle to “build a book” on their cattle, adding the pages that represent added value.

“Their health history is the first page. BRD (bovine respiratory disease) may be the biggest (health) challenge a cattle feeder faces. Knowing cattle were vaccinated and how they were vaccinated adds value,” stated Bohn, noting how the value varies with the type of health program. From his perspective, a single vaccination makes calves worth a little more than cattle receiving none. But calves receiving booster shots are worth still more. Even more value is added when calves are weaned and receive two rounds of vaccinations prior to sale.

“I love to buy unimplanted calves. Then we can choose implants to use without wondering what they’ve had before,” added Bohn. “A producer will get additional gain by using implants, but tell us what you used and when.”

Other pages added to the book should cover nutrition. Bohn likes to know that producers have a mineral supplementation program, including micro-ingredients.

Calves also represent more value if they are trained to eat out of a bunk and know what a water tank is. Other value-added factors include information on genetics and age- and source-verification. Data on past performance of calves produced by the herd can also be valuable.

“Retained ownership is the best way to learn about your cattle, and it assures you of data feedback. Vertical coordination or marketing alliance programs can aid with that too,” stated Bohn, adding that producers must then use the information to guide genetic selection and improve marketing. “You don’t have to be a big guy to better merchandize cattle.”

Bohn spoke during Wednesday's ARSBC session focused on managing high-quality cattle in the feedyard and accessing marketing grids. Visit the Newsroom at to view the proceedings paper submitted by Bohn to accompany his presentation. Audio of the presentation will be available soon.

Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and Coverage includes summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or redistributed without the express permission of API, publisher of the Angus Journal, Angus Beef Bulletin, Angus e-List and Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.