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Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Adding Value to the Cattle Industry

JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — Adding value to calves starts at home, not at the feedlot. So “stay focused,” advised cattle feeder Mark Sebranek, Garden City, Kan., speaking Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) meeting in Joplin.

The manager of Irsik & Doll Feedyard said, “If calves don’t grade well, the owners often ask what we did to them,” but about half of their potential was set on the ranch or perhaps compromised in transit.

With the high price of feed, dry-matter conversion and genetics are at a premium, Mark Sebranek told ARSBC participants.

Some producers go to a lot of trouble in breeding and follow a good health program, yet send them across country on a poorly suited truck, Sebranek said, citing an example. “We had 220 head come in from 1,200 miles east, on trucks with exhaust blowing on the cattle in record-hot weather. That led to 16 dead cattle.”

It might seem like a good idea to ship long distances at night, but long-haul cattle coming in early in the day are at greatest risk. Sebranek suggested targeting late afternoon or evening arrival so cattle can rest overnight in their new home.

“Once the cattle are here, they are our responsibility, but the past can still have an effect,” he said. “The worst thing is when they have been here 30 or 40 days and we learn that, oh, sorry, but they did not get that shot after all, or some other detail was forgotten.”

With the high price of feed, dry-matter conversion and genetics are at a premium, Sebranek said. He described several components of adding value in grid-marketing finished cattle and noted several customers have averaged $80 to $100 per head above the live market.

“On a 650-pound steer, that is like $15 or $16 per hundredweight. If you can get that from your cattle,” he asked, “why sell them in the same way as the guy who buys his bull at the sale barn?

Does it ever make you wonder why the same individual comes back year after year to buy your cattle? He is not doing it to lose money.”

Sebranek 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 Sebranek 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.