Document Age, Source and Genetics
By Troy Smith
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 5, 2016) — Plenty of factors can and do influence the price received for calves or feeder cattle. Weight and breed or breeds represented matter to bidders, as do lot size and body condition. How a given set of calves were managed, with regard to weaning and health, can influence buyer interest, and the choice of sale day may affect the price.
Some market influences are beyond the control of cattle sellers, but there are tools that help producers merchandise their cattle by differentiating them from the commodity mix. During the 2016 American Angus Association Convention, hosted in Indianapolis, Ind., Director of Commercial Programs Ginette Gottswiller explained one such tool offered by the Association. That is AngusSource®, a USDA process-verified program (PVP) designed to help commercial cattlemen add value and assist with marketing Angus-sired feeder calves and replacement heifers.
According to Gottswiller, AngusSource documents source and group age for calves sired by registered-Angus bulls. The American Angus Association provides marketing support for participating producers by providing weekly listings of enrolled calves to potential buyers. Participants may include information such as vaccination and other management history, plus scheduled sale dates.
Cattle representing added value can garner premium prices. Gottswiller cited data based on thousands of cattle sold through Superior Livestock video auctions showing that buyers paid premiums of up to $58 per head for steers, and $48.50 per head for heifers, during 2015. In 2016, steers and heifers brought premiums of $23.50 and $27.50, respectively.
“You’re not always going to hit a home run. You may not always get the highest premium, but AngusSource offers producers a real opportunity to receive extra dollars for their cattle,” said Gottswiller, citing average premiums of $3.67 per hundredweight (cwt.) in 2015 and $1.68 per cwt. in 2016, for calves enrolled in AngusSource.
“Superior’s data suggests AngusSource calves receive a higher premium than other age- and source-verification programs, because of the genetic component. Buyers know the calves are not just black-hided; they are sired by registered-Angus bulls,” stated Gottswiller.
“Another thing that influences the price received for cattle is the seller’s reputation,” Gottswiller added. “Feedback tells us that buyers believe producers participating in AngusSource do a better job.”
Gottswiller said producers wishing to enroll calves in AngusSource pay an enrollment fee of $50 per cattle group. Calves must be fitted with official AngusSource ear tags. The cost is $1.25 each for visual tags, $2.25 for radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, or $3.25 for both (one visual tag and one RFID tag for each calf).
Review Gottswiller’s PowerPoint presentation, and more information about AngusSource is available online at www.angus.org.
Gottswiller’s presentation was part of a series of half-hour workshops hosted Nov. 5-6 in the Angus booth within the trade show at the 2016 Angus Convention. For additional coverage of the Angus Convention, tune in to The Angus Report on RFD-TV the week of Nov. 21 and watch for coverage in the Angus Journal and the Angus Beef Bulletin. Summaries, speaker presentations, photos, videos and much more can be found online at www.angus.media.