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General Session I

Adding Value to a Retained-Ownership/
End Product Marketing System

by Barb Baylor Anderson for Angus Productions Inc.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (June 29, 2010) — Ten Missouri cow-calf producers decided a decade ago they wanted to learn more about how to add value to their cattle by finding out how their calves performed beyond the farmgate. Through a handshake agreement, the producers created NEMO Premier Beef Marketers. Today, they report, returns from retained ownership are greater than they would be selling calves at the sale barn.

Imogene LatimerImogene Latimer“We wondered whether retained ownership was a smart option,” says Imogene Latimer, veterinarian and beef producer, who helped organize the group with the help of the University of Missouri Extension Beef Team. “We’ve only lost money per head in one year out of 11 on both steers and heifers. Over the years, our value-added profit per head has averaged $37.65.”

Producers in the group use similar genetics and vaccination schedules and are enrolled in age- and source-verification programs. On commingling day, calves are weighed, sorted, frame-scored and tagged. The group has marketed more than 5,000 cattle, averaging more than 400 head per year.

NEMO Premier Beef Marketers has worked with a number of feedlots over the last few years, but today sends all of its cattle to one lot. They generally maintain about 50% retained ownership of the calves, finance feed through the lot and may or may not handle their own risk management any given year. They receive data that is incorporated into future herd decisions.

For example, the Latimers have a herd of about 200 head of commercial cows that from 2000-2004 yielded 60%-65% Choice calves. Natural sires were selected to improve the data. In 2006, the Latimers decided to also try timed artificial insemination (AI) on 90 head. The AI worked so well that in 2007, they artificially bred more cows. By 2008, the Choice percentage had climbed to 79.7¢, and was more than 80% Choice in 2009. So far in 2010, the percentage is 84.

“We have higher percent Choice and higher carcass weights for higher gross carcass values,” she says. “The cattle must perform well in all areas for higher profit potential.”

Latimer cites as possible risks the health of the animals, the potential for high cost of gain, financial penalties with non-conforming carcasses, inopportune marketing windows and working with producers who may have unrealistic expectations of the program. But she adds that the benefits far outweigh any concerns, as they gather valuable data on the cattle they raise and improve profitability, as well as gain experience with other segments of the beef industry.

Latimer spoke as part of a producer panel during the first general session of the 2010 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) symposium. Themed "Gateway to Profit," the 42nd annual research symposium and annual meeting was hosted by BIF June 28-July 1 in Columbia, Mo.

Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API). Through an agreement with the Beef Improvement Federation, we are encouraging reprinting of the articles to those who will adhere to the reprint guidelines available on this site. Please review those guidelines or contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter.

API's coverage of the event is made possible through collaboration with BIF and sponsorship by BioZyme Inc. through its significant gift to the Angus Foundation. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here.

Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus e-List, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the API Virtual Library.

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