Health problems at weaning become more costly when all economic losses are considered. They can add up to $201 per head.
Speaking at the 2005 Midwest Animal Science meeting recently, Dr. John Stika, vice president of Certified Angus Beef LLC, shared data summarized from the 2004 Iowa Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity, which involved lots of people from 12 states and 13,321 calves.
Using Cattle-Fax grid price averages for 2004, Stika says nearly $150 of the total cost was related to treatment ($48.43) and death loss ($100.04). Mortality for non-treated calves in the study was only .05%, but reached 9.95% on calves treated two or more times.
"In the treated calves that survive, we can't overlook the lost performance in the feedlot and reduced carcass quality," Stika says. "These losses add up to another $50."
When cattle were treated more than once, the feedlot average daily gain is reduced by nearly .25 pound per day. However, the bigger, hidden costs are in lost carcass quality, Stika says. Treated cattle had a 33.5% reduction in the share that graded Premium Choice and Prime, and a 322.7% increase in cattle grading Standard.
Iowa State University coordinator Darrell Busby says in today's calf and steer markets these costs are only magnified. When totaled, they result in a cost of $201 for each multiple-treated animal. For more information on these data, visit www.cabpartners.com.