Beef cow-calf owners who would like to receive feedlot and carcass data on steer calves born in the spring of 2008 can enter Missouri Steer Feedout program now.

The entry deadline is October 10 according to Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

Brochures with complete entry details are available by contacting the nearest local Extension center.

Cole notes that the feedout program may not be for everyone, especially considering the high feed costs the cattle will likely experience during the 160 to 190 day finishing phase.

“However, if you’ve never had calves evaluated, post-weaning and you plan to stay in the feeder calf business, this program offers a fairly low risk opportunity to see if your calves deserve a premium,” said Cole.

Marketing opportunities exist now where carcass information from herd mates can be reported and Cole says that may help the sale price of a producer’s feeder cattle.

“If a producer has no idea how their cattle gain and grade they have no chance of picking up that market advantage,” said Cole.

Steers entered in the feedout should have known birth dates, be weaned at least 28, preferably 45 days, and given a modified live virus vaccine prior to weaning then boostered appropriately.

The desired weight at delivery in early November is between 500 and 800 pounds. The pickup point in southwest Missouri will be at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage.

The steers will be sent to a feedlot in southwest Iowa that cooperates with the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity that’s under supervision of Iowa State. Individual carcass evaluation will be made so participants can determine if their breeding program is producing the type of animal the industry is looking for.

According to Cole, on average it is best if 70 percent or more of the cattle grade low Choice or higher, have 70 percent that are yield grades 1 and 2 and have no “out” cattle. The outs are either overweight, underweight, too fat, poorly marbled or have a dark color to the beef. The latter condition is referred to as being a dark cutter.

During the last completed feedout Cole said the Missouri steers didn’t fare so well with a 49-64-6 breakdown on the carcasses. The national industry average, according to USDA is 57-52-22.

“That failure to reach 70-70-0 costs the nation’s beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The area our cattle need the most help on is marbling or intramuscular fat. That’s an important trait so selecting the proper genetics should be considered if a herd is weak in that area,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, 417-466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, 417-345-7551; and Dona Funk in Cedar County, 417-276-3313.

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