Costs Higher For 'Natural' Cattle

US - Cattle feeders should weigh costs as well as possible premiums when deciding whether to raise "natural" cattle that could command a higher price.
calendar icon 8 February 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
South Dakota State University Extension Beef Feedlot Specialist Erik Loe says cattle raised the conventional way put on beef faster.

"When cattle feeders are going to consider managing their cattle for natural programs, they have to consider what they're going to get for cattle performance," Loe said. "There will be a lowered rate of gain and a decrease in feed conversions."

Loe says that's because cattle being raised on natural programs can't be given implants, ionophores, or antibiotics.

"Those things-implants, ionophores, antibiotics-can be used by cattle feeders to improve cattle performance. So when they are not used, there will be a 10 to 15 percent decrease in feed conversions. What that equates to for premiums needed would be $90 to $100 per head when selling fat cattle in a natural program."

To put it another way, Loe said premiums must offset an additional 10 to 15 cents per head per day increase in the feed cost of gain when cattle producers do not use implants, ionophores, or antibiotics.

"Those are the aspects that a person really has to look at when considering what they're going to need to change in their system to accommodate raising cattle for natural programs."

Source: Marshall County Journal
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