Discovering Value in North Dakota Calves; The Dakota Feeder
Calf Show Feedout Project V

Progress Report Year 2005-2006

Karl Hoppe


Cow calf producers in North Dakota are questioning the value of calves they produce by measuring feedlot performance and carcass characteristics.  The Dakota Feeder Calf Show Feedout project was developed to discover the finished value of spring-born beef steer calves, provide comparisons between herds and benchmark feeding performance.   Cattle consigned to the feedout project averaged 607.6 lbs. upon delivery to the Carrington Research Extension Center Livestock Unit on October 15, 2005.  After an average 202-day feeding period with no death loss, cattle averaged 1249.4 lbs. (at plant, shrunk weight).  Average daily feed intake per head, as fed, was 28.3 lbs. while pounds of feed required per pound of gain were 8.9.  Diet dry matter was 72.8%.  The pen-of-three calves averaged 388 days of age at harvest.   Overall pen average daily gain was 3.20 lbs.  Feed cost was $0.280 per pound and total cost of gain without interest was $0.462.  The cattle were marketed over a 21-day period and marbling scores averaged 435.1 (low choice).  Profit before interest expense ranged from $54.77 per head for pen-of-three cattle with superior growth and carcass traits to a $-186.42 per head for poorer performance.


Calf value is enhanced with superior carcasses.  Exceptional average daily gains, weight per day of age, and marbling score were present in calves produced from North Dakota beef herds. Feedout projects provide a source of information for cattle producers to learn about genetics and discover cattle value.


Correlation between profit and various production measures.


                                                                                                Correlation coefficient

Profit and Average Birth Date                                                   0.1076

Profit and Average Harvest Weight                                                       0.4395

Profit and Average Daily Gain,                                                  0.5548

Profit and Weight per Day of Age                                                         0.3224

Profit and Marbling Score                                                                     0.5398

Profit and Percent Retail Product Value divided by day of age   0.5268


Turtle Lake feedout steers, December 2005.