Spring-born steer calves consigned to the Dakota Feeder Calf Show are fed to market weight at NDSU's Carrington Research Extension Center. (NDSU photo)The show and following feedout project give producers an easy way to see how retaining ownership in calves beyond the cow-calf phase could work for them.

Producers will have an opportunity to determine the value of their calves during the 19th annual Dakota Feeder Calf Show, which is set for Saturday, Oct. 21, in Turtle Lake, and the feedout project that follows the show.

Cattle will be accepted at the Turtle Lake weighing station before 10 a.m. on the day of the show and exhibited as groups of three or four head. The spring-born steer calves consigned to the show then will be fed to market weight at the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center’s feedlot.

The NDSU Extension Service is again joining the Dakota Feeder Calf Show to hold the show and feedout project to provide producers with an opportunity to experience retaining ownership of cattle beyond the cow-calf phase of production. Producers who consign their calves to the feedout program will receive performance and carcass data.

“While controlling cattle or feed prices is difficult, we can control the type of cattle we raise,” says Karl Hoppe, area Extension livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center. “That’s why knowing how well your cattle grow and what type of carcass they produce is important. The Dakota Feeder Calf Show feedout project gives cattle owners information on how their calves perform in the feed yard and on the calves’ carcass value.”

The show and feedout are an entry-level way of learning about these options with three or four calves instead of the entire herd. Cattle producers have used the feeding and carcass information to select bulls that will improve the feedlot value of their calves.

Dakota Feeder Calf Show veteran Darwin Chesrown of Turtle Lake has consigned calves to the show every year.

“I enjoy comparing weaned calves in October and the finished cattle in May,” he says. “There are outstanding differences between herds. Feeding them together makes easy comparison.”

During the 2016-17 feedout, the calves gained an average of 672 pounds in 213 days, with a total feeding cost (excluding interest) of 74.3 cents per pound of gain. The average sale weight was 1,335 pounds. The calves were fed with a market weight break-even point of $97.93 per hundredweight.

“It’s the variation among cattle that makes this project educational and a real eye-opener,” Hoppe says. “Last year was unique as to the profit. I would not expect that again.”

In the 2016-17 feedout, the spread in net return per head between the average of the top and bottom five herds was $224.85. The spread ($305.13) becomes more noticeable between the top and bottom herd. Weight gain per day of age was 3.52 pounds for the top-profiting herd and 3.34 for the bottom herd.

“Small differences in production have a huge impact on profit,” Hoppe says.

Feedout project staff will gather data on the rate of gain, feeding costs and other characteristics during the trial. After the calves are marketed, the staff will collect and provide information to the entrants on carcass weight, meat quality and value.

Producers will be assessed an entry fee of $20 per calf. Dakota Feeder Calf Show officials will present awards to producers at the end of the trial.

For more information or to preregister calves, contact Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or karl.hoppe@ndsu.edu, or Chesrown, Turtle Lake Farmers Union Oil, at 701-448-2356.

Cattle may be registered the day of the show, but the feedout is limited to 180 head.

Source: NDSU Extension