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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
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Fall 2005 Virginia Retained Ownership Program

Livestock Update, August 2005

Dr. Scott P. Greiner Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

Plans are in place for our 12th year of the Virginia Retained Ownership Program. Over the years, the program has proven to provide a practical mechanism for cow-calf producers to receive post-weaning growth, carcass, and health information of their cattle. Again this year, we will work in cooperation with Tri-County Futurity in southwest Iowa. We have had a very favorable relationship with the group in Iowa, and this will mark our fourth year of cooperation with TCSCF. The following table summarizes the performance and financial aspects of the steers and heifers recently fed.

  Sept. steers Dec. steers (heavy) Dec. steers (light) Dec. heifers
Ship date 9/24/04 12/3/04 12/3/04 12/3/04
No. head 94 100 75 107
IA delivery wt., lb. 666 744 616 627
ADG, lb./day 3.21 3.66 3.70 3.30
Feed:gain 6.25 6.94 6.15 6.20
Harvest dates 3/2/05 4/5/05 4/19/05 5/10/05 4/26/05 6/7/05 4/19/05 5/24/05
Carcass price, $/cwt. 142.86 148.67 144.78 144.28
Cost of gain, $/cwt. 44.98 44.19 40.05 45.12
Retained Ownership Profit/loss, $/hd. 49.22 141.39 109.79 92.81
Net return to the cow, $/hd 763 870 806 693

Each of these groups of cattle added value on average through retained ownership, even with the high value of these calves as feeders when they departed Virginia. Per head returns to the cow reflects total dollars generated which are available to offset production costs. Net return to the cow takes into account the value of the calf as a feeder, plus or minus added value through retained ownership. Keep in mind that the above table represents the average of each pen of cattle, including the deads and realizers. Within each group, tremendous variation existed for all traits.

The group in Iowa is projecting this fall and winter to be favorable in terms of feed costs, with feed costing approximately $100 per ton. This would correspond with total costs of gain in the high $40's. Corn price is projected at $2.00.

The next shipment of the Virginia ROP is tentatively scheduled for September 23. Consignors can send as few as five head of steers or heifers, and as many as a tractor-trailer load. This September shipment has historically included fall-born calves. Another shipment is tentatively scheduled for December 2 (typically spring-born calves). We also have the flexibility to send cattle at other times as interest dictates.

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