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Virginia Retained Ownership Program - Fall 2006

Livestock Update, August 2006

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech

Over the past thirteen years, the Virginia Retained Ownership Program has proven to provide a practical mechanism for cow-calf producers to receive post-weaning growth, carcass, and health information on their cattle. Again in 2006-07, the program will be conducted in cooperation with Tri-County Futurity in southwest Iowa. The Tri-County Futurity consists of several modest size feedyards which provide standardized management and record-keeping for retained ownership cattle, with supervision and coordination of efforts provided through Extension personnel. The Virginia Retained Ownership Program has had a strong working relationship with the group in Iowa over the past five years.

The following table summarizes the performance and financial aspects of the steers and heifers recently fed.

  Sept. steers  Dec. steers Dec. heifers Jan. steers
Ship date 9/23/05 12/2/05 12/2/05 1/06
No. head 139 230 184 72
IA delivery wt., lb. 736 653 662 665
ADG, lb./day 3.09 3.76 3.41 3.79
Feed:gain 7.81 5.70 6.44 6.22
Harvest dates 2/14/06
Carcass price, $/cwt. 140.11 130.81 133.31 133.15
Cost of gain, $/cwt. 51.37 42.26 51.82 44.62
Retained Ownership
Profit/loss, $/hd.
-15.75 -54.15 -49.58 -5.52
Net return to the cow, $/hd. 731 685 627 720

The above data provides evidence of the tough times experienced by the feeding sector last fall and this spring.  Departing Virginia, these retained ownership cattle had very high values relative to realized returns as fed cattle.  Despite this, per head returns to the cow, which reflects total dollars generated which are available to offset production costs (calculated as value of the calf as a feeder, plus or minus added value through retained ownership), were at levels to support profitability for the cow-calf producer.  It should be noted 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.  Several producer consignment groups added significant value through retained ownership.

The next shipment of the Virginia ROP is tentatively scheduled for September 15.  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 will be scheduled for late fall (typically spring-born calves).

For more information on the Virginia Retained Ownership Program contact Scott Greiner at 540-231-9159 or email .


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