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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

The Cattle Business - VQA Update

Livestock Update, March 1998

Bill R. McKinnon, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

The Virginia Quality Assured feeder cattle program got off to good start during the fall of 1997. The VQA program is a tag certification program conducted by the Virginia Cattlemen's Association that identifies feeder cattle with documented levels of health and genetic background. Approximately 2800 feeder cattle were marketed under the program at an average advantage of $4 per cwt over similar cattle sold in VCA sponsored in-barns sales.

The Virginia Quality Assured program has four levels of certification: Gold tag (health program assured), Gold tag with "W" (health program assured plus weaned), Purple tag (genetic and health program assured), and Purple tag with a "W" (genetic and health program assured plus weaned). A third party must certify that feeder cattle meet the requirements set forward under the specific tag guidelines.

The first cattle were sold under the VQA program in August of 1997. From August through December approximately 2800 VQA tagged cattle were marketed. Approximately 2/3 were sold via telo-auction field sales with the remainder being sold through in-barn graded sales.

VQA Feeder Cattle Sales
Graded Special Sales (LM1)

Aug - Dec '97
# of Head
$/Cwt. Price
5-wt. 764+ $5.61
6-wt. 820+ $4.03
7-wt. 215- $0.07
4-wt. 153+ $2.23
5-wt. 326+ $4.74 <
6-wt. 324+ $4.74

Weighted Average Price Advantage
Equals $4.08 per Cwt.
or $24.33 per Hd.

The Virginia Quality Assured committee has adopted a couple of changes for the program during 1998. In the past for cattle to qualify for the Purple tag level, the sire's yearling weight EPD had to be at least breed average for the British breeds and at least 0 for the Continental breeds. With some changes that have taken place within some of the breeds' EPD calculations, the minimum level for yearling weight EPD's for qualifying sires has been set at breed average for all breeds except Charolais, Gelbvieh, and Simmental. Since these three breeds inherently have greater potential for growth the minimum level for these breed was set at the top 70% of the breed. The breed minimum EPD levels are established based upon the breed average for bulls born in the same year as the bull in question. If at the time of purchase of the bull, the EPD levels for the birth year of the bull are not available; the most recently available year's levels are used. The minimum qualifying EPD's for each breed for bulls born in 1996 (the most recently universally available levels) are shown below.

VQA Purple Tag Growth EPD's
Breed Minimums for Bulls Born
During 1996 & 1997

(Most recently available data for '97 born bulls)


Red Angus36.723.4

If a yearling weight EPD is not available for a particular bull, then the bull's weaning weight EPD must meet minimum established levels.

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