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The Cattle Business -- ROP Update, February 1999

Livestock Update, February 1999

Bill R. McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Marketing, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

Virginia cattlemen shipped 603 steers and heifers to Kansas feedlots in the fall of 1998 as part of Virginia's Retained Ownership Program. Thirty-six consignors consigned 431 steers and 172 heifers in two shipments. The September 24th targeted fall calving producers. Calves consigned to the December 1 shipment were primarily from spring calving herds.

The steers are being fed at Decatur County Feed Yard near Oberlin, Kansas. Decatur County is owned and managed by Warren Weibert and has been a pioneer in sorting cattle at marketing and selling the cattle on a carcass grid as part of an alliance agreement with a packer. The feedlot makes use of ultrasound to insure that cattle are sold at a maximum of .42-.43 inch of back fat. The feedlot facilitates the marketing of small numbers of an owner's cattle to optimize timely marketing of individual cattle.

The Hitch II Feeders lot of Garden City is feeding the heifers. In recent years the three Hitch feedlots in Kansas and Oklahoma have targeted the cow/calf operation that wanted to retain ownership in their calves. Hitch II also works with several other states that conduct steer feed-out programs. The heifers will be marketed on a carcass based value grid.

The ROP program affords Virginia producers the opportunity to retain ownership in as few as five head of their cattle to learn more about custom feeding and the cattle they produce. Most Virginia cow/calf producers have little idea how the feeder cattle they raise perform post weaning or the type of carcasses they produce. Participants can use the information they learn from the ROP program to make adjustments in their breeding and health programs. As the industry moves toward a value based marketing system, the influence of alliances grows and more owners retain ownership of their calves; it will be increasingly important for cow/calf operators to understand the relative merit of their cattle.

The next shipment of cattle in the ROP program is scheduled for March 24. Take-up locations will depend upon consignments. Consignments are due by Friday, March 5 on the attached consignment form. For more information on the Virginia Retained Ownership contact Bill McKinnon at (540) 231-9160.

Go to Consignment Form.

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