Value-Added Premiums $50 Per Head, Data Show

by Greg Henderson

The data analysis on vaccinated and weaned calves sold by Superior Livestock Auction (SLA) is an ongoing research project under the direction of Ken Odde, professor and former head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Kansas State University. To date, the project has collected data on over 25 million head of cattle.

Specifically, the analysis evaluated the sale price of calves from seven separate value-added health programs identified by SLA. Since the program analysis began more than a quarter-century ago, Odde said producers have responded to market signals by offering more weaned and vaccinated calves at sale time.

“Previous analyses compared prices to calves without any vaccinations or weaning,” Odde said. “Now, we hardly see any of those calves in the sales, so our base for comparing prices is now VAC 24 (calves vaccinated at branding and sold off the cow).”

VAC 24 calves sold during the summer of 2020 received an average sale price of $147.69 per cwt., or $8.94 per cwt. less than VAC 45 calves, and $9.88 per cwt. less than VAC 60 calves. The average weight of the calves in the analysis was 580 pounds, which delivered a $51.85 per head premium for the VAC 45 calves and a $57.30 per head premium for the VAC 60 calves.

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