Program designed to reward good genetic and management practices

Farm Forum

In an effort to better serve the commercial beef industry, International Genetic Solutions, and its partners, have developed a tool used to determine relative value of feeder calves based on genetic, environmental and management factors.

International Genetic Solutions is a cooperation of companies, such as breed associations, whose primary focus is the success of the commercial cattleman. The Feeder Profit Calculator will reward and incentivize better genetic and management practices.

What does the Feeder Profit Calculator do?

The calculator weighs all economic factors and traits on a set of feeder calves according to how much money each factor will make a cattle buyer. The calculator is basically a breakeven calculator on steroids. It determines the overall quality of a set of calves and differentiates them from other calves. The calculator is able to adjust the value of calves based on market conditions that affect the cost of gain, value of feedlot calves, the live price of calves, etc. The calculator weighs the genetic components of traits such as feed intake, growth, marbling, yield grade, and carcass weight as well as management and environmental factors such as the effects of vaccinations, weaning, deworming, initial weight, etc.

How is the Feeder Profit Calculator used?

The Feeder Profit Calculator is not a breeding index but instead rewards the use of good genetics and the use of breeding indexes as well as good management practices. The Feeder Profit Calculator is only meant to be used for marketing purposes.

The calculator can be used one of two ways. On large sales involving numerous producers or when used in a non-specific scenario, a “base” price will be established based on the current market information. Since the calculator is interactive, certain current industry conditions can be applied to the index to give potential buyers the most accurate value of the feeder calves available.

The other way the calculator will be used is to assist individual feedlots or cattle buyers using their specific scenario. A number of feedlots will use the calculator by inputting their specific production factors affecting cost of gain, live price, etc. With that information, these buyers will be able to determine how much a certain set of calves is worth to them specifically.

What units are the feeder calf values expressed in?

Cattle buyers, marketers and breed associations have been determining the value of groups of calves based on genetic and environmental merit for years. They have always expressed feeder calf value by the pound or per hundred-weight (cwt). The Feeder Profit Calculator will be no different and the value will be expressed per hundred-weight.

Is this an unbiased evaluation?

This evaluation is completely unbiased. The calculator is provided by a number of breed associations involved in International Genetic Solutions and is simply meant to reward and encourage good genetic and management practices. The calculator is available to all producers regardless of breed. Currently, the predictive ability of the index has the most value on Angus, Continental cross calves. We also have the ability to predict the value of high-percentage British calves. In the near future we will have the ability to determine the value of straight-British calves.

Who is to credit for the Feeder Profit Calculator’s development?

The development of the Feeder Profit Calculator would not have been possible without out such partners as Dr. David Lalman of Oklahoma State University, Dr. Mike MacNeil of the United States Department of Agriculture, CattleFax, and all of the partners of International Genetic Solutions and the Multi-Breed International Genetic Evaluation. Their time and effort has shown a true dedication to the improvement and success of the beef industry.

What is the cost of the Feeder Profit Calculator?

The Feeder Profit Calculator is currently free. It is provided as a service to the commercial industry by IGS and its partners in order to help improve practices in the industry. IGS does not intend to profit off the index but only wishes to see the genetic and management practices of the beef industry rise to new levels. In fact, IGS and its partners (universities, breeders, etc.) believe in this cause so much that they are willing to subsidize the program.

What information does a commercial cattleman need in order to use the calculator?

The producer will need to provide information on the sires of the calves and as much information as possible on the maternal grandsires of the calves. This information does not need to be on an individual animal basis but simply on a group basis. The producer will also need to provide information on management practices (or intended management practices).

When can a producer use the calculator?

Feeder calves can be run through the calculator long before sale time. As long as a producer has the necessary genetic information and has management decisions or intended management decisions established, the Feeder Profit Calculator can be used. If management factors change down the road, the values can be adjusted. The same holds true for changes in market conditions. Producers are encouraged to get genetic information in as early as possible.

How does a commercial producer run his feeder calves through the Feeder Profit Calculator?

Simply call up IGS representatives Will Townsend (406-548-5770) or Frank Padilla (308-350-3323) to get started.