Steer feedout participants see profits

The nine cow-calf producers who chose to retain ownership on their 137 steer calves last June instead of cashing in on them at $1350 to $1450 per head were rewarded with an early Christmas present according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"The nine cattlemen who participated in the Missouri Steer Feedout recently received their closeout report and on average, they received an average of $234 profit per head during their stay at Gregory Feedlot in Iowa," said Cole.

Cole admits that most of the participants entered the feedout to learn more about the genetic makeup of their herds during their post-weaning phase all the way through the packing plant where valuable carcass data is collected.

"But, it is always nice to get a $200 per head bonus in the end plus the carcass data," said Cole.

This profit margin is typical of what the feeding phase has seen since last spring as the fed market has gone up, and feedlot costs have come down. The total cost of gain at the lot was near $78 per hundred weight (cwt). The carcass value per cwt was $263 which was much higher than projected in June. Actual carcass value on the 137 head varied from $238 to $282 per cwt after discounts and premiums were calculated.

Top Performers

The feedouts do not present awards to participants but if they did Steve Jones, Mt. Vernon would have taken most of them home. His twelve Simmental x Angus steers topped the daily gain average at 3.80 pounds per day. Close behind at 3.79 lbs. were five steers entered by Dennis Snodgrass, Polo. Angus and Maine-Anjou bulls sired his steers.

The Jones group yielded excellent carcasses with 75 percent grading low Choice or better and 75% were Yield Grades 1 and 2. When all the data was computed, their overall profit per head was $344. This figure set a new standard for profit. Previously the top was $262 in 2005.

Other top quality grades over 70 percent were in the following herds; Kunkel Farms, Neosho, J.W. Henson, Conway and Norman Garton, Nevada. Only the Henson herd had a Prime grading steer. That highly marbled carcass received a $21.92 per cwt premium.

Performance Details

The Missouri Steers were fed out as part of the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity in southwest Iowa. They do an outstanding job of evaluating the cattle's performance including feedlot gain, treatments and cost, temperament, carcass merit, retail value for days on feed (RVDOF) and days of age (RVDOA).

"The Jones steers ranked extremely well in the days of age category for retail value which indicates they have never had a bad day in their life," said Cole.

Steer #311 was the top at $6.025 per pound. His daily gain at the lot was 4.25 lbs., his carcass weight at 410 days of age was 947 lbs. His fat cover was 0.50 inch, ribeye area was 14.7 square inches, marbling score was Small 20, carcass quality grade was Choice minus.

"He and six other herd mates were sired by a commercial, home-raised son of the Simmental bull Gambler. Unfortunately, the bull suffered a rear hoof problem and was sold earlier this year," said Cole.

Fifteen percent of the steers had lung adhesions. The normal rate for the Tri-County program is 7 percent. Average daily gain is reduced by .35 to .50 lb. per day, for cattle exhibiting those adhesions. The 21 Missouri steers with adhesions did not suffer any significant gain loss.


The Missouri Steer Feedout is coordinated across the state by University of Missouri regional extension livestock specialists. Two shipments are made each year, one in early June for fall-born calves and another in November for calves born earlier that year.

This program helps cow-calf raisers analyze their herd's genetics and management. It is a low-risk option for owners who wish to learn if their herd is ready to commit to Missouri's Quality Beef by the numbers program.

For details on those efforts contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, or Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313.