Test for BVD-PI Calves; Put $14 in Your Pocket

The results are in and, for the second straight year, they’re conclusive—the people who buy your calves are willing to pay higher premiums if the cattle are negative for being persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea (BVD-PI). And data from more than 400,000 head marketed by Superior Livestock Auction proves it.

In fact, during the past two years, 88 lots of cattle sold through Superior Livestock Auction were identified as being BVD-PI-free by laboratory diagnostic testing. Sales data for these calves were compared to results from 6,175 other lots. In 2013, the 47 lots identified as being BVD-PI-free brought a $2.97/cwt. premium1 compared to non-BVD-PI-tested cattle. For a 600-lb. calf, this meant a $17.82 advantage. After subtracting the testing costs, producers netted at least $14 per head.

“Superior Livestock continues to lead the industry in clearly establishing added value discovery for health protocols and other programs that differentiate quality calves,” says Glenn Rogers, DVM, Superior Livestock Auction consultant. “This second consecutive year of substantial and increasing price premiums for BVD-PI-free calves demonstrates that buyers are clearly recognizing the added value from this practice.”

“This shows a year-on-year increase of $3.30 per 600-pound calf — real-world data that confirms buyers recognize the benefits of paying more for BVD-PI-free status cattle,"2 says Jeff Baxter, Senior Product Manager for Gold Standard Labs, which provides BVD-PI diagnostic services. “BVD-PI testing is all about adding value to the cattle being sold helping predict favorable health and performance. Buyers are willing to pay premiums for these BVD-PI-free documented cattle because they know the ROI benefit of paying more for these cattle will be realized in better health and performance.”

The process of receiving quick-turn test results is easy and starts by contacting your testing laboratory of choice. Most diagnostic labs provide sample-collection supplies. Gold Standard Labs provides an ear notcher and sample vials in trays for easy shipment.

It’s easy to collect a simple ear notch from each animal. Use the provided ear notcher to collect a small “V” sample  from an individual animal and drop sample in the provided vial. Producers should use a permanent marker to label vial with animal ID (both top and side of vial).

It’s important to ship samples immediately to your testing laboratory. Gold Standard Labs provides return shipping labels with special FedEx shipping rates.

Once the individually identified samples are received, Gold Standard Labs provides confidential, same-day results via email or fax.

For more information about the economic benefits of identifying BVD-PI-free calves, or to order BVD-PI sample collection materials, contact Gold Standard Labs at 800-808-3552 or [email protected].

1The effects of health and management programs on the sale price of beef calves marketed through eight Superior Livestock video auctions in 2013. Final Report, Superior Livestock.

2King, M.E. 2012. The effects of health and management programs on the sale price of beef calves marketed through six Superior Livestock video auctions in 2012. Final Report, Pfizer Inc.,
Gold Standard Labs