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Creating true genetic feeder calf value for a data-driven world

The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator provides unprecedented awareness of feeder calf value.

Creating true genetic feeder calf value for a data-driven world

The Problem

Imagine you had to find bulls for your operation but you didn’t know any breeders, nobody used EPDs, or even shared actual data.  It’s obvious to anyone interested in building quality cattle and maximizing profit this would be a major blow to the bottom line. Yet, this is how the feeder calf business exists today.  Frequently, when purchasing feeder calves, we can receive crucial information regarding environmental factors such as management and health protocols, weights, etc. However, when it comes to genetic awareness, color and polled status are often asked to substitute for true knowledge.  In rare cases, we may have some information on the seller’s bull battery.  Again, this is a powerful step forward.  It provides at least some insight into a portion of the genetics within the program.  However, in a data-driven world, this level of genetic awareness is woefully inadequate. 

The Solution

Attempts to determine relative value of feeder cattle have been made for years.  Certain issues have made progress in this area difficult and slow.  The foremost limitation has been accurately gauging the profit potential of the largest genetic group within the beef industry – the crossbred calf. 

The history of the International Genetics Solution (IGS) Feeder Profit Calculator has its roots in the American Simmental Association’s Terminal Index (TI).  The TI, developed over a decade ago, is an economic selection index designed for selecting terminal sires.  It was determined that evolving TI into a tool that could account for such things as current accounting of prices/costs, heterosis, and non-genetic factors (e.g., vaccination status), would improve the accuracy of predicting feeder calf values.  The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator is that tool and will provide more industry-wide clarity on the true worth of feeder cattle.

IGS provides the ideal multi-breed platform to generate unparalleled information on crossbred and composite feeder calves.  IGS, along with its member associations, the science team at Theta Solutions, and scientific contributions by Dr. Matt Spangler of the University of Nebraska and Dr. Michael MacNeil of Delta G Genetics, is ideally suited to provide the industry’s benchmark in gauging feeder calf value.  The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator empowers producers to market with confidence and allows feeders to maximize their purchasing dollars.

The Future

Capitalizing on novel technology usually requires a tremendous learning curve and a major outlay of dollars.  Not this time!  The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator (FPC) is unique.  The IGS science team, the IGS partner associations, and the world’s largest beef genetic evaluation database allows the FPC to be delivered at no cost to producers.  That is correct.  No Cost!  Beef producers looking for a transparent and straightforward assessment of their calves will harness the power of the FPC by simply making a call, sending an email, or visiting the IGS website.  IGS and/or breed association personnel will request information on herd health, basic management protocols, the bull battery used in previous years, and insight into the makeup of the cowherd.  The more thorough the inputs from the producer, the better the predictive ability of the FPC.  While individual sire identification isn’t required, identification of the bulls used in the operation is required.  Producers will be asked to share pre-conditioning and health program information.

The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator will be demonstrated at the 2017 NCBA Convention in Nashville and be made available to the public shortly thereafter.  For producers who have interest in having calves evaluated through the FPC please contact one of the IGS breed partners or contact [email protected].  Cattle feeders who are interested in integrating the capabilities of the FPC into purchasing decisions please use the same email.

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