Sponsored By

Industry At A Glance: Value Differences Between Sick Vs. Healthy CattleIndustry At A Glance: Value Differences Between Sick Vs. Healthy Cattle

In a time of record cattle prices, the economic bite of cattle disease grows proportionately.

Nevil Speer

November 25, 2013

1 Min Read
Industry At A Glance: Value Differences Between Sick Vs. Healthy Cattle

Last week’s Industry At A Glance discussed cattle morbidity and associated treatment costs. The discussion further noted that indirect costs have also increased proportionally. Lastly, the incorporated data indicate that respiratory disease and pneumonia continue to be the largest and most costly challenge to managing new arrivals at the feedyard.

That perspective is especially evident in some older data sourced from Texas A&M’s Ranch to Rail program. It’s some of the industry’s most comprehensive data clearly detailing individual animal differences between cattle that remain healthy through the feeding period vs. those that require treatment. The average difference depicted above is in excess of $90/head. Sick cattle have lower returns because of diminished gain, decreased efficiency, increased cost and poor grading performance.


The graph above illustrates, though, the importance of the market on the difference between sick and healthy cattle. The market during the Ranch-to-Rail results depicted above (1993-2001) averaged about $66. Fast forward to 2013, and today’s market is nearly double that. It’s not unreasonable then to assume the difference between cattle that remain healthy and those requiring treatment might encroach $200/head.

What’s your assessment of the value differences between sick and healthy cattle in the current business environment? Where would you peg the dollar amount? Leave your thoughts below.


You might also like:

3 Lessons From A Greenpeace Dropout

Meet The Ranching Families Behind The Beef Industry

Wintering Calves With Their Mamas Means Healthier Calves

60 Stunning Photos That Showcase Ranch Work Ethics

2014 Will Be A Record Year For Calf Prices And Risk

About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
BEEF Magazine is the source for beef production, management and market news.

You May Also Like