Beef Magazine is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Articles from 2000 In December

Colostrum counts at birth, in feedlot

A newborn calf's first meal from its mama helps it survive the first week of life - and has a long-term impact on health, says a University of Missouri (MU) veterinarian.

Colostrum, the first milk given by a cow after calving, is rich not only in nutrients but also comes packed with antibodies to help ward off diseases.

Failure to get that first milk can have serious consequences for the calf, says Bob Larson, Extension veterinarian with the MU Commercial Agriculture Beef Focus Team.

"Cattle do not pass any antibodies from the mother to the fetus prior to birth," Larson says. "The calf relies on the antibodies present in colostrum to provide disease protection."

Speed in getting that first colostrum is important. The calf is capable of absorbing the antibodies for only a short time. After 12 hours, absorption of antibodies declines sharply and disappears after 24 hours, Larson says.

For a calf to absorb adequate colostrum, the calf must be able to rise, walk, find the teat and suckle. Most healthy calves do that naturally. But, difficulties in calving can leave the calf and cow too weak to make the connection.

A difficult birth, if it does not result in death, can cause later difficulties if the calf doesn't suckle quickly.

Studies at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, show that half of the calf early-death loss occurs because of calving difficulty. Most other calf deaths occur in the first 10 days, mainly from infectious diseases such as scours and pneumonia.

Research also shows that calves not getting adequate colostrum in the first 24 hours of their lives have higher rates of sickness and death as late as when they are in the feedlot.

Producers can help ensure the calf receives its first meal from its mother. After a difficult birth, the cow may reject the calf. The cow may need to be restrained and the calf assisted in finding the udder.

Good cow management, including diet, can help improve the quality of the colostrum produced by the cow, Larson says. Studies show that cows receiving adequate protein in their diet prior to calving have colostrum higher in protective qualities.

"Heifers and cows in good body condition at calving are more likely to produce adequate high-quality colostrum than thin animals," Larson says.

Frozen colostrum and commercial colostral supplements given by bottle are not as effective as colostrum received from natural suckling.

The best help for getting a calf started is a trouble-free birth, Larson says.

To increase the chance for easy births, Larson suggests utilizing reproductive screening to eliminate heifers with small pelvic openings, providing females with good nutrition and selecting low-birth weight bulls.

Clean calving pastures are also important to newborn calf survival, says Bob Larson, University of Missouri veterinarian.

The first line of defense against disease is to get the newborn calf charged with antibodies provided in the mother's first milk, Larson says.

The next step is to reduce exposure to disease organisms that cause scours and pneumonia in the calving area.

"Sanitation, protection from weather stress and separation from sick calves will greatly decrease the risk of disease and death," Larson says.

Just prior to calving, expectant cows should be moved from the herd pasture to a smaller fresh pasture. The calving pasture should be free of mud and protected from the wind.

At one day of age, the calf and its mother should be moved to a nursery pasture. In the nursery, calves should be grouped by age within two weeks.

Any scouring calves in these groups should be removed immediately to a sick pen away from the healthy calves.

It's good management to calve the heifers ahead of the mature cows, Larson says. Heifers generally have lower colostrum quality than older cows. Also, there are generally fewer disease organisms early in the calving season.

This strategy minimizes disease exposure and maximizes survival chances of calves from first-calf heifers.

Extra attention to sanitation and health early in life can pay off in more calves weaned. Studies show that most calf death loss occurs the first 10 days, he says.

Preparing for calving season challenges

Calving season is a critical time for beef producers. The events have a direct effect upon the number of live, healthy calves at birth and the ability of the dam to raise the calf. Calving management is also related to lifetime calf performance and rebreeding efficiency in the cow herd.

Management decisions really begin with bull selection and must be done well in advance of the breeding season. For example, selection decisions regarding the use of calving ease bulls or selection to produce replacement heifers requires thorough planning.

Final preparation for calving should begin several months ahead of the actual calving season. Even though the genetic hand we will play has already been dealt, there's still time to monitor the nutritional development of heifers and make certain our cows calve in satisfactory body condition.

This is also a time to prepare for other challenges that can have devastating effects at calving. Important factors that are related to a successful birth and a productive cow/calf pair include:

- The duration of normal labor.

- How and when problems are handled.

- How soon the calf receives colostrum.

- How the pair "mother-up."

Duration Of Normal Labor Labor at calving is divided into three stages. The first is characterized by uneasiness (seeking a quiet place away from the herd) and an elevated tail. The second stage is actual dilation of the cervix and starts with serious hard straining, lying down and delivery of the calf. The third stage is delivery of the placenta or "afterbirth."

First-stage labor is often a clue that we need to closely observe the dam. Second-stage labor in first-calf heifers that exhibit a normal birth (the calf's front feet and head first) often require about two hours of serious labor.

This doesn't have to be continuous, but the heifer should be observed closely to assure progress. In older cows, serious labor is generally shorter, lasting one-half to one hour.

If reasonable progress stops, assistance is indicated. This assumption is based on the fact that the beginning of serious labor is known. If we check heifers approximately every two to three hours, we can be reasonably certain. If we check them every six to eight hours or even less, the rules should probably change.

Any heifer acting abnormally for several hours should be examined for a possible malpresentation or oversized calf. Examination is not detrimental if it is performed in a quiet, sanitary manner.

Mild to moderate traction is rarely detrimental and often results in a more favorable, less stressful outcome. Leaving heifers alone when the calf's front feet and nose are clearly visible for a prolonged time adds stress, reduces calf vigor and has been associated with decreased fertility at rebreeding in first-calf heifers.

Mild to moderate traction can be defined as two adults pulling a calf together with typical obstetrical chains and handles. If a calf puller/fetal extractor is utilized, traction should not exceed 500-700 lbs. pull. Depending on the size of dam and calf, this is only slightly more pull than two adults can apply with chains and handles (400-600 lbs.).

Calf pullers can exceed 2,000 lbs. of pull and must be used with extreme caution. It should be applied intermittently during abdominal press to avoid injury or death to the calf and damage to the birth canal.

If progress during assistance isn't obvious, it's time to think of an alternative method of delivery. When a Caesarean section is necessary, the decision is best made when the outcome results in a live, vigorous calf and a healthy normal dam.

Colostrum Intake Important If a calf is assisted, it should receive colostrum immediately after delivery. Many calf deaths and disease problems are related to inadequate and/or delayed colostral intake.

Administration immediately following birth reduces the interval of time the newborn calf is highly susceptible to invasion by pathogenic organisms. It also optimizes the amount of disease fighting protein (immunoglobulin) that the calf absorbs.

There are a variety of thumb rules for how much colostrum to administer. These include:

- Feed 10% of the calf's body weight (3.2L in a 70-lb. calf),

- 20-25 ml/lb. of calf body weight (1.6L in a 70-lb. calf) or

- Feed 2L within first 12 hours of life.

"Mothering-Up" The Pair Following assistance of delivery, the pair should always be kept together quietly in a small pen until the calf is observed to suckle and the dam actively claims the calf.

Under ideal circumstances, 24 hours of penning up a pair is best before turning them out. Longer may be necessary if the calf is slow or the dam fails to claim the calf.

Failure to assist in calving at the correct time, excessive traction, failure to administer colostrum immediately and failure to properly mother up the cow/calf pair can carry serious consequences. Such conditions often result in increased calf disease, death loss, reduced performance and delayed rebreeding.

Electrolyte supplement

Calf Restraint Buddex calf restraint from Jenrik Ag Products is a lightweight, portable device designed to hold the young calf's head firmly for easier dehoring as well as ear tagging, tattooing and banding bull calves.

Legislating The Market

Is open competition essential in today's cattle market - and is legislation necessary?

A coalition of Western ranchers is fighting what they say are the illegal buying practices of major meat packers. Four years ago, the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) asked USDA to use its Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) authority to restrict the use of captive supplies of cattle by packers.

Today, USDA administrators continue to wrestle with WORC's formal petition for rulemaking, which specifically requests that packers offer firm, fixed base prices on forward contracts. The rules would also require that cattle acquired by forward contract or owned outright by packers be offered for bid in an open, public market.

Shane Kolb, Meadow, SD, chair of WORC's agriculture issue team, set the stage at a "captive supply" forum held this fall in Denver. "The cattle-buying practices of the major packers are in violation of the PSA and have destroyed our livestock markets," says Kolb.

WORC says packers unfairly and unjustly discriminate against some producers by offering and entering into forward contracts and marketing agreements only with select producers. Packers' failure to make these offers "open and public" influence already thin cash markets, WORC contends.

"The packers' strategic use of captive supplies, and the use of forward contracts and marketing agreements without a fixed base price, has had the effect of manipulating or controlling prices, violating the law," explains Kolb.

Kolb says the WORC proposal works for both packer and producer. It preserves the ability of packers and feeders to enter into forward contracts and agreements. It prevents intentional or unintentional discrimination among producers by packers.

Lastly, the WORC proposal would require packers to offer cattle they feed or own for bid in an open, public market. Packers could still win the bid, but this would turn fed cattle from price breakers to price makers and remove the preferential, discriminatory potential of packer feeding.

It wouldn't, however, prohibit the use of forward contracts, marketing agreements or packer ownership of cattle, Kolb adds. Packers could still use these methods to coordinate supply to keep their plants running efficiently. Feeders could still enter into agreements to line up access to markets and be paid for quality cattle.

Entrepreneurs Or Serfs? Neil Harl, Iowa State University professor of economics, says the outcome of WORC's proposal will help determine whether livestock producers are independent entrepreneurs or packer-controlled serfs.

"Regulations should eliminate the aspects of forward contracts which have a significant discriminatory or negative effect on competition," Harl says. Packers should be prohibited from achieving captive supplies in a setting of high levels of concentration as now exists in steer and heifer slaughter, he adds.

Everyone, however, doesn't buy WORC's pitch.

"Our personal business experience would indicate that certain types of captive supply, such as forward contracting or formula-based sales, actually improve price potential," says Gary Teague, president of Colorado-based Teague Diversified Inc.

Teague markets 50,000 head of cattle annually using three different value-based marketing agreements. On average, he says, the producers using these regimes realize $20/head more than USDA quoted weekly prices.

"Our relationships with packers have proven to be completely open and honest - data is shared for mutual benefit and improvement," adds Teague. "There is no evidence that packers have used captive supply to influence the market negatively."

"The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) supports a free market system where buyers and sellers negotiate contracts for their own mutual benefit," says George Hall, president. "No action should be taken to alter or halt current trends toward private business arrangements among sectors of the beef industry."

Hall says that for every agreement made by a packer, there is an individual rancher on the other side of that transaction exercising his or her personal rights.

Ken Bull, Excel's vice president for beef procurement, says taking away captive supplies takes alternatives from producers.

"Restrictions on forward contracting, marketing agreements and packer feeding would seriously hurt the beef industry, particularly cattle producers," he says. "For the moment, some of the best tools we have to encourage and pay for value fall under the captive supply definition."

Ted Schroeder, Kansas State University professor of ag economics, says poor vertical integration - has caused a devastating 20-year decline in consumer demand for beef.

"Not everyone has embraced the changing marketing environment," he explains. Some producers resist change and prefer negotiating prices and selling on averages, but they are frustrated when the market moves away from "institutions" they are comfortable marketing under.

"If the beef industry is legislatively limited in it's ability to develop such marketing methods, the industry will revert to the poor coordination and waning demand it faced the past two decades," he says.

Making the new market structure equitable for everyone without some type of oversight is another story though, says Peter Carstensen, University of Wisconsin law professor. He says that given the present price discrimination seen among livestock producers, violation of the PSA by packers seems to be a foregone conclusion.

He states in defending the WORC proposal though, that, "A market operating under just and equitable economic principles with effectively enforced rules gives all participants a fair opportunity to succeed on their own merits."

Expect some holiday weakness

The cattle market took a turn to the upside in October. After holding in the mid-$60/cwt. range through most the summer, prices moved into the $70 level as November began.

Feeder cattle and calves also improved somewhat in October but really shot up as the new month began. With yearlings almost impossible to find, the emphasis of the feeder market is on this year's crop.

Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots with capacities of 1,000 head or more totaled 11 million head on Oct. 1. This is 7% above the Oct. 1, 1999 level and 13% higher than 1998. It includes 6% more steer and steer calves and 9% more heifer and heifer calves. Arizona and South Dakota recorded the largest percentage gains in numbers on feed.

Fed cattle marketings in September totaled 1.99 million head - 2% above September 1999 and 7% above 1998. Most states recorded either minor increases or lower marketings, but Arizona, Oklahoma and South Dakota had substantial percentage gains.

September placements of cattle and calves into feedlots totaled 2.69 million head - 3% below 1999 but 1% above 1998. South Dakota and Arizona had the greatest percentage gains in placements.

September placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lbs. were 775,000; 600-699 lbs. were 612,000; 700-799 lbs. were 681,000; and 800 lbs. and greater were 618,000. Placements under 600 lbs. were the highest since October 1999. The 600- to 700-lb. group showed the largest gain since January 2000. The two heaviest weight groupings were the lowest in two months.

Other feedlot disappearance totaled 54,000 in September, 13% below last year and 11% below 1998. This figure includes death loss, movement from feedlots to pasture and shipments to other feedlots for further feeding.

USDA Outlook Report The latest USDA "Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Situation and Outlook" report contained these interesting facts:

- The latest cattle-on-feed statistics confirm that widespread drought has sharply reduced the number of heifers bred in 2000, as well as heifers expected to calve and enter the cow herd in 2001.

- If large numbers of heifers are retained and bred next year, it will sharply reduce slaughter levels in the second half of 2001.

- Although beef production remains on a record pace in 2000, so are retail prices for Choice beef. The Choice-Select spread on boxed beef has widened to more than $10/cwt.

- Many of these better grading cattle do not show up in the day-to-day price quotations.

- As the market shifts toward more branded and case-ready products, more cattle are priced under contracts. This shift is essential as the industry moves from a commodity market toward a market of higher and consistent quality beef for which consumers appear willing to pay top dollar. Contrast this with the inconsistent quality of the '90s "lean beef" market.

The fed cattle market will probably see some weakness as winter proceeds. Prices for Choice slaughter cattle are expected to remain slightly under 1999. Feeder cattle and calves will mirror the fed market. Light supplies of feeders, together with fairly strong feedlot demand, will help.

The holiday season, however, is an awkward period in which to sell feeder animals. Many livestock markets don't operate on holiday weeks, livestock market news reports (both government and private) become scarce, and slaughter plant closings are common due to religious reasons.

Above all, the demand for beef is strongly replaced by other traditional holiday foods.

Value Vision

USDA approves instrument-augmented yield grading. It's a concept that promises to spread prices and change the way cattle are valued.

It's not the final volley signaling a value-based revolution. But, USDA's recent approval of instrument augmentation for official yield grades is a shot that will likely change the pricing landscape forever.

"This will more accurately measure the value of a carcass. And, when you have 40 different buckets of value to place carcasses in rather than four, you can pay more accurately for it," says Tim Schiefelbein, ConAgra (Monfort) manager of value-based procurement.

Schiefelbein is referring to new technology that will allow USDA graders to assign yield grades to the nearest tenth of a grade, rather than to the nearest whole grade, and do it more accurately besides.

For perspective, most fed cattle carcasses currently fit into value buckets of Yield Grade 1-4 (out of Yield Grade 1-5). With instrument augmentation, carcasses could be classified as Yield Grade 1.1, 1.2 and so on. So, instead of four prices based on yield, there could be 10 times that many.

With a divergent pricing system like this, Schiefelbein cautions that some cattle will likely command substantially higher prices than the average packer purchase price. Others, meanwhile, will command substantially less than the average.

That is, if packers embrace this new technology. ConAgra is currently testing several systems, and Excel has already installed instrument systems in each of its plants.

Reading Muscle Accurately "Anything we can do to get more accurate information back to the producer will help move the U.S. toward value-based marketing," says Barry Carpenter, deputy administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Livestock and Seed Program.

Basically, three of the four components of yield grade - an estimate of carcass cutability or how much marketable meat is in the carcass - are easy to measure. Hot carcass weights are as objective as a scale. Meanwhile, both fat thickness and percentage of kidney, pelvic and heart fat (KPH) are measured with amazing accuracy by the trained eyes of graders.

But, estimating ribeye size - the fourth yield grade component - is tough to do consistently with an eyeball and little time.

"Consider what graders are doing now," says James O. "Bo" Reagan, executive director of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Center for Research and Technology Services. "They have 8-12 seconds per carcass to call preliminary yield grade, adjusted preliminary yield grade, KPH, estimated ribeye and fat, as well as look at the maturity and quality of the carcass."

That's where these instruments based upon Video Image Analysis (VIA) come in.

"This technology doesn't change the yield grade formula. It just gives us better tools to evaluate the factors," explains Carpenter. "This technology should give us a very accurate reading on ribeye size and remove a significant amount of error."

Keith Belk is an associate professor of Meat Science at Colorado State University (CSU). He says VIA instruments are proving to be at least 90% accurate for measuring ribeye size, compared to actual measures. That's based on several studies CSU conducted for USDA and NCBA.

Basically, these VIA systems measure the ribeye and then use that measurement along with the hot carcass weight and grader-assessed fat thickness and grader-adjusted KPH to calculate the yield grade.

All told, Belk says studies show graders, working at chain-speeds to estimate each yield grade component then calculate yield grade, were accurate 68% of the time. That's compared to a gold standard of carcass evaluators who could take as much time as they wanted with each carcass.

Yield grade computed by using graders' chain-speed estimates of the yield grade components but calculated away from the rail was accurate 81% of the time. Now, give those same graders an instrument-derived ribeye measurement. Let them estimate fat and adjust for KPH, and the accuracy level climbs to 93%.

In fact, CSU has discovered similar gains in accuracy by using both of the most widely tested VIA instruments so far - the Australian VIAscan superscript [TM] system and the Canadian CVS superscript [TM] system.

"With this system in place, graders will be able to more accurately estimate yield grade to the nearest tenth than they can currently to the nearest whole grade," emphasizes Reagan.

Incentives For Precision "In truth, this is what the industry has been asking for over the past 10-15 years - an equitable determination of value," says Belk. "This is an equitable system that should encourage trust. The packer doesn't gain more than the producer and the producer doesn't gain more than the packer."

Actually, a pile of lost dollars says packers will take a hard look at implementing an augmented system. That same money says producers will have an opportunity to gain.

"You will be able to pay more correctly for value, and send those signals back to the producer. Initially, however, the bigger incentive for a packer is how it could help us sort carcasses and manage fabrication," explains Schiefelbein. "You will be able to see exactly what the trimmable waste is in the carcass and be able to sort carcasses more accurately into various programs."

Based on CSU preliminary economic analysis, Belk says, "If packers slaughtering 1,500-5,000 head/day were to use instruments to assign yield grades to the nearest tenth, without doing anything else, we estimate they could recover $4-5/head immediately."

"And, that's just because of accuracy and sorting capability. The kicker is with a little more sorting, for hindquarter and forequarter fabrication, we estimate there is an aggregate of $30-40/head laying on the table," Belk says.

Moreover, the per-head cost should remain the same, at least where USDA is concerned.

Currently, USDA - which grades 95% of all U.S. fed cattle - charges 0.05›/lb., or about 38›/head.

"We don't envision that using this system will require any more manpower or any less. It's probably cost-neutral from our standpoint," Carpenter says.

Conversely, Reagan says packers are concerned about the lack of VIA competition. At this stage of the game, only two systems are in the running for USDA approval, and no one knows what the ultimate cost/head will be for installing the instruments and using the necessary software.

As for producer incentives, Belk says, "This will be good for the producers who produce the better cattle because they won't be subsidizing the poorer cattle anymore. Producers with poorer quality cattle will be penalized."

Given that, Schiefelbein points out, "When you add variation to the prices of cattle from high to low, it becomes more important to know which ones are on the high side and which ones are on the low side."

In other words, incentive grows to know more specifically how cattle perform beyond the pasture. So, it's not a stretch to think the advent of instrument augmentation may also accelerate the pace of individual cattle identification.

"I think this information is most valuable when it can be traced back to origin and used to make management decisions," says Carpenter. "The more traceable the information is, the more benefit there is to it."

Meant To Enhance The System Keep in mind, this is an augmented system in which instruments are added to the equation, rather than taking away people. Reagan says, "People hear we are making a move toward instruments, and they think we are doing away with graders. We're talking about instrument augmentation that provides information to enhance the grader's decision-making ability." And, vice versa.

As accurate as these instruments are, Carpenter explains they don't yet account for carcass variation due to things like mangled ribeyes, which graders must account for in arriving at an accurate grade.

"Everything USDA is discussing will infinitely improve the accuracy and repeatability of the current yield grading system," emphasizes Belk.

With that in mind, Carpenter says USDA is working aggressively to make the system available. "It's not unrealistic that this system would be ready to implement by the spring of 2001," he says.

Reagan believes this is part of the value-based journey rather than a destination. He explains, "Even though we are making strides with yield grade, we see this opening the door to look at systems that could estimate marbling, quality grade, tenderness or systems that could even segment carcasses into specific brands."

Carpenter agrees, "This is not the end-all. It's the first step in a major move toward value-based marketing. It will be as beneficial to the industry as the industry will allow it to be by getting the information back to producers."

If packers do embrace the new system, Schiefelbein believes the yield grading transition will occur slowly rather than suddenly. At least in Monfort's case, he says producers will be given time to adjust.

Plus, Schiefelbein explains, "It's important for producers to keep in mind that the same kind of cattle doing well in the current system will still do well in this new system. This won't alter the trend of what is desirable and has value."

Muscling Up Feeder Cattle

Updated frame size and muscle thickness grades more accurately reflect feeder cattle value.

It's now harder to make good grades in the cattle industry. Frame size grades, an important tool used to predict the weight at which an animal will grade USDA Choice, have been updated to reflect changes in the composition and production of beef cattle. The former grade standards had been in use since 1979.

The new U.S. Standards for Feeder Cattle Grades were implemented October 1.

Feeder cattle grades are based on differences in both frame size and muscle thickness. Therefore, USDA has also adjusted the minimum requirements for the muscle thickness grades. And, it's increasing the number of grades from three to four to accommodate thicker-muscled cattle and reflect current marketing practices. The updated frame size and muscle thickness grades, devised by USDA and Colorado State University (CSU) researchers, will more accurately reflect the value of today's feeder cattle.

Within the 1979 standards, grades for frame size include small, medium and large. Steers in the medium category were expected to weigh 1,000-1,200 lbs. at Choice grade. However, USDA/CSU research indicates steers were actually 1,100 to 1,250 lbs. when they reached Choice.

Similar changes apply to each category for both steers and heifers.

"The old standards of frame measurement weights have been raised from 50 to 100 lbs. in steers," says Cara Gerken, Cashion, OK, USDA livestock and meat marketing specialist. "Heifers will see the larger increase of 150 lbs. in all frame areas."

Gerken says producers will now experience tougher measurements on muscle thickness grading as well.

The old standards included muscle thickness grades of "one," "two" and "three." The new standards will incorporate a fourth category. "This change should allow for more specific description of cattle, particularly with heavy and moderate muscling," she says.

Electrolyte supplement

FDA Approval Alpharma Inc. has received FDA approval for the combination use of Deccox and ChlorMax for the prevention of coccidiosis; for the treatment of bacterial enteritis and bacterial pneumonia in ruminating and non-ruminating calves, beef cattle and non-lactating dairy cows.


The results are in! Preconditioning, calfhood vaccination programs, selling on the carcass grid and sorting according to projected outcome are of keen interest to many cattle producers looking for increased profits and desiring to improve the quality and consistency of their calves. This year's Pick A Pen For Profit contest uses five pens of feeder calves as a backdrop to discuss these concepts.

Those that play "fantasy football" enjoy picking through players' statistics to determine why each team performed as it did. It's a similar concept in this contest. Analyzing each pen's health, feedyard, carcass and money statistics will help you better understand why the cattle performed as they did in the feedlot and in the carcass.

Additionally, you will learn about the potential benefits of preconditioning and good animal health programs, and how sorting cattle prior to entering the feedyard reduces the number of cattle that miss the beef industry targets for acceptable carcasses.

The Pick A Pen For Profit contest demonstrates that it is very difficult to predict carcass quality based on visual appraisal.

Unlike past years, the 2000 contest provided the information on each pen's pre-feedyard history. This information should have made it easier for you to segment the pens that would be the healthiest and most efficient from the sick, less efficient pens. It's the same principle at work in the real world - the more information you have, the better the odds of avoiding surprises.

Let's take a look at the results and study the lessons.