Importance of Preparing Calves for Feedlots

Importance of Preparing Calves for Feedlots

I recently attended McLean Ranch's Customer Appreciation Day. One of the that day's speakers was JBS' Three River Cattle Feeding President and CEO Mike Thoren. Thoren is a Washington State University graduate -- who also was one of my ag buddies that saved my bacon in our Ag Econ classes while at WSU. It is pretty exciting when a Pacific Northwest native is the CEO of the largest group of feedlots in North America -- with a feeding capacity of 965,000 head at 12 different feedlots across the continent.

As you would expect Five Rivers Cattle Feeding studies all areas of their operation to increase efficiencies. Over the last thirty years, both end weights and dry matter conversion are improving year over year. However animal health is a big concern for feedlot operators, animal deaths -- while still a small percentage -- have not been on the decrease. With the historic small cattle supply, cattle are coming to feedlots at a younger age. Thoren stresses the importance of preparing cattle before they leave cow-calf producers operations.

Thoren: "The most obvious thing is to have a great vaccination program. The pharmaceutical companies have done a great job in putting a lot of programs together and products together. Work with your veterinarian to get good nutritional and mineral programs. Then have the appropriate vaccination programs does the whole system a wonder of good."

He added that having the calves weaned prior to shipping them helps as well.

Tomorrow we'll hear more from McLean Ranch's Appreciation Day speakers.

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