Weaned and preconditioned calves
We know that the fact that calves are no longer balling adds value. We know that castration and dehorning add value. We know that any of a number of defined vaccination and deworming programs add value. We know that bunk-breaking and familiarity with a waterer adds value. And we know that marketing calves in a way that puts them in front of customers that recognize the benefit of these things adds value. So if this is the case, why are the returns often too small to entice more adoption?
Simply put, pounds still pay. And unfortunately, a 4 – 5 % “value-added” premium for weaned and preconditioned calves may not offer enough “juice” for many to justify “the squeeze.” Even if it is the right thing for the industry, my experience has been that a month and a half of time and effort that pays for itself without any additional return is a hard sell. So considering that it is the right thing to do for the industry, how do we add enough additional value during that period to yield enough of a return to make it worth our while and then some? Nutritional management and time.