Preconditioning calves for the CPH-45 program can still offer advantages to producers even in a year with already high prices. For beef producers considering selling calves directly off the cow and not preconditioning the animals, a look back through the program's history tells them the effort is worthwhile.
The CPH (certified preconditioned for health) program basically requires a certain health standard for calves sold through the program, such as proper weaning and immunizations. Calves sold under CPH-45 are tagged for identification and grouped by grade and breed in order to create large lots of healthy, uniform calves.
Health records assure the proper vaccination of the animals and build confidence among potential buyers.
An analysis of 11 year of data from the Pennyrile CPH-45 sale at Hopkinsville, along with price data from regular sales, reveals that program participation consistently pays off for the producer.
Based on history, what we've seen is that you make your most money when calves are high because the biggest economic advantage comes from weigh gains not premiums. The buyers of preconditioned calves are generally looking for calves that are heavier so we don't see much of a price slide. Also, these sales are more beneficial to the buyers when cattle are high because of the health standards and lower likelihood of calf loss.