Ag Notes: CPH sales worthwhile even in high cattle market

September 15, 2004|JERRY LITTLE

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.


Normally, the price drops per pound as the weight goes up. Data shows that in regular sales every year except one saw high prices for calves weight 550 pounds sold in October than prices received for 650-pound calves sold in December. The decline average a negative $ 3.99 per hundred pounds.

However, 650-pound calves selling in the December CPH-45 sales at Hopkinsville saw a price increase on average of $2.82 per hundred.

Net returns over the 11-year period showed an added value of $ 58.92 per calf for those sold in the CPH-45 sale compared to calves sold at weaning. In 2003 when calf prices were approaching historical levels, producers in the Hopkinsville sales saw their highest net returns of $ 97.33.

Where we see most of the money being made is being able to put rapid efficient gains on calves. In a 45 day period 120 to 150 pounds can be put on a calf.

Research has surprisingly shown that the best gains are made in the first 20 days. Also, when you wean them on the farm, there's less stress than when they are transported off-farm.

By utilizing commodity or home-raised feeds, weight gain can often be achieved at a cost in the low 30-cent per pound range. This allows producers to add weight to calves efficiently and cheaply then take advantage of market demand later in the year.

When a producer gets the opportunity to put 30-cent gain on $ 1 plus per pound calves, it makes economic sense.

A local CPH-45 sale is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Boyle County Stockyards. If you are interested in selling in this sale or would like more information, please contact your local county extension office by Tuesday, Sept. 21, so that the local sale committee will be able to plan for the number of cattle we will have at the sale.


A jogger running down a country road is startled as a horse yells at him, "Hey, come over here buddy." The jogger is stunned but runs over to the fence where the horse is standing and asks, "Were you talking to me"?

The horse replies, "Sure was! I've got a problem. I won the Kentucky Derby a few years ago and this farmer bought me, and now all I do is pull a plow and I'm sick of it. Why don't you run up to the house and offer him $5,000 to buy me. I'll make you some money cause I can still run."

The jogger thought to himself, "Wow, a talking horse!" And he thought of all the money he could make with it. So he ran to the house, where the old farmer is sitting on the porch. The jogger tells the farmer, "I'll give you $5,000 for that old broken down nag you've got in the field".

The farmer replies, "Son, you can't believe anything that horse says. He's never even been to Kentucky."

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