In 2013, Get with the Program...Calf Clubs Still Pay!

With the record calf prices in the fall of 2012, some producers believed that you could sell anything for good dollars and not worry about being part of a reputable prescribed sale.

Well, many sold for what seemed good dollars but the Calf Rama week at Keady proved that even in a hot market buyers recognize and pay for the assurance of a set program and well presented calves. As the chart below shows all 4 of the special calf club sales brought the producers home significant dollars over the Ontario average prices in the same week.

Again note that these calves are included in the Ontario averages so the real difference is actually even more pronounced. The number of 500-600 lb. steer calves on the market moved from 1000 to 1800 the week of the Calf Rama and then back to 1400 the next week. The price for that category did a 5-7 cent jump for that week and then back down 7cents the week following.

Table 1. Calf Club Results for Fall 2012 vs. Open Ontario Market1

Week of
Oct 20 - Oct 27
Keady Calf Rama Week
Avg. Price
Ontario Market Average
Keady -Bruce Char
Keady Georgian Char
Keady Black Calf
Keady Central
500-600 lb. steers ($/cwt)
$ 162.26
$ 179.31
$ 180.57
$ 183.14
$ 177.95
$ value @ 550 lb
$ 892.43
$ 986.21
$ 993.14
$ 978.73
$ difference per steer (special sale minus market avg.)
$ 93.78
$ 100.71
$ 114.84
$ 86.30
500-600 lb. heifers ($/cwt.)
$ 144.17
$ 154.16
$ 154.18
$ 155.55
$ 157.36
$ value @ 550lbs
$ 792.94
$ 847.88
$ 847.99
$ 855.53
$ 865.48
$ difference per heifer (special sale minus market avg.)
$ 54.95
$ 55.06
$ 62.59
$ 72.55

1All prices from OCA Market Reports.

In studies over 10 years, the numbers show that Calf Club Program Sales have excelled for producers in a down market, an average market, and now in a hot market.

The logical suggestion from this would be to "Get with the Program"!

So what does that mean to me as I start my 2013 or calving or look forward to it. It means now is the time to start planning how those calves hitting the ground right now will be marketed. The basics of castration and dehorning are best done as close to birth as possible. The question of which vaccinations and when they should be done may be dictated by what club sale you hope to be part of. So pick a program, talk to the club or sales facility and find out what you need to do to make your calves "fit the program". Then do it and "Get with the Program".

Photo of calves being presented at Calf Rama Week
Figure 1. Well presented program calves at Calf Rama Week, Keady Sales Barn

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