Adding value to your calves

Superior Livestock Auction data showing premiums from preconditioning programs since 1995.

Superior Livestock Auction data showing premiums from preconditioning programs since 1995.

April 19, 2016

By Kevin Hill, D.V.M.

This post kicks off a two-part series that looks at decisions you can make now that will not only improve the health of your calves, but also will add significant value.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that we have the highest cattle inventory since 2011. As of January 1, there were 92 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms.

How will you add value to your calves to a discriminating buyer? The decisions you make this spring will significantly affect fall profits. Now is a good time to work with your veterinarian to develop a health program that best fits your environment, management style and marketing targets.

How do you evaluate which management practices will add value to calves offered for sale? Merck Animal Health works with Ken Odde, D.V.M., at Kansas State University to collect and analyze data from Superior Livestock Auction’s large database. Its data shows buyers consistently pay more for preconditioned and weaned calves.

PrimeVAC, the certified preconditioning program from Merck Animal Health, is a good resource to show producers how the company’s products can be used to meet the specifications of marketing programs. In addition, Merck Animal Health has created a free Herd Health Manager app that allows veterinarians and producers to customize and certify vaccination protocols. You can download the app from the app store or from the web at Feel free to contact me by email at if you have any questions.

One thought on “Adding value to your calves

  1. Pingback: The payoff of BVD PI Testing | BRD Report: From the Fence Post

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