For those looking to increase profits from their cow-calf operations, preconditioning calves is the way to go. When all calves go to auction on the same day, those calves that weigh more sell for more money. While there are ways to increase calf weight—such as utilizing practices that ensure earlier calf births—preconditioning calves is a sure fire way to bring a higher premium at auction time.

Preconditioning calves requires a few key criteria. Calves are considered preconditioned if they have been:

  • castrated
  • dehorned
  • vaccinated
  • weaned for at least 45 days on the ranch

All criteria must be met before the calf leaves the ranch. Additionally, some believe that deworming calves should also be part of the preconditioning criteria as well.

Preconditioning strengthens the immune system and overall health of the calf, reduces the stress the animal experiences upon reaching the feed yard, reduces the risk a buyer takes on in buying a calf, lowers the use of antibiotics and improves the quality of beef for the consumer. It also significantly increases the premiums for calves at the auction.

A recent AgWeb article listed a myriad of different health programs around the nation for preconditioning calves, including the OKEE VAC program offered by the Okeechobee Livestock Market. The OKEE VAC program is aimed at improving herd health and the worth of the beef cattle in the program through preconditioning.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture.

For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.