Will Preconditioning Help Make My Calves More Marketable Next Fall?
A: Yes. Records show that calves that have been through a preconditioning program consistently yield higher prices at sale time. However, not all preconditioning programs are created equal. It is important to use a trusted program that buyers will recognize. A recent Iowa State University study showed buyers are willing to pay more for cattle processed under the guidelines of a preconditioning program that is backed by a third party.
The study found that preconditioned calves certified through a third-party-verified program and weaned at least 30 days commanded premiums of $6.15 per hundredweight over the base. Calves with uncertified claims of vaccinations and at least 30 days weaning received $3.40 per hundredweight over the base.1 This data shows that preconditioning calves does pay a premium, especially with third-party verification. Of feedyard managers surveyed, nine out of 10 said a signed veterinary certificate is a significant advantage over noncertified programs.