The “Risks” in High Risk Cattle

The “Risks” in High Risk Cattle

by Marc Roth, M.S. P.A.S.

Feedlot Magazine

The term high risk cattle is nearly as old as the feeding industry itself and yet its definition or components are vague to many. While we could probably get agreement in the general definition that high risk denotes an expectation of an increased animal health challenge, we would find divergence if asking questions such as “Which cattle are high risk?” or “What are the costs associated with high risk cattle?” If we are in the feeding business, then we are also in the business of deciding what animals to put on feed. We look at the relationships between weight, sex, price, futures markets, season, and expected production costs. We likely have a mental adjustment for sale barn vs country origin and perhaps others; but do we have the true value difference? What are our criteria? Is it maximizing profit potential or do certain biases come into the equation – heifers, horns, Holsteins, etc?

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