Cattle Transportation: Management Follow-Through
Those who have been involved in baseball, football or softball realize the importance of follow-through. For example, a pitcher throwing a curveball has to start with the correct grip, regulate arm speed and angle, choose the most appropriate point of release, and finish the pitch with a full follow-through. These processes are not unlike managing stocker cattle. To optimize return on investment, stocker operators have to start with the correct cattle and receiving protocol, regulate health and performance, choose the most appropriate time to sell or ship, and finish by making sure the cattle reach their next destination without compromising profit (the follow-through). Most managers who have been operating for several years realize that even transportation from one pasture to another impacts cattle performance. However, one of the most crucial events for stocker cattle is transportation to the next phase of beef production, the feedlot. This transport has more impact on performance because the trip is usually more than 500 miles from locations in the southeast. Furthermore, it includes “middlemen” and a period of time when your cattle are not under your direct management.