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Ruth Correll: Mid-South cattle conference upcoming

Ruth Correll • Updated Feb 20, 2018 at 10:45 PM

The 2018 Mid-South Stocker Conference aims to help stocker operators pursue greater profits as they produce and market feeder cattle as efficiently as possible. Beef specialists from the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky will play host to the conference March 7 at the Logan County Cooperative Extension office in Russellville, Kentucky.

The program will include topics such as mineral supplementation, alternative forage options for stockers and confinement cattle housing considerations. Afternoon sessions will include accessing international markets, managing health disorders in feeder calves and virtual tours of Kentucky and Tennessee stocker operations. The meeting will wrap up with a 2018 market outlook. Participants can take part in a trade show during the lunch hour. Registration is $65 for individual tickets or $110 per couple and $45 for students. Additional details and the conference registration are available online at ag.tennessee.edu/midsouthstockerconference.  

Stocker producers must be market savvy. A good stocker producer is someone who knows their resources and understands their own limitations. Even though stocker producers approach production practices in different manners, there are several characteristics stocker producers must have in common.”

They must understand their best method to source cattle. Cattle can be purchased off the farm, at the livestock market, or from a special sale. Regardless, it takes a good eye and some experience to identify and attempt to purchase a certain grade and weight class of calves that will grow at similar rates. 

Once calves are on a stocker producer’s farm, the first step for the stocker producer is to get the animals eating, drinking and acclimated to the new surroundings. Most calves are freshly weaned and have never received any or only very limited vaccinations.

Stocker producers must understand good cattle management strategies. Standard protocol in receiving stocker cattle should include deworming, vaccinating and early treatment, if necessary. Many producers are keenly aware that calf response to these protocols is not always the same due to the stresses of marketing and co-mingling of cattle. Producers must be patient and vigilant in observing the cattle.

Stocker producers must be familiar with cattle nutrition. Starting young cattle by providing them with familiar feed, which is normally hay and a clean source of water, is important. A methodical routine of feeding the cattle about the same time every day and performing frequent observation is very important. Progression to feeding to achieve a desired daily weight gain is important to understand.

Stocker producers are risk takers. This is probably the most common attribute of all stocker producers. People with a low tolerance for risk generally avoid the stocker cattle business. There is money to be made in the stocker cattle business, but it can be a tough business if not well managed.

There are definitely stocker producers who are more successful than others when it comes to profitability. The majority of this success is due to marketing. The highly profitable stocker producers possess the ability to stay current with marketing opportunities and marketing windows. This may be the toughest chore, because it requires taking the time to do a few calculations and keeping the pencil sharp.

For more information, contact the UT-TSU Extension Office in Wilson County at 615-444-9584. You can also find us on Facebook or visit extension.tennessee.edu/wilson. Ruth Correll, UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension agent in Wilson County, may be reached at 615-444-9584 or acorrell@utk.edu.

 

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