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The University of Tennessee | Institute of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Frequently Used Tools:

Tennessee Beef Evaluation

The Farmer-To-Farmer Connection

The Tennessee Beef Evaluation began in 1991 as a way for producers to gather information ont he type of cattle they produce. The objectives are:

  • Improve the marketability of Tennessee bred cattle by establishing a database of feedlot performance and carcass information
  • Provide information to Tennessee cattlemen on carcass traits and feedlot performance which could be used to improve their herds
  • Provide information which could be used to promote feeder calf sales and promote the sale of purebred breeding animals
  • Explore the alternative of retained ownership as a marketing alternative

Current Feeding Partners

We currently work with the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Cooperative (TCSCF) based in Lewis, Iowa. The TCSCF has been in existence for more than 20 years and made up of cow/calf producers and farmer feeders in Southwest Iowa. it is governed by a Board of Directors and managed by staff of TCSCF with oversight by Iowa State University Extension Livestock Specialist Darrell Busby. The purpose of the TCSCF is to assist beef producers in obtaining feedlot performance and carcass cutout data on cattle. Feedlots custom feed cattle with oversight by TCSCF Board and Iowa State Extension.

How Producers Get Involved

Producers consign cattle through UT Extension by completing and submitting consignment forms with a $20.00 per head consignment fee. Fifteen dollars of the consignment fee is applied to the feed bill while $5.00 is returned to the producer for sale of the cattle to TCSCF. The cattle are then used as collateral to pay cattle feeder, trucking, risk management fees, etc.

Preconditioning calves for a minimum of 30 days (preferably 45 days) prior to shipment including calves being castrated and dehorned and healed and dewormed is required. Vaccinating calves should follow a double vaccination program.

  • IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV with a modified live vaccine suggested for first round and required for second round shot
  • 7-Way Blackleg
  • Pasteurella Bacterin Toxoid

All calves will be tagged prior to shipment with tags provided by TCSCF. If cattle are able to be source and age verified (through record keeping), producers must be trained and then approved to participate in the Quality System Assessment (QSA) prior to cattle being shipped.

Other Features of the Program

  • Shipping to Iowa is arranged with pick up points selected based on location of consignors.
  • $8 data management fee is charged for collection and processing of feedlot performance and carcass data
  • TCSCF handles both steers and heifers
  • Advance of $300 per head available to any producer sending 10 or more head
  • Trucking, feed, health treatment, and risk management are all financed and deducted from sale proceeds
  • A price risk management plan is developed for corn and cattle
  • Premium available for age and source verification of cattle through Quality System Assessment program (if producer has been approved prior to shipment of cattle)
  • $1.50 data management charge for age and source verification
  • Producers who send a load of 48,000 pounds may select the feedlot at which the cattle are fed depending on space available
  • Cattle are scored for disposition four times when working/weighing occurs
  • Approximately 2 weeks following the sale of all cattle in a pen, the producer(s) receives all of the data on individual animals and a check for the net proceeds (net proceeds are after all expenses incurred for feed, treatment, transportation to feedlot and to packing plant are deducted from the gross proceeds from sale of the cattle)

Reports are provided to producers through out the feeding period to keep them informed of the progress of their cattle.

  • On Test Report: includes average daily gains for warm up period of about 30 days from when cattle arrive until they are placed on full feed
  • Re-implant Report: includes average daily gains for time on test and overall (including warm up period)
  • Final Report: includes feedlot performance data such as overall average daily gain, on test average daily gains, feed conversion, etc. and carcass data such as hot carcass weight, ribeye area, fat thickness, yield grade, etc.
  • Financial Report: includes all expenses incurred such as feed, treatment, trucking as well as carcass price and premiums from the packing plant such as age and source verification, Certified Angus Beef, and yield grade premiums

Results of Participation

As a result of participating, some producers have

  • Changed genetics of their breeding herd
  • Decided to focus on raising high quality feeder cattle
  • Used data to promote feeder calf sales and sale of purebred animals
  • Started backgrounding their own calves
  • Started retaining ownership of some of the cattle