My youngest daughter came four weeks early—she was obviously tired of weaning calves (we do wean some cattle at the feed yard when the rancher is unable to wean at home), and being a smart kid, figured out that the only way to get my full attention was to arrive. Although she was early, she grew fast and has never looked back. I remember taking her to the doctor for her two year old “well baby” checkup. The doctor casually remarked that she must be a good eater because she was in the 95th percentile for height…I just laughed and said, “No, she simply has excellent feed conversion.”
So, what is feed conversion?
For those of you that are following on Facebook, you might have noticed that one of the readers asked last week what the “ADG, DM Feed Conversion, COG, Quality Grade, Yield Grade, and Profit” were for Calf #718. Let’s take a minute and talk about Calf #718’s performance at the feed yard…
ADG = Average Daily Gain. This is the number of pounds that Calf #718 gained each day at the feed yard while being finished for harvest. If you remember, #718 weighed 925# when he traveled from AL Ranch to my feed yard. At harvest time, Calf #718 weighed 1394#. That means that he gained 469# during his time at the feedyard, which translates to 4.10 pounds per day.
DM Feed Conversion = Dry Matter Feed Conversion. This is the number of pounds of dry feed needed for every pound of weight gained by the animal. Calf #718’s Dry Matter Feed Conversion was 5.82#.
COG = Cost of Gain. This is how much it cost (the monetary value of the feed stuffs and care during the feeding period) for each pound of weight gained. The cost of gain for #718 was $0.8710.
Quality Grade, Yield Grade, Profit and other harvest performance data will be discussed and defined next week, so stay tuned!
Cattle Feed Yard performance information (ADG and DM Feed conversion) is an important way for me to assess the efficiency of my cattle and the quality of the care that I offer to them. Al and I work together every year to improve the genetic make-up of our cattle so that they efficiently produce high quality beef. We need for our cattle to use the fewest number of natural resources to make the most pounds of high quality beef. I am cognizant of the fact that we have a limited number of natural resources on which to survive, and I feel that it is my duty to use those resources in a responsible way.
Good animal care and comfort lead to better feed yard performance. When cattle are comfortable, they thrive in their surroundings and that is reflected in their performance. My “report card” for the care that I offer to my animals, is their performance at the feed yard. An ADG of 4.10 with a dry basis feed conversion of 5.82 is very good. When you combine good genetics with good care, you get good feed yard performance.
Calf #718’s performance indicates that Al and I do our jobs well.
So, what about my daughter who at age six stands 52” tall? Well, since my husband frequently comments that she is the reason that we have padded chairs at the dinner table (apparently playing with her fork is more interesting than actually eating the food that I cook for her…), I think that it is safe to say that good genetics have blessed her with an outstanding ability to efficiently convert her food!