AMES, Iowa -- Most U.S. feeder cattle are sold through auction markets. While auctions are very efficient at bringing buyers and sellers together, it can be difficult for buyers to verify unobservable traits such as vaccinations and previous management of the cattle.
Third party programs, such as state-sanctioned green or gold tag preconditioning programs, or similar private company programs, have potential to address this problem provided that buyers trust the integrity of programs and procedures.
Recently completed research by Iowa State University (ISU) Extension economists looked at the value to beef producers of using a third-party certify. John Lawrence, director, Iowa Beef Center, was the lead researcher.
“The data was from over 20,000 lots of cattle in 105 auctions at nine locations. The report shows the value of different weaning and vaccination practices, but more importantly it shows there is value in third party certification,” said Lawrence.
“All else being equal, green tags calves, weaned at least 30 days, and with a signed preconditioning certificate received over $6/cwt more than a newly weaned calf with no vaccination. The signed preconditioning certificate was worth $3/cwt over the seller making the claim that the cattle were weaned and vaccinated,” he said.
This publication is available through the ISU Extension Distribution Center online at www.extension.iastate.edu/store/ or by calling (515) 294-5247.
The Iowa Beef Center began operation in 1996 with a legislative mandate to support the growth and vitality of the beef cattle industry of the state. A part of Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Beef Center is the central access point for Iowa State University programs related to the beef industry. For more information, visit the Web site at www.iowabeefcenter.org or call (515) 294-BEEF.