The ever-expanding suite of value-added management and marketing programs available to cattle ranchers creates substantial ranch-level complexity. While all of the programs are likely to add costs, the additional income generated is uncertain. Given that lots of cattle sold typically participate in many programs and management decisions must be made months or even years prior to sale, it is nearly impossible for ranchers to forecast the premium associated with implementing any one program. This second blog in the WVM series focuses on the premiums/discounts for the most common value-added management and marketing programs for lots marketed in 2017.
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Cattlemen today are faced with the challenge of determining which programs will differentiate their cattle on sale day while maximizing the profitability of their operations. With the help of detailed lot-level auction data and modern statistical methods we can gain considerable insights into the value associated with particular programs and management practices. This is the first in a series of blogs designed to provide ranchers more information about the premiums for value-added management, marketing, and vaccination programs in the Western United States.