Factors Affecting Sale Price of Calves in Feeder Auctions

September 2008

In a three-state collaborative study, beef cattle specialists from North and South Dakota and the Univ. of Montana evaluated premiums paid for feeder calves in those states across auction sales for three consecutive weeks in October and November, 2006. The dataset consisted of a total of 68,475 calves (6,251 lots) having an average weight of 520 lb. Following is a brief summary of results (SOURCE: North Dakota State Univ.).

  • Lot sizes of 21 head or more sold for $6.20/cwt more than smaller lot sizes.
  • Steers brought $9.78/cwt than heifers.
  • Black and black baldy calves sold for more than any other color: $3.48/cwt more than white calves; $2.98/cwt more than red and red baldies; and $2.25/cwt more than mixed color sets.
  • Calves with a vaccination history (Four-way viral) sold for as much as $2.50/cwt more than unvaccinated calves.
  • Natural-raised calves brought $1.55/cwt more than conventionally-raised calves.

Rick Rasby Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE