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Calf Value Discovery Program

Demonstrating the Value of South Dakota’s Feeder Calves

The Calf Value Discovery Program enables cow-calf producers to do the following:

  • Assess the value of their cattle in value-based marketing systems.
  • Gain valuable carcass and feedlot performance information to aid in management decisions and improve profitability.

How the programs works:

Producers consign minimum of five steers to the CVD Program. Minimum weight of steers consigned in October is 425 lbs; November consigned steers should weight 500 – 800 lbs. October steers will be backgrounded until November steers are delivered. Then cattle will be fed in an accelerated finishing program at Vander Wal Yards, Bruce, SD. The Cottonwood Experiment Station near Phillip, SD, will be designated as a collection point for interested producers. The Calf Value Discovery Program will provide transportation from the Cottonwood Station to Vander Wal Yards at one of the two delivery dates.

Cattle will be weighed periodically by SDSU personnel, and cattle owners will be sent performance updates and copies of their individual feed bills. Feed, yardage and veterinary bills will be financed, and any death loss will be shared among all participants in the project.

Cattle will be sold in market groups as they are deemed to have approximately 0.4 inches of backfat by visual appraisal. Generally, the first group is sold in mid-May. All cattle will be sold on a grid price system.

Pre-shipping management:

The cattle MUST be dehorned, castrated and healed prior to feedlot arrival. Cattle that must be dehorned or castrated at the feedlot will be so processed at the owner’s expense. Consult with your veterinarian on the vaccination program that is best for your cattle.

It is encouraged that calves arrive at the facility with sufficient vaccination against important disease issues. The timing and success of vaccinating calves at arrival is less than optimal. Sufficient vaccination is considered as:

  • 5-way viral (BVD-1, BVD-2, IBR, BRSV, PI3) vaccine
    • At least 2 doses of a killed 5-way; or
    • At least 1 dose of a MLV 5-way
  • Mannheimia haemolytica vaccine: 1 dose
  • 7-way Clostridial vaccine: 2 doses

NOTE: Calves do not need to be weaned or pre-conditioned to participate; however, we do ask that you let us know if the calves will be weaned or not prior to arrival.

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to refuse any steers that are outside the weight range or that have not been dehorned, castrated, and healed.

Data provided:

  • Feedlot performance
  • Carcass data

Registration Details:

Entry deadline is September 20, 2021 (October delivery)

Entry deadline is October 15, 2021 (November delivery)

Delivery of steers to Cottonwood Experiment Station (October vs. November) will depend on the preference of the majority of producers planning to delivery to Cottonwood.  Cattle will only be received at the Cottonwood Experiment Station on one day between 8:00 am and noon MT.

Cattle will be received at Vander Wal Yards between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm CT on October 5 and November 3, 2021 (8 am to 4 pm) and November 4, 2021 (8 am to 2 pm).

To register, please contact Julie Walker or Warren Rusche at the phone numbers and email addresses listed below.

Calf Value Discovery
Department of Animal Science
South Dakota State University
Box 2170
Brookings, SD 57007