As a feedyard manager, you know it’s important to the health of your business to increase live weight gain and hot carcass weight in your cattle as well as to improve their feed efficiency. You also must make timely decisions that take market fluctuations into account. So it’s critical that the last weeks of finishing be a period during which you can estimate profits and finalize a marketing strategy.
For more than 15 years, cattle feeders have found a competitive advantage by feeding Optaflexx. This feed additive provides an average net return of $25 per head for steers sold on a carcass-weight basis.1 In addition, when cattle feeders add a fifth week of the product, they can experience even more economic benefits.
Get an earlier start
Benchmark® data from January 2005 to September 2018 represents 9.7 million steers in more than 75,000 pens and 7.8 million heifers in more than 50,000 pens. Based on current pricing and marketing conditions, this data shows that feeding Optaflexx for five weeks (33 to 36 days) adds incremental value:1
While added days on feed impacts body condition and slows performance, there are incremental pounds to be gained. As cattle prices rise, these pounds increase in value and support the strategy of feeding Optaflexx for a fifth week—particularly for dress beef or grid sellers.
Begin with the end in mind
“Cattle biology, target end point and market economics all figure into when you should begin intensifying preparation of cattle by using a feed additive,” says Nathan Pyatt, PhD, Elanco beef technical consultant. “Additionally, determining when to start sorting or administer a terminal implant can help you get cattle to where you want them as far as composition of gain and figuring out the optimal time to get the best return for the market you’re selling to.”
Use tools to help guide strategy
Based on years of experience and research, Elanco has developed resources that focus on how performance changes across the feeding duration of Optaflexx. These resources can reveal opportunities for improving your bottom line and the performance of your cattle.
For example, the Optaflexx Optimizer is a performance and economic calculator that provides the daily cost and return for using the product. It shows where maximum net return will occur based on duration of feeding.
Another tool is the Optaflexx Market Alert, a bimonthly update with information on how the market might influence short- and long-term feeding opportunities. Using Fed Cattle futures pricing, it provides an estimate of Optaflexx net return for feeding 28 days, 35 days or 42 days, and what your target end point should be based on current and near-term economics.
“Be sure to have a target expectation for average daily gain, for days on feed and for when your cattle are going to market,” Pyatt recommends. “Combine that with a visual appraisal to ensure you’re meeting expectations and remember to optimize incremental pounds. Augment your strategy with tools that can help support or adjust goals to achieve the maximum profit.”
Talk to your Elanco sales representative about how adding a fifth week of feeding Optaflexx can help you finish stronger and boost your bottom line.