The Beef Quality Assurance certification program has proven there's a payday for cattle producers who want to do the right thing, when it comes to humane, low-stress herd management.
A beef-checkoff-funded study by Colorado State University reported premiums for BQA-certified calves and feeder cattle, sold through video auction markets. The study was led by CSU's Departments of Animal Sciences, and Agricultural and Resource Economics. It set out to see if there was any impact in sale price when the marketer mentioned BQA in the lot description.
To run the study, which reviewed data from 8,815 video lot records of steers and heifers, the researchers worked with Western Video Market. The sales took place from 2010 to 2017, and covered 9 western states.
Results of using "BQA" in the lot description were telling -- a premium of $16.80 per head. This value was arrived at by applying a $2.71 per hundredweight premium found in the statistical analysis of the study data to the average weight of the cattle sold. Breaking the numbers down by weight classes, the researchers saw higher premiums on lighter cattle ($3.73/cwt at 450 pounds), and lower premiums on heavier cattle ($2.24/cwt at 750 pounds).
Chase DeCoite, director of BQA, says the study was a first of its kind to "discover if there was a true monetary value to participate in BQA."
Jason Ahola, animal sciences professor at CSU, notes the importance of sharing the BQA status of cattle being marketed.
"The value of a seller being BQA certified can really only be captured when information is shared between seller and buyers, which is consistently done via the sale of cattle by video auction companies," he says. "By sharing the BQA status of the owner or manager of a set of cattle, the buyer can access information that is generally otherwise difficult to find in traditional marketing channels."
BQA certification and assessment programs are available in the areas of transportation, stockmanship & stewardship, feedyards, stockers, cow-calf and even dairy. For more information go to www.bqa.org.
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