Castration = Value Added

  • Published: Monday, March 21, 2022

Mt. Vernon, MO – The first part of my Beef Newsletter this month focused on bull buying.  Now let’s look at the steer side of beef production.  If you calve in the first half of the year you should have several calves on the ground.  Have you been castrating the bull calves their first few days?   If you’re a purebred breeder and keep bulls for breeding purposes the following doesn’t apply to you.

The buzz words, VALUE ADDED, are actually the starting point for receiving a premium for your steers this fall when you sell them.  Market price surveys across the country consistently show that the dock on steers vs bulls on sale day will be $7 to $10 per hundred or depending on the demand at that time, their weight and who’s in the seats bidding.  That’s somewhere in the range of $50 per head.  Yes, I’ve heard all the claims about the extra weight on an intact bull will carry but research doesn’t show that much added weight.  The only person gaining from not castrating a bull calf soon after birth is the next owner and there is some risk to them when they castrate at an older age.  If you tag your calves at birth or soon after, take time to also castrate them.

Feeder calf prices dictate that the best time to castrate is sometime early, like before he’s dry and 3 months of age.  Unless you’re targeting a market that required no growth implants, make sure your knife is sharp at all times and use it.  Many of you may choose to use bands for castration and that’s fine as long as you are careful and make sure the testicles are below the band.


Writer: Eldon Cole

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Eldon Cole

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