Cattlemen Helping Cattlemen
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) was established in 1953 by regional cattlemen’s organizations to assist producers on a statewide level. The OCA’s purpose today is to advocate for producers at the local, state and national level, as well as educate, communicate and provide a forum for discussion for Oklahoma cattlemen.
In an attempt to aid cattlemen, the OCA joined forces with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service to form the Oklahoma Quality Beef Network (OQBN). The purpose of the OQBN is to offer unbiased information on beef cattle value enhancement. An advisory board made up from the OCA and faculty from Oklahoma State University’s Animal Science, Agricultural Economics and Veterinary Medicine departments oversees the OQBN.
“At its core, OQBN provides improved communication among producers of all segments of the beef industry and allows for increased education,” Gant Mourer OQBN Coordinator said. “The OQBN is available to aid producers in making preconditioning decisions and capturing value of preconditioned calves when it becomes time to market,” Gant said.
The OQBN provides producers and others in the beef industry with education and enhanced access to value-added programs. The programs include health management verification, age verification, source verification, production system verification, genetic verification, individual animal identification and traceability, alignment with appropriate value-added cattle markets and increased access to export markets. Cattle producers in Oklahoma and adjacent states may participate in OQBN programs.
Typically, OQBN programs has benefited producers by reducing shrink, improving immune systems, and weight gain during the weaning period increasing market demand and feedlot performance. “In 2014, OQBN participants realized almost $20.00/cwt premium over cattle that had no weaning or health history. The value of gain for those calves continued to be well over a 1$/lbs and cost of gain continued to hover around 0.75$/lbs with death loss less than half a percent and many producers seeing none,” Gant said. “Buyers offset purchase prices by very low death loss themselves with many turning cattle out on wheat pasture right when they got home. Those cattle also gained two to three pounds from day one.” For a producer to take advantage of these value-added opportunities; the cattle must be enrolled in the OQBN Vac-45 program following one of three health protocols, be weaned by the OQBN set deadline and be third party verified by extension personnel. “The OQBN Vac-45 health verification program assists producers in meeting management requirements so cattle can be marketed as OQBN Vac-45 cattle,” Gant said.
“Last winter proved to be challenge for many in the state due to lack of rain, and this summer has presented challenges for some producers with too much rain. Pasture conditions are in good shape,” Gant Mourer said. “At this point many producers are deciding how to market calves this fall. With continuing high cattle prices, the decision to precondition calves prior to shipping will be much harder for some. Many management options exist and even with increased prices, those management options are still valuable to producers and may have more value than many think.”
“Once verified producers have the option but, are not obligated to market cattle in a certified OQBN sale.” To ensure a buyer is purchasing OQBN certified cattle outside of one of these sales, ask the seller for paperwork stating they have followed OQBN protocol.