Reputation Feeder Cattle® (RFC) is an added-value certification program that evaluates calf group inherent genetic merit, documents its calf-management history, and then predicts its performance potential, both in the feedyard and as carcasses on the rail.
The Reputation Feeder Cattle® program is simple and has three integral parts:
RFC evaluates the inherent genetic merit of a specific calf group, and then identifies its unique strengths and weaknesses in the six traits that drive feedlot performance and carcass quality.
RFC documents that calf group’s management history (health, handling, and nutrition), and then verifies its herd of origin to ensure program integrity. Note: RFC will honor and reciprocate with other USDA PVP programs, providing they include Age & Source Verification.
RFC predicts that calf group’s performance potential of its trait strengths (i.e., growth, efficiency, and carcass quality), as well as predicting its relative economic value-added.
Reputation Feeder Cattle program enables the entire cattle production supply chain to operate more effectively together to produce animals that are better suited to meet
Genetic Merit Scorecard®
The Genetic Merit Scorecard® (GMS) provides buyers with an impartial baseline to compare different groups of calves that they are considering purchasing. With all other factors considered equal, it identifies the relative genetic advantages inherent to a specified group of calves from the ranch gate to the packer rail, based on the 10-year genetic history of the herd’s maternal base and the EPDs of sires used in the herd.
The Genetic Merit scorecard information can be condensed into the following format.
The Genetic Merit Scorecard® predicts the following two distinct components:
The GMS STAR RANKINGS illustrate each calf group’s unique strengths and weaknesses in its economically pivotal, heritable performance traits. In an easily comparable format, it provides bidders the critical information they need to project a feeding and marketing strategy that capitalizes on each group’s unique characteristics. The STAR system of displaying trait rankings uses a scale of 1 to 5, with 3 stars being average and 5 stars representing the top tier of calves nationally (only 5% of herds will receive 5 stars).
The GMS RELATIVE VALUE/CWT calculates a snapshot of each calf group’s potential financial upside, which is invaluable to prospective bidders as they determine how much competitive “working room” they have to aggressively bid on those calves. This number predicts the relative value of those calves’ performance potential, compared to average feeder calves of the same weight, based strictly on the merit of their genetic background.
In the example above, the Genetic Merit Scorecard® predicts the relative value to be: Calf Group Score of $19.22/cwt @ 650 lbs., or $59.93/hd more profitable than cattle with industry average genetics.
Note: The base is +$10.00/cwt. Subtract the base from the calculated score ($19.22 - $10.00 = $9.22/cwt) and then multiply that number by the target market weight of 650 lbs., and the result is +$59.93 more performance potential from ranch gate to the packer rail than average calves. Once calculated, the total dollars per head is constant. This means that if the base weight changes, the relative value/cwt adjusts accordingly. For example, if we change the target market weight on these calves to 550 lbs., the total value stays at +$59.93/hd, but the relative value/cwt adjusts to +$20.90/cwt.
The base of reference ($10.00/cwt) has been established to represent a group of calves sired by average bulls from different breeds in proportion to the registration volume of each breed in the United States. Across-breed EPD adjustments are applied based on published results from USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (MARC). Verified Beef has scored herds as low as $0.03/cwt and as high as $43.60/cwt, an exceptionally wide range that illustrates the variation in genetic value in U.S. feeder calves.
Consistency defines the difference
Below are two groups of feeder calves with an identical Relative Value score (both are $19.22/cwt at 650 lbs) but opposite production potential, as illustrated by their trait Star Rankings.
The group on the top predicts rapid early gain to a lighter endpoint, with a very high percentage Choice and/or Prime carcasses.
The group on the bottom predicts industry average daily gain, while earning its added value through heavier carcass weight and higher cutability (via better Yield Grade).
The RFC Genetic Merit Scorecard® identifies sale lots with like-type predicted growth performance, like-type predicted carcass qualities and comprehensive management history. Whether you are buying new calves to put in your operation, or selling the backgrounded cattle coming out, calf-group consistency is critical. Either way, the Reputation Feeder Cattle® program provides the knowledge to strengthen your selection sort! Buy calf groups with consistent growth potential, compatible carcass potential, and solid health and nutrition documentation. Sell backgrounded feeder cattle with value-added certification. Stockers and feeders using RFC will find consistent calves that fit their operation’s needs, and Packers will better supply their customers through more targeted sourcing.
Calf Management/Buy with Confidence
Consumers demand information about the products they purchase, and this holds true for buyers of feeder cattle. The Calf Management component of RFC is an approved PVP under USDA authorization. As an auditor, Verified Beef audits and documents management protocols on the ranch that impact the health and nutrition of the calf before and after it’s born. These may include records for vaccination, weaning, and post-weaning feeding and deworming protocols, as well as records on the cow herd that include pre- and post-partum mineral programs, deworming, and vaccinations.
Every set of calves has a history, which ultimately determines value. Whether going directly on feed or to stocker/backgrounder, that history impacts cost of gain and value at harvest. Documented cattle with predictable performance cost less at closeout. Buyers know that huge value differences exist between calf groups, yet they are often limited to sorting calf groups by hide color and size only. Without accurate value indicators, cattle with the genetic potential to perform well and yield good carcasses end up mixed in with cattle that lack the same potential, leaving the buyer working with just average calves.
The Reputation Feeder Cattle® program identifies each calf group’s health and nutrition history, and informs potential buyers. And to complete the puzzle, RFC identifies each calf group’s genetic makeup to help feeders refine performance projections and carcass characteristics at harvest.
The RFC Genetic Merit Scorecard® also provides the pivotal information necessary to predict each herd group’s traits strengths and weaknesses, enabling ranchers to work systematically with seedstock suppliers to identify effective matings that will lead to producing top-performing, consistent calves. Ranchers can use RFC in identifying replacement heifer selections that improve the overall calf quality and consistency.
Verified Beef’s Reputation Feeder Cattle® has partnered with industry-leading firms, including Superior Livestock and Zoetis, to help produce more efficient cattle that meet the industry’s challenges.