Cattle feeders want feeder cattle that have been weaned and preconditioned with a certified health program. Preconditioned calves perform more efficiently in the feedlot with lower morbidity and mortality. Health program claims, however, range from no claim to being USDA-certified. The value of health protocol certification may vary with certifying entity. Results from a choice experiment and survey of cattle feeders indicate preconditioning programs that include weaning, vaccinating against respiratory and clostridial/blackleg, and treating for parasites are worth on average $7.28/cwt to feedlots. Furthermore, a health program certified by USDA carries an additional value of $2.37/cwt on average.


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