|Dos Santos, A|
Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Citation: Dos Santos, A., Anderson, J., Vann, R.C., Willard, S. 2006. Live Animal Ultrasound Information as a Decision Tool in Replacement Beef Heifer Programs. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics. http://purl.umn.edu/35347; Southern Agricultural Economics Association - 2006 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2006, Orlando, Florida. Interpretive Summary: Ultrasound data are used to sort heifers for immediate sale or for development as replacement stock. While ultrasound improves predictions about conception, the value of ultrasound the data is relatively small. This value is primarily influenced by heifer development costs and bred heifer premiums over commercial feeder heifers. Relationships between female carcass merits and the carcass merits of offspring could serve as a useful means of predicting grade and yield of those offspring. That would mean that ultrasound data on females could potentially be used as a guide to marketing decisions on their offspring.
Technical Abstract: Data from a two-year heifer development program at Mississippi State University were used along with historic stocker heifer, feeder heifer, and bred heifer prices to estimate the value of real-time ultrasound (RTU) data used to sort heifers into groups for sale or for heifer development. Ultrasound measures taken at the beginning of the heifer development program, which allowed cattle with a low probability of breeding to be sorted out as stocker calves, were found to have a positive value in most cases. This value was relatively small, however, and is not likely to be sufficient to cover the costs associated with obtaining the ultrasound information. Ultrasound data collected later in the development program improved the ability to predict which animals would successfully breed. Because of the fact that most of the costs associated with heifer development had already been incurred at the time this data was collected, this ultrasound data had little value compared to sorting on visual data or even not sorting at all (i.e., breeding all heifers). It is very possible that real-time ultrasound data on replacement females could have additional value beyond simply in predicting fertility. Relationships between female carcass merits and the carcass merits of offspring could serve as a useful means of predicting grade and yield of those offspring. That would mean that ultrasound data on females could potentially be used as a guide to marketing decisions on their offspring. Additional data and research will be needed to determine if this may be the case.