Over the last three decades across Kentucky, CPH-45 (Certified Preconditioned for Health) calf sales have become highly-regarded as a source for premium feeder calves. The sales, which are hosted by groups of producers across the state and must be sanctioned by the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, Kentucky Department of Ag, and the University of Kentucky, require consignors to follow strict animal health and handling guidelines so that only quality calves are included in the offering.

Statewide about 50,000 head of Kentucky feeder calves are sold through the CPH-45 sales annually, with many of them consigned by small producers.

“We are in a region where many cowherds are 30 to 50 head. Consigning to the CPH-45 sales helps put attractive lots together,” says Kevin Laurent, a beef extension associate at the University of Kentucky, who works closely with Kentucky’s successful CPH-45 program.

The sale offering of certified calves has helped position Kentucky as a major source of feeder calves for the beef industry. And, interest from buyers and sellers appears to be growing every year.

Laurent estimates that enrollment in the CPH-45 sales can help producers garner an extra $50/head above the cost of vaccination. He attributes that value to the added gain preconditioned calves have going into the sale and the attractive package they offer to buyers in the form of reduced health risks.

CPH-45 Health & Management Requirements
To qualify for Kentucky’s unique program:
1. Animals must be owned by the seller a minimum of 60 days.
2. Sellers must be Beef Quality Assurance certified.
3. Calves must be weaned a minimum of 45 days; trained to eat from a bunk and drink from a trough; offered a free choice trace mineral supplement; dehorned; treated for grubs and lice; dewormed with an endectocide a maximum of 60 days before the sale; vaccinated for Clostridia (7-way) subcutaneously in the neck; vaccinated and boostered for IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV; and identified with an official Kentucky CPH-45 tag.
4. Males must be castrated and healed. Heifers are guaranteed open at time of sale.
5. All processing must be recorded on a body map and chart on the CPH-45 certificate.

Laurent sees enrollment in such certified programs growing, namely because it dovetails nicely with animal I.D. for producers. He reports that several of their state sales are taking the next step and becoming PVP certified because the preconditioned cattle meet the health, source and age requirements that buyers are looking for.

Annually, the CPH-45 program hosts several sales from August through November. They’ve even added a summer sale in July to help accommodate fall calving herds. Laurent says many of their producers are moving to fall calving, so the July sale was designed to fit their needs. A bred heifer sale was also held in May through the CPH-45 program to help facilitate some of the newly established fall herds.

The last CPH 45 sale for 2006 will be November 6 at Mt. Sterling, KY. For more information visit www.cph45.com.