Nichols Genetic Source, Bridgewater, IA, will host two more trademark feeder-calf sales - Nov. 29 and Jan. 10, in Creston, IA. Nichols has sold 3,000 calves/year since 1995 through these special sales featuring about 1,000 calves (400 heifers, 600 steers) each. With 50-75 animals on average from 15-20 consignors, the sales allow smaller consignor-producers to commingle cattle, without losing the animals' individual identity.

The Merial SureHealth and age- and source-verified calves are sold in potload groups. Each consignor will have groups of calves from 2-3 Nichols bulls.

Using IGENITY genetic profiling, buyers and sellers will be linked in supply-chain management that will allow genetic tracing for a number of traits. The IGENITY profile, which includes tenderness, yield grade, rib-eye area, fat thickness and carcass weight, allows feedyards to more efficiently manage these steers and point them toward specific grids.

“This kind of genetic profiling allows buyers and sellers to pinpoint genetic progress far beyond simple parentage profiles,” says Dave Nichols. “We're hoping at some point to begin selecting genetics for disease resistance at the ranch and feedlot.”

With the parentage assignment, consignors will be given breeding success by bull, and a genetic evaluation for weaning weight — basically a commercial, within-herd EPD. Consignors are also encouraged to test their calves for persistent infection with the bovine viral diarrhea virus.

For more on Nichols Farms, visit http://www.mddc.com/nicholsfarms/.