Both the type of vaccination program used on calves and the calves' breed have a significant effect on calf sale prices, a Colorado State University (CSU) study shows.

While the price of beef calves increased from 1995 to 2005, so did premiums for health management and Angus breed type. In a long-term study of calf values -- 3.2 million head in 25,847 lots sold through Superior Livestock Video Auction --CSU data analyst Mike King compared prices for three different health protocols.

King found that the added value of a complete preconditioning program increased over time from $2.47/cwt. in 1995 to a high of $7.91/cwt. in 2004. Looking at breed-type values in 1.7 million calves in the data from 2001-05, King also found the $4.60/cwt. advantage for primarily Angus calves over those with some Brahman influence ("ear") in 2001 increased to $6.77/cwt. in 2004.

Pfizer Animal Health commissioned the study to help document the advantages of its Value-Added Calf (Vac) 45 and 34 programs (Vac 34 doesn't require calves to be weaned). The programs studied were. Calves may have received clostridial and pasteurella vaccines, but not respiratory viral vaccines (NT);

Calves received clostridial, pasteurella and 4-way respiratory vaccine at 2-4 weeks pre-shipping (Vac 34);

Calves received full vaccination schedule plus boosters at weaning and weaned 45 days pre-sale (Vac 45). Mark McCully, Angus Beef LLC (CAB) director of supply development and a co-author of the report, says non-vaccinated calves comprised 45% of the data set in 1995, but only 4% in 2005. Meanwhile, the Vac-45 cattle increased in that time from 3% to 26%.

Breed type had a significant effect on calf prices in every year of the study, McCully says. Starting five years ago, King separated types into five categories. Breeds were classified by seller description as mixed English or English crosses, English-Continental crosses, primarily Angus, black or black-whitefaced, and cattle with "ear."

McCully says the average premium for primarily Angus calves for those years was higher than for any other type, including the crossbred black and black-whitefaced calves. -- Certified Angus Beef release