Treating cattle for sickness in the feeding phase may be costing more than you thought.

“Of course healthy cattle have lower treatment costs. But they also perform much better in the yard and on the rail. That combination sets up the huge gaps between who makes money feeding cattle and who doesn’t,” says Gary Fike, beef cattle specialist for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).

To be exact, those factors lead to a $190 net difference between cattle treated twice and those that never needed treatment.

Fike shed light on the effect of health treatments on feedlot performance, carcass traits and profitability at the Midwest section meetings of the American Society of Animal Science last month. The information was drawn from Iowa Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF) data on nearly 50,000 head of cattle fed in 18 Iowa feedlots since 2002.

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