Search for Excellence in Livestock Production

D. Alex Tigue
Regional Extension Agent
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
East Alabama

Tigue, D.A.*1, , Kriese-Anderson, L.2, , Rodning, S.P.3, , McWIlliams, D.B.4, , Vining, T.P.5,
1 Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, AL, 36849
2 Extension Specialist, Auburn University, Auburn University, AL, 36849
3 Extension Veterinarian, Auburn University, Auburn University, AL, 36849
4 County Extension Coordinator, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Tuscumbia, AL, 35674
5 Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Moulton, AL, 35650

As a largely cow-calf state with virtually no feeding industry, very few producers in Alabama ever know how their calves perform in the feedyard or on the rail in harvest facilities. This is compounded by the fact that most cattle farms in Alabama are small and do not produce enough uniform calves to retain ownership alone. To solve this problem, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Animal Science and Forages Team operates the Alabama Pasture to Rail Program, which allows cattle producers of any size the opportunity to feed a portion of their calf-crop. From March 2017 through January 2021, 3,091 calves were consigned to this program. 1,980 calves were harvested from 2017 through 2020, with 75.45% grading USDA Choice or better and 89.61% Yield Grade 3 or lower while hanging carcasses that average 854 lbs. Producers in the program receive back full detailed individual data on carcass merit, post-weaning growth, health performance, and costs associated with feeding. Additionally, the calves have averaged $70.76/hd profit above their value prior to consignment and shipping to the feedyard. This means that in additional to gaining carcass, growth, and health data that would not have been available otherwise, Alabama Pasture to Rail has generated $140,110.72 more revenue for the calves that were harvested during that period.