SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Southwest Missouri farmers can learn more about the quality of area beef through a program from the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension.
The Missouri Steer Feedout allows cow-calf farmers, who sell their calves before they reach harvest weight, an opportunity to see how their cows compare with others.
Once those steers are slaughtered, the farmers will get information about the quality and grade of the beef.
"It helps our local cow-calf farmers learn more about what they're producing," said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension, which sponsors the program. "They want to know whether they need to make breed changes or other changes in order to improve the quality."
The calves will go to an Iowa feedlot for five to six months. The local farmers get the proceeds from that steer and will also get a report on the quality of the beef that steer yielded, Cole said.
Farmers must send a minimum of five head to the program. The calves will be gathered in early November to be sent to the feedlot.
Don Stuckey, a Dallas County farmer, said he has looked for different characteristics in the bulls he uses for breeding because of this program. If calves don't perform well in the program, then a farmer should make changes, Stuckey said.
"If your calves don't make money, then you are raising the wrong calves," Stuckey said. "They might look good as feeder calves, but if they don't do well in the feedlot, then something needs to change."
Other farmers have sent different breed mixes of calves to the program to compare them. Steve Jones, a Lawrence County farmer, sent calves that are primarily Angus into the feedout program last year, but this year will send some calves that are part black Simmental.
"I'll be curious to compare those two carcasses," Jones said. "I hope the Simmentals will be close to the Angus, in terms of performance."