Pasture to Plate: Steer Performance
 Evaluation in the Feedlot and on the Rail

Florida's beef cattle industry with 973,000 cows ranks 10th in the U. S. and has the third largest cow herd east of the Mississippi. The inventory value of all cattle and calves in Florida on January 1,1999 was $936,000,000 and produced cash receipts of $312,828,000 in 1997. The Florida beef industry must continue to be competitive and we must improve the quality of our calves to maintain our market share and value.

The first step in this process is to determine what you are presently producing and where improvement is needed. Pasture to Plate is a program designed to give cattle producers valuable information about their cattle that will enable them to build on the strengths, as well as pinpointing their weaknesses, in breeding, health and/or management practices.

Pasture to Plate is an educational program for cattle producers. The purpose is to give cattlemen the opportunity to:

  • Evaluate the feedlot performance of their cattle.
  • Obtain individual carcass quality and cutability information on their cattle.
  • Become familiar with custom feeding practices and procedures, and retained ownership without the investment and risk involved in feeding an entire pen of cattle.

This program is sponsored by the Marketing Committee of the Florida Cattlemen's Association in cooperation with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

General Information

  • Cattle will be custom fed at a commercial feedyard after a 45 day commingled backgrounding in Florida.
  • A consignor may enter a minimum of 5 head of home raised steers averaging between 500 and 600 pounds.
  • Consignments are due June 15, or September 1, 1999 with a consignment fee of $100.00 per head for trucking, feed cost and administrative costs associated with collection and dissemination of the performance and carcass data.
  • All cattle will be fed as a group. Each consignor's cattle will be individually identified with a numbered ear tag and a tattoo in the ear.
  • Each steer will be weighed and a market value assigned by representatives of the Federal-State Market News service to allow economic evaluation of each steer in the lot and on the rail.
  • Cattle will be fed to an estimated low choice carcass quality grade, or to a point of maximum return potential, as determined by the feedlot management.
  • Steers remain the property of the consignor and the CONSIGNOR assumes responsibility for loss by death or injury.
  • The FCA Marketing Committee, its members, members of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service and the FCA staff are only a facilitator who will arrange transportation, backgrounding and coordinate the shipping, data handling and dissemination of the data.
  • The feedyard will receive, process, feed and market the cattle the same way they and the rest of the industry routinely do. They will market the cattle when they are finished and contract for the collection of the carcass data at the packing plant. They will individually weigh the cattle upon arrival and again approximately halfway through the feeding period. The cost of feed will be pro-rated among the cattle and the feed bill (including interest) plus the cost of carcass data collection (approximately $6.00/head) and any medication required will be deducted from the proceeds when the cattle are marketed.
  • Only information pertaining to the entire pen, or generic divisions thereof, will be made available to the public and data from individual animals will be kept confidential.

Pre-Delivery Calf Management

All steers must be:

  • Dehorned, castrated and healed.
  • Dewormed, treated for lice and grubs.
  • Vaccinated twice for:
    • IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV
    • Haemophilus Somnus
    • Pasteurella (toxoid + cell antigen)
    • 5 way Leptospirosis
    • 7 way Clostridia (blackleg)
    The second round of vaccinations must be administered 15 days before the consignment deadline.
  • The steers must be weaned and taught to eat from a bunk or trough and drink from a water tank. The calves will be commingled and given appropriate preventative health measures upon arrival. Actual assembly dates are planned approximately 15 to 30 days after the consignment deadline. Shipment to the feedlot will be approximately 45 days after assembly.


Don't send only your best or worst calves, send a representative sample of your herd. If trying to evaluate a bull for feedlot and carcass traits you need to accumulate data on a minimum of 16 progeny. They do not all have to be fed in the same year.


  • Name: ____________________
  • Ranch: ____________________
  • Address: ____________________
  • Phone: (___) ___-____
  • Number of Steers: ____ × $100.00 = $_______.__

Make check payable to: Florida Cattlemen's Association

Mail to:

  • Mr. Jim Handley
    Executive Vice President
    Florida Cattlemen's Association
    P.O. Box 421929
    Kissimmee, FL  34742-1929


For additional information concerning this program contact:

  • Dr. Bob Sand: (352) 392-7529
  • Florida Cattlemen's Association Office: (407) 846-6221

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