The Integrity Beef Alliance is a Noble Research Institute-sponsored, cow/calf program that standardizes management decisions and supports value-added production practices. Producers in this program are already committed to retaining ownership of calves through a 45-day preconditioning program.
At the time of writing, urea costs about $750 per ton. This means that a pound of nitrogen from urea costs about 82 cents. This is a very high price and leads to the logical question, "Is it worth the cost to fertilize winter pasture for stockers?" I'll try to answer this question, but let's define the ground rules.
When selling feeder calves, it is understood that bull calves will often receive a discount over steer calves. Buyers justify this discount by claiming that post-arrival castration of bull calves will result in decreased average daily gains due to increased stress, disease susceptibility and days on feed.
In most years, winter pasture would be planted by Sept. 1 and some fields would be turning green at the start of October. However, throughout southern Oklahoma and northern Texas in 2011, this may not be the case because of the drought.