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NETBIO to charge extra for heifers over 650lb

by Logan Vaughan

Cattle sale/ Courtesy

Your NETBIO Board met Tuesday September 7, 2021 in a special called session to discuss the recent decision by its marketing agent, Sulphur Springs Livestock Auctions, to impose a $5 additional charge on all heifers over 650 pounds consigned to the sales. 

This was to start with the September Sale unless heifers were certified open by a veterinarian performing a recent test on the cattle before delivery.  This charge would be used to defer the cost of pregnancy testing all of these animals.   The Board is aware that heifer pregnancies have created an increasing problem for the Sale Barn.  As our marketing agent, they stand behind the representations on all of the NETBIO cattle. 

The board had previously agreed to purchase an ultrasound machine for the Sale Barn to use to test the lighter weight heifers but the Sale Barn concluded this would not adequately reduce labor and testing cost to a satisfactory level.  The number of pregnant heifers accelerated with the July 2021 sale and the cost associated with the Sale Barn’s warranty reached an unmanageable level for them.

They made a business decision to start charging all consigners a pregnancy testing fee without first consulting with the Board.  The Board feels that initiating such a charge for consigning members without proper time to fully develop meaningful data and consider all possible solutions to this issue, is unfair. 

The Board also feels it is unfair to ask our marketing agent to bear the expense of testing all the heifers to ensure buyers that all the cattle are open.  Therefore, the Board unanimously voted to allocate the expense of pregnancy testing from the NETBIO’s general fund for the remainder of 2021. 

This will allow Sulphur Springs Livestock Auctions and the NETBIO Board time to develop meaningful data to determine pregnancy percentage rates on tested heifers and consider the most fair and equitable means of covering the cost of testing for all concerned parties. 

Starting with the upcoming September sale and continuing through 2021, the cost of palpating all heifers over 650 pounds will be covered by the NETBIO organization.  All consigners that place a pregnant animal in one of the sales will be required to pick the animal up within 24 hours of test determination or the animal will be removed from the NETBIO pens and placed in a holding area to be sold the following Monday. 

Starting in January of 2022, the Board and Sulphur Springs Livestock Auctions will initiate new protocols to cover the expense of testing and dealing with bred heifers consigned to the sales. 

Contributed by NETBIO

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