LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Beef cattle producers who want to enroll calves in the Arkansas Feedout Program for 2003–04 must return their nomination forms to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service by Oct. 1.

"The forms are available at Arkansas county Extension offices," says Tom Troxel, Extension beef cattle specialist. "The cost is $25 per head. The consignor must nominate at least five head, and there are no limits on the number of lots a consignor can nominate. A lot consists of five steers."

Troxel said the calves should weigh between 500 and 850 pounds when they arrive at the feedyard.

The Extension service will coordinate the shipping of the calves, which will be sent to Oklahoma Feeders, Inc., near Coyle, Okla., on Nov. 6. Producers must fill out a background information form for each calf. Ear tags will be furnished.

"On arrival at the feedyard, the calves will be identified, weighed and processed," said Troxel. "After the feeding phase, the animals will be sold on a carcass basis."

Participating producers will receive the average daily gain, break-even, net return, dressing percent, carcass weight, ribeye area, fat thickness, USDA yield grade and USDA quality grade for each of their calves.

Troxel said, "The feedout program is an opportunity for cow-calf producers to see how their calves fit the needs of the beef industry. The information generated by the program also helps producers determine if they need to change their herd's genetics or their management practices to be more competitive in the cattle market.

"The feedout program is not a contest to compare breeds or breeder, and it's not a retained-ownership promotion program. The feedout program provides producers with information about their calves, and it gives them an understanding of the factors that influence value beyond the weaned-calf phase of beef production."

Troxel noted that during the past five years, 1,340 head of cattle have gone through the feedout program.