A backgrounder purchases weaned calves, feeds them to growth, then resells them to the feedlot. Nutrition, health and animal welfare are very important at this stage of the beef production sector, because cattle at sale time must be in good condition, be in good health and be large enough to consider saleable to enter into the fattening phase.
- Attend one ore more livestock auction on an annual basis for a new herd of calves to feed. Distinguish size, health status and temperament levels calves, understanding how many calves are needed to be purchase for the year according to farm size and feed availability. Bid for selected groups accordingly.
- Arrange for transportation of calves to and from the farm.
- Maintain herd health protocol for arrival of new stock, including purchasing required vaccinations and vitamin injections by the veterinarian for your location, and administering them in a timely manner.
- Monitor new arrivals for sign of illness, looking for signs of respiratory infection which is most common to afflict newly weaned calves.
- Watch for and select calves to be dehorned, and bull calves that need to be castrated.
- Maintain quality nutritional program for cattle, noting protein and energy intake according to age, weight, and environmental conditions as well as nutritional quality of the feed offered to ensure livestock are gaining weight and not losing body condition.
- Graze animals using responsible grazing management practices to ensure good grass health and sufficient quality feed for stocker cattle.
- Contact and organize sale of cattle with local buyer, who may be a cattle buyer or feedlot owner. Negotiate date and time cattle are to be shipped off the farm.
- Clean manure from feeding lot, using some as a pile and extracting the rest as fertilizer for fields.
- Prepare a time to attend a livestock auction to purchase a new herd of weaned calves.
Skills and Qualifications:
- Knowledge of ruminant nutrition and feed nutritional analysis a requirement.
- Understanding of selection process for purchasing and selling feeder/stocker calves and cattle an asset.
- Experience and knowledge of cattle behaviour an asset in working annually with new cattle of varying temperaments.