Preconditioning calves to reduce their stress after weaning has many advantages. Calves that have been through a preconditioning program enter a feedlot with reduced risk for disease and less likelihood of going off feed for an extended period of time.

Dr. Oliver Schunicht, a cow-calf producer and veterinarian with Feedlot Health Management Services in Okotoks, will be speaking at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference this week in Calgary, where he'll talk about how preconditioning calves can make economic sense for cow-calf producers.

"Pre-conditioning pays if a producer can market larger groups of similar-weight calves and have developed a reputation for having good health in subsequent feedlot performance; if the producer is able to provide adequate diet so these calves are actually gaining post-weaning; if the producer has the infrastructure and the labour requirements to do this pre-conditioning; and finally, it depends on the producers' ability or want to take on risk," Schunicht says.

Producers can use the preconditioning calculator at to evaluate whether preconditioning can be profitable on their operation.