The Cattle Classification and Sorting System (CCSS), provided by Performance Cattle Company, LLC (Amarillo, Texas), is a science-based system designed to reduce diversity in cattle feeding groups to return additional value when cattle are harvested. The system does not require special identification of cattle or a large investment in equipment, facilities, or resources to operate and manage the system. The CCSS is simple to use and is easily installed in existing feedyard operations.
To achieve this, cattle are sorted using individual maturity and growth characteristics but are managed by pen rather than individually. During normal processing, cattle are individually weighed and external dimensions are measured and then an optimum target finish weight is projected. Using a published and validated growth model from Cornell University, daily growth and the number of days to reach the target finish weight is projected for each animal. Cattle are then grouped and sorted into pens based on the number of days to reach their target finish weight.
Pen value can be optimized by evaluating different packer grids against projected cattle performance to propose marketing dates optimized for the net value of each pen considering a balance of live cattle prices, premiums & discounts, and differential feeding costs. “Pen Value Optimization” allows a marketing date to be determined based on maximizing total net value rather than by a specific end point based on body composition only.
To maximize feed pen utilization and receive the economic advantage of feeding full pens, sort pen division boundaries are dynamically adjusted statistically by the system during the sorting process to proportionally fill each sort pen. Although a few cattle may be placed with a different group other than with their optimal group, these cattle tend to be near the boundary of adjacent groups and therefore are of minor consequence in relation to the overall average of the pen.
Group information for each pen, including measurement and projection information for the population, is recorded in the CCSS database. Cattle are fed and managed by feed pen using statistics and averages based on the actual composition of the group. Recorded cattle information is not tied to any particular animal because they are managed as a group. No special identification of cattle is required and therefore feed yards are free to implement the tagging policy that best meets their needs.