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February 2020 MidWeights

Craig O’Kief, myself, and my two children headed south from Valentine at about 4:45 am on Saturday, February 1, to participate in the first re-implants of the 2020 Educational, Performance & Carcass Contest. We arrived at the feedyard at roughly 6:30 am and were pleasantly greeted with the smiling faces of the processing crew. This crew is mostly comprised of immigrants from South Africa and are truly amazing with the cattle! The calves were calmly waiting in the pens and alleyway as the steam rose quietly from their backs and bodies. The folks in the back, with the help of Craig, moved the cattle quietly to the front chutes where we caught a quick weight and then re-implanted the calves before turning them loose. One hundred thirty-eight bovine critters were worked by 8:00 am and were being walked back to their pen.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, I will back up a little and fill you in on the Educational, Performance & Carcass Contest. Back in November, twenty-five participants brought one hundred, thirty-nine calves to various pickup locations where they boarded a truck bound for Lincoln County Feedyard. All participants retain ownership of their calves during the contest, right up to the point where they are bought by the packer. The participants pay for feed, medicines, yardage, and any other expenses associated with their calves to fully simulate a realistic feedlot scenario. They also assume the risks associated with running the calves in the feedlot, such as death loss and price fluctuations.

The Sandhills Cattle Association office personnel, also known as me, keeps track of the calves from pickup to the point they enter the packing house. I ensure that expenses are billed to the correct owner, the calves are maintained well by the feedyard, and track all data associated with the event.

The initial weights were gathered after a two-week warm-up period post feedlot delivery on December 2, 2019. We had to extend the warm-up to a three-week period this week due to a blizzard.] We then grabbed another weight and re-implanted on February 1. The final midweight will be gathered before they are sorted into shipping groups by weight. The last and final weight will be their carcass weight taken at the packing house.

The calves are developing well, as you can

see with the averages. I’m excited to see how they continue to grow as the contest continues!

I want to take a minute to thank Lincoln County Feedyard for being such a great host for the event and would encourage anyone looking for a yard to feed out some calves, to give Steve Schulz a call!

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