Recent lower corn prices mean more cattle are going straight to the feedyard. South Dakota-based Cattle Sense is finding many farmer-feeders won't be backgrounding calves as they learning to feed and finish out the cattle. Longtime South Dakota consultant Dewayne Siebrasse said the market dynamics have shifted, but the core principals of feeding cattle still hold true.
"We still try to maximize the efficiency and try to get the most genetic quality that we have to out of those cattle," Siebrasse said. "You have to fine tune the nutrition, the feed efficiency conversion, the genetic programs have to be fine-tuned to get the maximum efficiencies, in the cattle the maximum daily gains, the average daily gains, the feed efficiencies, feed conversion with your home grown feed stuffs, putting your home grown feed stuffs in the right combinations and the TMR rations to get the right feed efficiencies."
Management is only part of the puzzle. He recommends using technology to build genetics. D-N-A testing can help identify the best replacement females earlier.
"Replacement heifers produce the high quality beef that we need for this industry. So until we have them identified in the beef herd we will not know which ones are the high quality heifers," Siebrasse said. “DNA testing, blood testing, replacement heifers, first and second calf heifers, that is my goal here is to start promoting that with my clients so that they know what they have under the hide while the hide is still alive. I think it is very important with the marbling and the feed efficiency, the feed conversion, the EPDs, the milk, the mothering and all of those things are important and is going to be supplied with the DNA test."