> I am looking at feeding some
> cattle in a feed yard in Kansas or
> Oklahoma. Does anyone have any
> suggestions? I would appreciate
> any help or insight that you might
> have. Thanks, CD.
There are several factors that should be considered when deciding which feedlot that you will do business with. Among the most important is the trust that you can place with that yard. You will have a considerable investment in these cattle and for all intensive purposes they will be out of your control. To protect your investment you should choose a feedlot that have been around for a long time and has reputable people that you can trust with your cattle. Cattle performance and cost of gains are also an important part of the equation. In general, the cost of gain will be lower the farther north that you move and increase as you go south. This is due to the cost of corn to different areas. However, weather can dramtically impact the cost of gain. In the winter, the Nebraska yards are most likely to be hit with bad weather. The Texas yards have to battle heat during the summer in addition to a higher grain price. When chosing a feedyard, be careful not to base your decision totally on the cost of gain. There is always someone who is willing to sell any product a little cheaper and in return give you an inferior product. Your focus should be on maximizing the return on your investment rather than minimizing your costs. If you are feeding at a new feedlot, it would be well worth your time to make a trip to prospective feedlots and visit with their manager and other personnel. You need to know who you are dealing with. While you are there take a look around and you will get a good feel for the quality of services provided by that yard. Is the mill clean and running effeciently? How does the health of the cattle look? Are pens clean and fences in good shape? Is the feed in the bunks fresh and do the cattle appear to be eating well? If you have a good impression on all these factors when you visit the feedlot, it is a good start to knowing that you are making a good choice in feedlots. The last thing that you should be considering is the other services that the feedlot is offering. Do they offer financing on cattle and feed, if so at what interest rate and equity requirements. What about a shelf cattle inventory? Before you place cattle on feed it is worthwhile to do your homework and try to narrow your choices down to two or three. Make some calls and schedule a visit. If you are planning on placing cattle in the feedlot this fall, you should make your contacts very soon. The late fall/early spring market looks like it could offer some real attractive returns and the better yards will be short on pen space. If you would like to visit in more detail about these issues and the feeding opportunities at any of the Brookover feedyards, feel free to send me an email and I will make sure that the appropriate people within our company get with you to tell you how we might be able to assist in your cattle feeding ventures.
Before you retain ownership this year you might want to do a P&L. With the feeder board at 91 or 92 taking the risk in retaining ownership might be too much to chew off. This may be a better year to sell directly off the ranch specifically if you have not previously fed your own cattle out. I would suggest that you find out first hand how your cattle perform by selling them to a program that gives you back info. There are programs that will give this info for no charge, remembering that the information received back is more beneficial if the cattle are not mixed with other ranches. What breed of cattle do you have? Are they English, Continental, or crosses there of? This has a factor in the type of grid or formula pricing mechanism marketed on. Continental would be more of a Yield Grid and English would fit a Quality Grid. Ask the feeder what the negotiated pricing is with the packer. Discounts can really nip you in the bud. Ask about risk management services. Agri Beef, Supreme Feeders in Liberal, KS can help you with this. Their website is <A HREF="http://www.agribeef.com">www.agribeef.com</A>. Also, look at other hidden costs such as trucking or chute charges. Some feedlots have been known to hike up a fee a percent or two from industry standard. Do your research, like I said before, this maybe a better year to sell rather than retain ownership.