Beef Empire Days committee introduces Feeder Cattle Challenge for 2012
By Jennifer M. Latzke
The Beef Empire Days committee was faced with challenge--how to get more feed yard involvement in the event that promotes the cattle feeding industry in the High Plains. Bobby Nix, Beef Empire Days chairman, said they've decided that updating the BEST (Beef Empire Steer Trial) contest and creating the Feeder Cattle Challenge may do just that.
"Beef Empire Days is supposed to promote beef, but we wanted more involvement and participation and to get the community engaged," Nix said. "Garden City is the place to feed cattle, and we wanted more involvement from our feed yards. And we wanted a contest that was more indicative and representative of real world cattle feeding."
The Feeder Cattle Challenge will be essentially a pen-of-three jackpot contest, building off of previous years' BEST contest.
The Beef Empire Days committee will begin by having an independent cattle buyer purchase a pen of 650- to 750-pound heifers, which will be delivered to a host feed yard chosen by the BED board of directors the week of Jan. 9. Once the heifers are acclimated, a live auction will be held at the feed yard, as well as on video, around Jan. 14.
Participants pay a $3,000 fee for the opportunity to bid and buy three heifers that will make up their entry--attempting to put together the highest gaining pen for the least amount of inputs. Just like in the real world of cattle feeding, participants will have pen averages, in-weights and costs available, but won't know anything else about the cattle. The heifers will be auctioned off one head at a time per hundredweight. Buyers will retain ownership of their pens of three.
"You have to invest $3,000 to play, but you also buy the cattle and own them and can make money on them alone," Nix said. BED will keep 10 percent of the pot from the $3,000 entry fees.
After the cattle are fed for about 120 to 135 days, they will be harvested at National Beef using the US Premium Beef Grid, Nix said. The net profit will be calculated on each participant's pen and the person who made the most off of their pen will be declared the winner.
"Depending on the number of teams, there will be a payoff for each place, roughly 45 to 50 percent of the pot," Nix said. He added that this contest more closely resembles the real world of cattle feeding.
"Bottom line, in feed yards, in a commercial feed yard setting, is did you make money?" Nix said. Just as in every day cattle feeding, feed costs will be billed using the average of the pen and all individual health issues will be billed on a per pen basis.
An additional portion of this contest will be The People's Choice contest, where bidders at the Sponsors Reception prior to Beef Empire Days, May 30, will have the chance to bid on these same cattle--only they'll be bidding on their judgment of what the carcasses will bring, and use the current BEST placing method with the BED index and average daily gain categories. "You look at the animal on the hoof and say, 'I think he'll grade X and Gain X,'" Nix said. "You don't know thee genetics, but you look at the conformation and backfat and such."
"The whole goal is to have this award available at the Awards Banquet during Beef Empire Days instead of six to eight weeks later," Nix said. "We've moved the (People's Choice) auction up so that all of the awards are handed out at the banquet. We didn't want to scrap the BEST awards because that's one of the events we're known for."
Interested participants in the Feeder Cattle Challenge have until Jan. 1, 2012, to pay the $3,000 entry feed. The live cattle auction will be Jan. 14, 2012. For more information about the contest, or to enter, should call the Beef Empire Days office in Garden City at 620-275-6807, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached by phone at 620-227-1807, or by email at email@example.com.