|Rett Blume, Pierre, S.D., was the junior division champion in the Apr. 15, carcass and live cattle evaluation contest at HRC Feed Yards LLC in Scott City, Kan. Pecos Worrell, Harper, Texas, was the winner in the senior division. Each won a mineral feeder sponsored by Priefert.|
Jack Ward, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president and Shane Bedwell, AHA chief operating officer and director of breed improvement led contestants through the live evaluation, teaching what to look for in market cattle. Those in the senior division also estimated the carcass value for each head. Contestants in both divisions were scored for their performance in the beef carcass evaluation contest led by Cargill. Combined scores from the live cattle and carcass evaluation determined the overall winners.
“I was impressed by the ability these junior members had to visually appraise the steers during the live cattle pricing portion,” says Bedwell. “The juniors in these programs are loaded with talent and this contest showed how the Hereford breed is in good hands with a bright future.”
Part of Broader Feedlot and Carcass Education
The evaluation contest was part of the third annual National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout Field Day. It is a highlight of participating in the Fed Steer Shootout, which enables NJHA members to send single-steer entries or pens of three steers to feed at HRC Feed Yards. Along with discovering how their cattle perform in the feedlot and on the rail, participants learn through a series of online educational sessions, including the chance to become certified for Beef Quality Assurance.
“The NJHA Fed Steer Shootout allows juniors to see the full cycle of our industry. From raising their calves back home, selecting mating’s for terminal endpoints and getting to learn about their performance in the feedyard, it is a true hands-on learning experience,” says Ralston Ripp, NJHA Vice Chairman. “It is a real-world program that engages youth and educates them on the impact that Hereford genetics have on the entire beef industry.”
Between the Fed Steer Shootout and AHA’s companion opportunity — the Hereford Feedout Program — 94 participants from 22 states are feeding more than 1,400 head of Hereford and Hereford-influenced feeder cattle at HRC Feed Yards. More than 100 people attended the field day.
Educational sessions at the field day included: carcass value determination and a carcass cutout demonstration presented by Cargill Protein North America; a necropsy demonstration by Corbin Stevens, DVM, HRC Feed Yards consulting veterinarian; an overview of current cattle market dynamics from Kevin Good, CattleFax vice president of industry relations; and the introduction of a collaborative blockchain pilot program with free enrollment for Fed Steer Shootout participants. As participants toured the feedyard and saw their cattle, the HRC Feed Yards consulting nutritionist, Garrett Parsons, offered insights and answered questions.
“The live animal and carcass evaluation contest components of the field day really did an awesome job of helping participants to make a connection with carcass quality and feedyard performance factors that drive value,” explains Trey Befort, AHA Director of Commercial Programs. “These kinds of activities are what really makes this field day an outstanding educational opportunity.”
Owners of the winning entries in the Fed Steer Shootout will earn scholarships and be recognized during the AHA Annual Membership Meeting October 19-22, in Kansas City, Mo.