Our feedlot was setup in the 1960’s to feed a few hundred head and has grown over the years to a capacity of 4,000 head. Some of my jobs on our farm include walking through cattle every morning, Sundays / holidays / rain / snow / heat / cold, to make sure each one is healthy, computerized records for accounting and the feedlot, giving vaccinations and doctoring those that get sick.
Here is a an overview of the year-round care that we give our cattle in the feedlot.
Cattle Nutrition-utilizing feed like hay, corn, corn silage, soybeans, distillers grains and a supplement to balance vitamins/minerals needed. All feed is measured using scales.
Feed is formulated into rations according to the age/size of the animal. A scale on the feedtruck distributes the exact amount.
Health-walking through every pen, every day to make sure all is well.
There are steps taken when antibiotics are used to treat cattle.
Health Vaccinations to prevent disease – Treatment with antibiotics if they get sick and adherence to withdrawal times before shipping out to processing phase.
Cattle have access to fresh water. This means cleaning tanks often.
Cattle Comfort-use of bedding and windbreaks for extreme cold.
Removing and/or piling snow in the pens for dry places to lay down.
Cattle have hair coats designed to handle living outside.
Making sure cattle get fed at normal times during snow storms.
When it is hot, dry and dusty we wet down the pens to control the dust.
For extreme heat we have sprinklers to cool the cattle as a mist along the bunk.
Cattle at the feedlot have plenty of room to walk around and lay down.
Continuous improvements are made such as building steel fence.
Farmers and ranchers are both important in providing beef for food. Cattle are raised on grass and in pens. Cattle are content on grass. USDA says 85% of all land not suitable for crops but can be grazed.
Cattle are content on dirt. If we fed cattle like we did in 1955 we would need 165 million more acres-1/2 the size of Texas.
This is the reason we do what we do-giving people beef to eat.