On Board with the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout

May 7, 2018


by Hannah Williams

We are excited to announce this year’s National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout has a total of 149 steers on feed from 13 states with a total of 37 exhibitors. With this increase from last year’s stats of 72 head from ten states with 27 participants, we believe this annual contest will continue to grow and offer junior members an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of feedlot operations and real-life cattle market situations.

The NJHA Fed Steer Shootout was designed to give juniors an opportunity to get involved outside of the showring, to gain knowledge about commercial cattle feeding, to better comprehend the Certified Hereford Beef (CHB®) program and to see the technologies used to gain an understanding of performance measurements gathered when cattle are on feed.

Cattle participating in this year’s contest began arrival at Gregory Feedlots Inc., Tabor, Iowa, Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017, and Jan. 1-5, 2018. Following arrival, the cattle were weighed and ultra-sounded, and then will be ultra-sounded again in a few months to give juniors an update on how their cattle are performing. Ultrasounding the cattle multiple times helps the juniors see on paper exactly how the cattle perform from start to finish and also creates an easy comparison of the beginning and ending points. VitaFerm® has donated the cash prizes for the additional contest being held in 2018. They have also graciously donated VitaCharge® drench for both groups in the contest. This industry support has allowed us to host two contests and have two different weigh dates. Overall, this gives the junior members another opportunity to bring more cattle at a different age and weight providing them a possibility to gain valuable industry education and experience.

Junior fed steer shootout participants will have several chances throughout the year to learn how to build marketing and management skills through an online webinar series that started in March and will continue through the spring. During the webinars last year, professional speakers were brought in to discuss important topics that play a major role in the feedlot industry. Some of the webinars this coming year will feature explanations of ultrasounding, the role of genetics and how they play into the feedyard along with health success tips.

In addition to online learning, there will be opportunities for participants to tour Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc., Omaha, Neb., to see where the cattle will be processed and harvested. Near the steers’ finishing points, the junior members will also have the chance to see them in the feedyard setting and how they look finished versus when the cattle first arrived at the yard. The learning aspects of this contest give juniors the ability to see firsthand how the cattle perform in the feedyard, on the rail, and then, overall financially.

This last fall at the 2017 American Hereford Association Annual Meeting and Conference Honorees Reception held in Kansas City, Mo., the results of last year’s contest were announced. The overall grand champion highest retail value steer was Tava Gustafson, Junction City, Kan., and the fed steer shootout junior of the year went to Molly Biggs, Dixon, Ill. To determine the overall champion there was a percent retail product formula used. Dressing percentage, days on feed, carcass gain, carcass quality and feed efficiency are all contributing factors that go into the formula to determine percent retail product. Feedlot performance data and carcass performance data were also factors used to determine the retail value average per day on feed formula.

With last year’s contest we were honored to have the Hereford Research Foundation donate $5,000 in cash prizes to be awarded to the winners and each division winner as well. We would like to thank everyone who has supported this contest and we look forward to it growing in the future. For a full list of results in all seven divisions visit Hereford.org/youth/njha-fed-steer-shootout.

Junior members, this is a great way to be exposed to the meat production side of the beef industry and a contest that shouldn’t be passed up. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this program in the future, please contact any junior board member or Trey Befort. We would like to thank all of the sponsors for this year’s NJHA Fed Steer Shootout: Gregory Feedlots Inc., BioZyme Inc., UltraInsights Processing Lab Inc., GeneSeek, Allflex USA, Zoetis Animal Health, IMMVAC, Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc., and Hereford Youth Foundation of America.

This article originally appeared in “The Advantage” – The National Junior Hereford Association Newsletter – Spring 2018. To download this newsletter, click below.

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