Hadrick for blog3
Following the Calves

Following the calves: The data is in! The data is in!

“He’s like a kid at Christmas time when it comes to the data.”

Cattle feeder Mark Sebranek was giving me a wrap-up on the Hadrick calves, the ones we’ve been following from Faulkton, S.D. to the Garden City, Kan., yard since December.


A big thanks to Mark Sebranek for shooting some pictures for me in July. It’s always nice to see that the cattle look as good in the feedyard as they do on the ranch.

I hung up the phone and smiled when I read this Facebook status update from Troy: “It’s like Christmas morning every time you get carcass data back on your calves. The last load went 46% Prime, 83% CAB or better and 100% Choice. That made for a nice little grid premium.”

I guess Mark, 20-year manager at Irsik and Doll Feed Yard, has the rancher pegged. They have been working together several years. The relationship, coupled with background on the animals, offers the feeder some flexibility.

“Knowing the cattle gives me the opportunity to play the market,” Mark says, noting some cattle went to harvest early to get ahead of a price slide. The first sort left in June when the market was in the $130s, and the last of three groups went August 8th when it was down to $116/cwt.

“He held on to a pretty good average at $127,” says the feeder. “It’s sort of like its own risk management.”

He also tried a new grid with one sort. “I could do that because I know the consistency of the cattle.”


Trying a new grid can be a leap of faith for a cattle feeder, but when you know they’re going to grade, it helps.

The steers gained 3.8 pounds (lb.) per day in 185 days on feed, requiring just 5.7 lb. of feed per lb. of gain. That was even after going through a 17-inch late April snowstorm that took the cattle off feed.

“Once you lose that weight, you never get it back,” Mark says.

Together, all three sorts made 83% CAB, with 35% CAB brand Prime, for an average grid premium just shy of $100/head.

“You want to see them do well,” Mark says, admitting he’s almost as excited as his customers to get the data in hand.

Almost, I say, only because it would be difficult to match Troy’s enthusiasm. Within hours of getting the harvest sheets, the producer had given it his first round of analysis.

Hadrick for blog2

Even at 83% of his cattle grading CAB and Prime, Troy Hadrick is looking at getting better.

“I don’t think there’s anybody who goes through it as detailed as Troy does,” Mark says. “When they have the passion, it drives me to have the passion also.”

Open heifers are already on feed in Kansas and those early-weaned calves are headed there any day.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the last couple years, and it’s something we’re really proud of,” Troy says, “but we’re not done yet.”

Heck, I’m even excited for next year’s data.

May your bottom line be filled with black ink,


PS– You can catch Troy’s story from the beginning by going back to the first post on these calves in December:

Rapid change

Proud to pass it on

Not in South Dakota Anymore

When plan B scores an A+When the Plan B scores an A+

Calves provide confirmation

When Mother Nature doesn’t care

Or follow along as we’ve been “Following the calves” in Montana, too.

blackinkmiranda Visit Website
I love God, my kids, my hubby, rural life, agriculture and working for CAB. I’m officially the director of producer communications, which basically means I get to learn from lots of smart people and pass that information along to lots of other smart people: you. I’m so lucky to work with cattle producers and other folks in this great industry. (Oh, and one more job perk? I get to eat lots of really yummy beef.)
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Following the calves: When Mother Nature doesn’t care
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