What is in this article?:
- Increased Forage Value Could Offer Vets More Stocker Opportunity
- Challenging Current Management Practices
- Research Pays Multiple Dividends
- Learning the Stocker Business
Grass is worth too much to waste on a second-rate animal. As the value of forage increases, so does the need for a herd health professional in stocker operations.
Research Pays Multiple Dividends
“I don’t know why anyone would want to do anything if you didn’t have the opportunity to keep learning,” Gallery says. “If I want to know if a product is any good, we do our own research.”
This isn’t some exercise in anecdotal philosophy. The research trials conducted are clinically designed to be scientifically valid.
“If you or a client has a question, answer it with a research trial,” Dr. Sweiger recommends. “You’ll be right or you’ll be wrong, but you’ll both learn something.”
Incidentally, Dr. Sweiger says, “Research trials have been a great tool to help me get a foot in the door with potential clients.”
At Gallery Ranch, inquisitive minds on both ends of the relationship have meant conducting a trial, learning an answer which yields another question—and repeat.
“Basically, we’re running a research trial here 365 days a year,” Gallery says. Sometimes it’s solely for themselves, sometimes it’s custom research for others.
Soon after starting to work with Dr. Sweiger, because of their operation scope and management acumen, he saw the potential for commercial research trials. Long story, short, the Gallerys began conducting commercial research trials which paid for an extraordinary pen and alley renovation at their backgrounding facility. The renovation was required to conduct the largest trials. Having access to any group of cattle without having to move other groups also meant they needed less labor.
“Having Shaun involved brings contract research to the table. That’s a pretty good indicator of the value of records,” Gallery says. “Shaun is a resource for way more than vaccine and antibiotics. He’s able to bring people to the table.” That might be folks wanting to do custom research, having the Gallerys grow cattle on a custom basis or any of a cadre of folks with special expertise they want to delve into further.
“He can serve as a platform. All of us, as owners, can put our two cents worth on the table and Shaun can help us sort out what we should try,” Gallery says. “He sees a lot of things in the field that we wouldn’t necessarily know about. He’s in the industry and can bring that back to us. He’s a good resource to bounce ideas off of. He’s a catalyst to help us change. He has been a very big part of us not doing the same thing. We thought we were doing a pretty good job when he showed up here. We do a lot of things different than we did back then.”
Moreover, Gallery says, “Having Shaun involved as a resource keeps us all realizing that we are in the food business and accountable, that it’s more serious than just running cattle.”
“Grass is worth too much to waste on a second-rate animal. Gain is worth too much,” says Tom Gallery, who manages the operation with his brother, Bill, and their dad, Dan.