Four heavy hitters in the beef business are joining forces to form a unique “conception-to-cutout” production and marketing alliance.

Genex Cooperative Inc., Midwest MicroSystems, Decatur County Feed Yard and Micro Beef Technologies are combining their talents and expertise forming “Cooperative Beef $olutions” (CB$) now available to cow-calf producers.

This program blends critical components of cattle management into what sponsors see as a seamless profitability package for producer participants.

“We've developed a system that ties genetics, herd management software, DNA verification, and individual animal measurement and sorting together,” says Joe Young, Amarillo, TX, the program representative from Micro Beef. “Then we link this information with a value-based marketing concept, matching live and carcass performance data, herd analysis and individual animal profitability together into an overall management strategy.”

The Roles They Play

Genex's role in CB$ is to custom design and facilitate cooperating producers' breeding programs, says Willie Altenburg, Ft. Collins, CO.

“We're here to call attention to the genetic package a producer needs to compete in the marketplace,” explains Altenburg, Genex associate vice president of beef marketing. “We can either provide genetics directly or guide producers to seedstock operators who can supply the genetics that fit their needs.”

The 38,000-head, Decatur County Feed Yard near Oberlin, KS, owned and operated by the Warren Weibert family, will feed and finish CB$ cattle. Under the direction of Dan Dorn and Kevin Unger, the feedyard's rancher relations managers, program cattle can be measured and sorted using Micro Beef's patented ACCU-TRAC® Electronic Cattle Management (ECM®) system installed at Decatur.

“We've worked with producers on value-based marketing longer than most feedlots, and the Micro Beef system is the latest technology allowing us to get the most out of the cattle we feed,” says Dorn. “A cooperative system linking the CB$ entities is another way we as a feedyard can provide a service for our ranching customers.”

Midwest MicroSystems is a software development company headquartered in Lincoln, NE. For each animal enrolled in CB$, live and carcass performance data is returned to the producer and benchmarked with his or her cattle herd based on Midwest's Cow Sense® suite of herd management products.

The company sells packaged and custom-developed beef cowherd management software worldwide. Cow Sense® is designed for cow-calf operators who wish to analyze each cow as a profit center, says Tim Davis, Lincoln NE.

The “cowboy-compatible” functions include tools for data entry and reporting at the individual animal level or for the entire cowherd, all within the security of a personal computer. The program's advanced functions allow producers to send and receive data through CB$'s integrated system.

“This becomes vital to making management decisions such as monitoring performance, breeding, culling and genetic improvement,” Davis says. “Cost-effective DNA verification is also available through Cow Sense® to help resolve multi-sire parentage situations.”

The Whole Enchilada

Altenburg says that while each company involved in CB$ accentuates the strengths of its individual products and services, producer participants can realize their optimum benefits when they are laced into one program.

“We have a cow-calf producer interested in CB$ who says he and his family are tired of raising ‘commodity cattle’ and are looking for a way of raising and harvesting cattle that have a higher end value,” Altenburg says. “I think we have something here that just about anyone can fit into and be comfortable with.”

The cost of entering cattle into the CB$ feeding phase is $5/head, plus 3.2¢/head/day on feed, which covers the price of electronic ear tags and development of individual animal data. Other management services and functions provided are based on pricing structures developed by the individual sponsors.

Young says the key to CB$ is the synergy that comes with linking separate but related functions of the four firms.

“To determine the best place for you to begin, contact one of our representatives,” he says. “Then we can work out what best fits your objectives and develop and implement a strategy to meet those objectives.”

For more information on Cooperative Beef $olutions contact: