Each fall, when ranchers unload their weaned calves at Darnall Feedlot near Harrisburg, NE, for the annual feedlot trial, it marks the first step in garnering information ranchers can use to make important management decisions. The Integrated Ranch Management (IRM) trial, which is open to anyone with any number of head, allows producers to receive performance and carcass data at the end of the trial, giving them a good idea of what type of cattle they produce.
“It is our hope that once they get all this data back and analyze it, they are able to utilize it by making them better managers of their ranches,” says Gary Darnall, who owns Darnall Feedlot. Producers evaluate data for many purposes, including performance and carcass results; however, many producers use the data to evaluate their sires.
Sire selection is becoming more important as producers work toward producing a product the consumer wants to purchase.
“We are trying to find out what a sire produces as far as carcass quality,” Darnall explains. “Ranchers can use the data they get from this trial to compare carcasses from different sires and determine which one produces a better product. Ultimately, we want to produce a carcass the consumer wants. Consumers are looking for a product with tenderness and juiciness.”