Feedlot Meeting Features Environment and Marketing

Beth Ellen Doran, Beef Field Specialist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

A survey conducted after the 2007 Beef Feedlot meeting indicated that producers had questions about facilities and environmental regulations.  In a Sioux County Cattlemen’s Association board meeting, these issues were re-affirmed along with two other emerging issues – marketing and manure values.  It was apparent that 2008 was going to be a “volatile” year in cattle feeding.

Programmatic Response:

To help producers understand and deal with these issues, a regional Beef Feedlot Meeting was held on January 15, 2008 in Sioux Center.  The meeting was a cooperative effort of ten animal health companies, one ag lender, three cattlemen’s associations, Iowa Beef Center and ISU Extension. 

A total of 171 producers and agri-business staff were reached.  This included people from three states (Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota) and 15 Iowa counties.

The following topics were addressed:

·       What is the Small Iowa Feedlot Plan?

·       Cattle Performance in Three Types of Facilities

·       Climatic Influences within Cattle Feeding Facilities

·       Beef Manure: A Valuable Resource

·       What About Age and Source Verification?

·       Cattle Market Situation and Outlook

Outcome Statement:

In a post-meeting questionnaire, over 70% of the participants who responded indicated that they had increased their knowledge about the Small Iowa Feedlot Plan, could better compare different types of cattle facilities and had a better understanding of the value of manure.  Almost half (44%) learned how they could capture the value of manure.  

When asked what environmental changes had occurred in their feedlot, over 44% indicated that they were giving more attention to lot maintenance, and 40% were providing additional bedding.  As a result, almost 60% indicated they had reduced the amount of mud and manure on the cattle.

In asking what changes were made in capturing the value of manure, 48% indicated that they cleaned their cattle pens more frequently, and 33% indicated that soils were sampled by field.

Slightly over 25% of the participants indicated that they had enrolled cattle in an age/source verification program or a process verified program.  None indicated that they had done anything toward Country of Origin Labeling.

To protect prices, about half of the participants indicated they had used futures contracts.  Approximately 18% and 15% had used forward contracts and options, respectively.  None had used the risk insurance products (Livestock Revenue Protection or Livestock Gross Margin).

When asked about what changes they had made to enhance profits from cattle feeding, 44% indicated that they had switched to alternative feeds to decrease cost.  Yet, over 70% indicated that they had made no change in the number of cattle on feed.  Only 15% had decreased their cattle numbers.

There was one glitch in the meeting.  The room capacity was maxed out.  What a pleasant problem to deal with!


140 Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: September 26, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu