Hy-Plains Feed Yard does more than simply feed really good cattle.
“It’s a real mixed bag of literally some of the best genetics in the world along with some of the worst genetics out here,” says Tom Jones. “We enjoy feeding the better cattle out here because they are easy to market, they eat a lot of feed, they are just fun to feed. We have the poor genetics, the high risk type cattle so to speak that we use for our research.”
The yard is home to the Hy-Plains Education and Research Center, which opened in 2017.
“We do genetic research. With GrowSafe nodes we do residual feed intake but also on the Grow Safe nodes we are doing feed additive studies. We are studying the growth development, the growth curve of cattle coming in from a seedstock operator. We follow those genetics through to finish so we are trying to see what that growth curve looks like now that we have changed the makeup of these cattle,” he says. “We are dealing with cattle that grade 100% Choice or better now—what have we done with that growth curve? We are still finding out if we are feeding these cattle properly.”
The facility stands to answer industry questions and find ways to meet ever-evolving consumer demands.
“We felt it was time… the industry has changed over the last seven years, genetics have changed, our ability to study cattle and collect data and see how that affects performance has changed, and we decided to get into that to make some improvements,” Jones says.
Besides all the research and data collection, it also serves as a hub for education and transparency.
“Part of the reason we built the research center, I travel to a lot of different places and a lot of people talk about we just don’t tell our story very well. That's all I have ever heard and that's one of the reasons why we built this place,” he says. “There is a good story to tell—we are all so busy with the way markets are and environment and weather—there is a list of things that we worry about and it is just hard to find time to do it. That is why we have a lot of tour groups out here; they keep us awfully busy but we have the time to do it.”
For all their efforts in creating quality beef, and sharing that story, Hy-Plains Feed Yard received the 2019 Progressive Partner Award from the Certified Angus Beef ® brand.