Central Plains Dairy Beef Bus Tour to Feature Facilities and Marketing

Group Housed Holstein Calves
( Maureen Hanson )

Producers and agribusiness professionals have a unique opportunity to see how dairy steers are managed and marketed in the upper Midwest through a special bus tour on Tuesday, March 27. The I-29 Moo University's Dairy Beef Short Course Tour will be held from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. along the I-29 corridor.

The tour is an educational pre-event associated with the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, and will begin and end at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, 1201 N. West Ave, Sioux Falls. Two Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists from northwest Iowa are helping organize and present during the tour.

“An ISU survey indicates that roughly 15 percent of the cattle placed on feed in Iowa are dairy steers,” said Fred Hall, extension dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Yet, raising dairy steers differs from beef steers,” said Beth Doran, extension beef specialist. “The tour features stops at two dairy steer operations and an auction facility.”

Doran will speak about the state of the industry for dairy beef during the bus ride to the first stop at Binford Farms near Luverne, Minn. This family-operated farm houses dairy steers in several kinds of facilities – open lot, deep bedded monoslope and slatted floor barns. This is a great chance to see how steers perform in each type of facility.

Over the noon hour, participants will hear from Mike Koedam, co-owner of Tri-State Livestock Auction located in Sioux Center. Tri-State Livestock is a diversified auction market selling all classes of livestock and specializing in dairy for more than 80 years. Koedam will share what kind of dairy steer and management protocols command higher premiums in the sale ring.

Garret Englin, regional buyer for JBS USA, will talk about marketing finished dairy steers. JBS USA is one of the largest dairy packers with harvest plants located in Grand Island, Neb.; Greeley, Colo;, and Green Bay, Wis. Englin will explain what kind of dairy steer carcass commands “top dollar” and offer his recommendations on how to achieve a quality carcass.

Following lunch and discussion, the second farm stop is Rock River Feeders north of Rock Valley. Kent and Sylvia Pruismann, along with family members, have taken great care to develop the 3,500-head open feedlot with special attention to animal well-being, Beef Quality Assurance, environmental sustainability and the incorporation of new technologies.

The bus will return to the Sioux Falls Denny Sanford Premier Center at 4:30 p.m.

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