Feed Lot

DEC 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, in many cases that is true. There is a need for some- thing, and someone modifies or creates a product that can send ripples through the industry. It doesn't have to be magnificent. It can be a small adaptation that makes a big difference. Take cell phone cases, for example. Back in 1995, my husband was working as cattle manager at a large feedyard. Bag cell phones were still the "thing," but a cordless "brick" model was new on the cell phone mar- ket and would allow a user to send or receive calls from anywhere with a signal. The management team relished at the idea of being able to communicate with each other at any time, and soon my husband was pro- vided a phone. It was about 8 inches tall and 2 inches wide. It had an antenna that added another 12 inches to the height of the device. To say the least, it was bulky. And carrying it in one hand while tending to cattle with the other hand was not easy or practical. So we headed to a local sad- dle shop to see if they could create some sort of leather pouch that could be carried on my husband's belt to hold his new phone. He wanted some- thing that could free up his hands, but still be available to his boss in the main office. The saddle maker looked around his shop and found a block of wood the approximate size of the phone, and began to figure out a way to develop a "case." A few days later, the project was complete and my husband was thrilled to have a way to carry his "mobile" phone. A month or two later, we were back in the saddle shop and several phone cases were for sale. About six months later, oth- er craftsmen had their own ver- sion, and in no time decorated, plain, basket stamped, oak leaf… you name it… there were leather phone cases everywhere. My husband and I smiled. He had a handy case for the not-so-handy phone, and so did so many others. I'm sure we weren't the only ones who came up with a way to carry a bulky phone. We were innovative. If you sit back and think about cat- tle feeding for the last 50 years, it is tru- ly amazing the innovations that have taken place, and how they've trans- formed our industry. From discovering that processed grains are utilized more to looking at gene expression that is emphasized through nutrition, we've come a long way. Now drones can fly over pastures to check on cattle, and GPS re- ceivers can report back how often cattle are eating and for how long. That's why we've dedicated several pages to new ideas, technology and research. Our industry has its challenges, but it is full of people exploring new ways to improve and exceed expectations. Here's to the next innovation. FL 4 FEED•LOT  December 2017 EDITOR'S DESK By JILL J. DUNKEL

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