Act now to enroll in IRM Pen of 5 Feedout

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Farm Forum

Delivery dates for the IRM “Pen of 5” are fast approaching for the 2013-2014 program year, and weaning must be done first. Ranchers know IRM stands for Integrated Resource Management, and part of that is measuring what is being produced.

The IRM Pen of 5 Program is a long-standing educational opportunity conducted annually at Darnall Feedlot, just east of Harrisburg, Neb. It is set up to help cow-calf producers retain ownership on a representative group of calves from their own operation through the feedlot phase, selling directly to the packer, so they learn about their cattle as well as the sectors of the beef industry beyond the cow-calf phase.

Producers are welcome to deliver as few as 5 head of steers, heifers or both to be commingled in gender-specific pens with other participants’ cattle for the duration of the feeding period. Individual weights, carcass data, average daily gain and feed intake are all reported at the end of the project so that producers can learn as much as possible about their cattle. Periodic conference calls are conducted to track progress of the cattle and to determine the best marketing strategies for the group.

The educational aspect of the IRM Pen of 5 Program goes beyond the data captured on the cattle. There is a mid-year educational seminar at Darnall Feedlot in February with topics of interest presented by invited speakers. When the cattle are harvested, a wrap-up meeting is conducted in the summer to discuss the results on cattle in the program and additional invited speakers review topics of interest at this meeting.

Delivery of calves to Darnall Feedlot is set for the week of Oct. 14. Producers are encouraged to wean calves prior to that time so they are ready to go on feed and have the best chance at remaining healthy with boostered vaccinations.

If you’re in the cow-calf business and interested in learning about your cattle or learning about what it’s like to retain ownership without the risk of sending your entire calf crop to the feedlot, then consider the IRM Pen of 5 Program.

Contact Gary Darnall or Ruth Ammon at Darnall Feedlot (308-783-1144) to obtain more information as well as a cost/return projection for the 2013-2014 program period. The delivery time is just weeks away and weaning time is just about here, so call now to participate.