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Lt. Governor Adam Gregg visited Werner Feed Efficiency Testing Center of Diagonal last week. Clint and Joe Werner were honored to have him visit their business and enjoyed telling him about their operation.
Werner Feed Efficiency Testing Center is a facility that measures the daily feed intake of individual beef cattle with the use of specialized feed bunks and specialized technology. This individual feed intake data along with each animal’s average daily weight gain is used to determine which animals do the best job converting the feed they eat into beef.
Werners started testing for feed efficiency about 12 years ago when Will and Bonnie Larson (Clint and Joe’s sister and brother-in-law) purchased the facility. Clint and Joe took over the business and manage the cattle and the facilities while Bonnie manages the data and finances.
To say there was a steep learning curve in their understanding of the business would be an understatement. But Clint and Joe worked closely with researchers and nutritionists at Iowa State University and national breed associations to learn more about the various aspects of feed efficiency testing. Bonnie worked closely with the Small Business Development Center in Creston to gain a better understanding of the finances.
The goal of feed efficiency testing is to identify cattle with the highest efficiency and use those genetics in the beef herd. Over the past ten years of testing and selecting for efficiency, Werners have seen the amount of feed needed to produce a pound of beef decrease from 7 to 5.5 pounds of feed in their own herd. Quite an improvement!
As well as testing their own cattle, Werners test various breeds for other producers across the Midwest. By selecting for efficiency, Werners and other progressive cattlemen are improving the sustainability and profitability of the beef herd.