Weibert Honored as 2013 K-State Animal Sciences & Industry Distinguished Alumnus

By: Kaitlin Morgan

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Warren Weibert, a 1969 graduate of Kansas State, was honored on Nov. 15 as the recipient of the 2013 K-State Animal Sciences & Industry Distinguished Alumnus Award.  

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to an outstanding Kansas State University Animal Sciences & Industry alumnus each year. These award winners are successful industry leaders who have been selected by the department faculty.  

Weibert has served as president of the Kansas Livestock Association, president of Cattle-Fax and chairman of board for Kansas Agricultural and Rural Leadership (KARL).

Weibert grew up near Durham, Kan. working on his family’s farm and cattle feeding business.  

“Cattle have been my life,” said Weibert, “I’ve always known feeding cattle is what I wanted to do.”

Since 1977, Weibert and his wife, Carol, have operated Decatur County Feed Yard in northwest Kansas near Oberlin.  Over the years it has grown from an 18,000 to 40,000 head capacity operation with 130 active ranch customers across the country.

Decatur County Feed Yard is a family business built on three principles:
1.        Ranchers retaining ownership of cattle through the feed yard.
2.        Managing and marketing cattle as individuals.
3.        Providing comprehensive individual animal performance data to ranchers.

Weibert’s goal is and always will be to work for the producer and to help cow-calf operations improve their long-term profitability and gain more control over their cattle’s performance.  
He said that it is strong communication that allows his feed yard to be efficient and successful, but the automation and electronics used in the feed yard are what really sets it apart from the rest.  

Weibert believes in the meaning behind “you cannot manage what you do not measure.”  

In 1994 they implemented the electronic cattle management system, which allows them to track each individual animal from the time it arrives at the feed yard and through the packing plant.

An electronic ear tag is attached to the animal at the time of arrival at the feed yard.  This ear tag helps match data to the correct animal and documents it automatically in their system.

Each animal is also individually measured using ultrasound, video imaging and electronic scales to determine back fat, frame score, weight and projected feed efficiency.

When the cattle are ready for market, they are then sorted by the system according to their optimum finish dates.

Cattle are sorted into market groups where they are valued individually according to a value-based grid.  This allows producers to be paid based on the value of their beef, not the commodity price set by the market. 

After cattle are sold, individual animal reports are sent the producers.  The data included in the report reflects the merit of each animal, including the dollar value, feed efficiency, quality grade, and more, listed from highest to lowest net return.  Producers can see exactly what characteristics, costs, and gains were attributed to every animal to better understand why certain animals were more profitable than others.

With this information, ranchers can improve their herd and begin genetic improvement to create a better control over their future revenues.

For more information about Warren (and Carol) Weibert or the Decatur County Feed Yard, visit their website at http://www.decaturfeedyard.com/.

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