Dale Swanson has been feeding cattle for over 50 years. What was once a hog finishing operation, now operates as a cattle feedlot in Pukwana, South Dakota. Dale is now partnered with his son, Joe Swanson, and finishes about 3,400 beef cattle a year in dry lot pens and in a slat floor confinement building. Dale’s years of experience feeding cattle and growing crops have shaped the feedlot’s purchasing decisions.
“Being a small feedlot, we cannot afford to have a full-time nutritionist on staff.” Dale said. “I can tell both our dealership representative and our QLF representative are invested into the success of my feedlot. They not only come out to our farm to take bunk samples to create our feeding strategy, but they also bring ideas to us on how we can better manage these cattle.” Sometimes it is something as simple as bunk design or moving a waterer to a different spot in the pen that makes a huge difference in a feedlot’s efficiency and profitability. Swanson Feedlot leans on the expertise that their QLF representative brings to them to keep them profitable. “The feed along with the support that we receive from QLF is a valuable part of our operation,” Dale said.
“We aren’t interested in chasing down the lowest priced product, we are interested in the highest value product.” Joe, co-owner of the feedlot, said. With further investigation, the lowest priced product may not
always be the least fed or the most effective product on the market. Swanson Feedlot transitioned from a lower priced product to QLF and saw a substantial increase in their return on investment, overall making the feedlot more profitable. “In the feedlot world, it isn’t about feeding as little as we can to get by,” Scott Roskens, Swanson’s QLF Feed Representative said. “It is about how low we can get their cost of gain.”
“From 2002 to 2012, my records show a $100/head increase in profit… and that is recordable.” Dale said. “When we started feeding QLF, we started feeding better cattle, our performance of the cattle was better and our cost of gain decreased.” Operating a feedyard is a lifestyle but it is also a business. And to run a successful business for generations to come, it must be profitable.