SAVING TIME FROM FEEDING TO FINANCIALS
Calvin Lowry, the man behind Lowry Ranch near Prairie View, Kansas, is a cattleman through and through. He knows that keeping a close eye on costs is essential to success.
“I started my cattle operation from ground zero in 1990, and in 2010 I built the feedlot from scratch on my own.” Calvin has also been a representative for Superior Livestock for 30 years.
Today, Lowry Ranch is a 450-head commercial cow-calf operation and a 1,000-head backgrounding setup run by Calvin and his family.
Boosting efficiency and improving accuracy
More than half the cattle on feed at Lowry Ranch are custom cattle.
“One of the things that has always taken up time is monthly billing on our customers’ cattle,” Calvin explains. “When we were running cattle through the chute, either my wife or I would have to write down a number and a weight, put it on a spreadsheet and then have to send that out. What pen, how much feed, what ration they were on, adjusting the price of feedstuffs – there was a lot of room for mistakes and a lot of paperwork.”
His wife spent countless hours deciphering numbers scribbled in dirty, wet, manure-covered notebooks to input data on a spreadsheet and keep up with billing. While their recordkeeping worked, it was cumbersome, frustrating and tiring.
“My wife always complained about having to do spreadsheets if she wasn’t the one at chute-side to write down the numbers and weights when we were processing,” says Calvin.
In 2020 Calvin ran across an article about Performance Beef that piqued his interest. “I remember thinking to myself, it sure would be a lot more efficient for me instead of having to write everything down on paper and then put it on spreadsheets,” he recalls.
Rather quickly, the Performance Livestock Analytics team had Calvin set up. With his iPad mounted to the feed-truck windshield, they were ready to feed.
Calvin also installed Bluetooth scale readers and tagged cattle with UHF ear tags so they could easily process groups of cattle, automatically syncing data chute-side with Performance Beef. Calvin’s son was quickly able to record health data in the app on his cell phone chute-side rather than searching for that little piece of paper tucked in a pocket somewhere.
“Turns out, the Performance Beef technology is way more efficient and our records are instantly accurate. Now my wife thinks I’m the coolest guy around, and she doesn’t have to do anything on the records,” Calvin says.
Making decisions from anywhere
In 2022 Calvin was hospitalized with COVID-19. While his son kept things going at the ranch, Calvin witnessed Performance Beef’s integral role in keeping everyone on their team informed. All the data was available in one place, accessible from anywhere.
“My son would text me and say we need to bump up the feed in a certain pen. As crazy as it seems, I could do that right from my hospital bed,” explains Calvin. “With my emails every day from Performance Beef, I could monitor the accuracy at feeding even though I wasn’t able to be out there in the feed truck.”
He’s the kind of cattleman who loves hopping in the feed truck each day and monitoring the health of his cattle. Performance Beef streamlined recordkeeping and also eased the stress of caring for the cattle when he couldn’t physically be there.
“If I can learn how to use this technology at 60 years old, anyone can,” Calvin said with a laugh.