The chosen steer: Beef Empire Days hosts annual Live Show

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
People fill the stands at the Finnery County Fairgrounds Tuesday for Beef Empire Days Merck Animal Health Live Show.

Steers were judged at Beef Empire Days' Merck Animal Health Live Show Tuesday morning and early afternoon at the Finney County Fairgrounds. 

Shane Bedwell, Live Show judge, said he likes that the event showcases "good feedlot cattle, a good representation of the feeding and beef industry."

The top five steer were: #288, weighing 1,540 pounds from Sunbelt Feeders; #506, weighing 1,636 pounds from Brookover Feedyard; #533, weighing 1,602 pounds from HRC Feedyard, LLC; #520, weighing 1,578 from Triangle H Cattle Compnay; and #531 weighing 1,456 from HRC Feedyards LLC. 

It's rare to have cattle judged on foot like at the Live Show, Bedwell said. When cattle are sold the majority get sold based on appearance and phenotype. 

Bedwell said when choosing the top cattle today he looked for a steer that met industry standards, it's compositionally correct with the right amount of back fat and ribeye and they have to be sound with good structure and a heavy weight. 

A higher weight is a trend in the industry right now, Bedwell said. 

"There's been a push I think to put more weight on them," he said. "To get cattle that are athletes to get to basically a bigger weight. It's more efficient to run a heavy steer through the plant."

The top five chosen Tuesday were heavy, but Bedwell didn't think they were too big, but were dense cattle. 

"They have a lot of capacity, they have a lot of rib, they have a lot of density to them, I think they're really good cattle," he said. "These are the five that I thought maybe don't go together necessarily in type, but I thought individually as they came through the ring ... they stood out in their particular classes." 

Dave Pfinninger of Finney County Feedyard was impressed with the cattle brought in Tuesday.

"There's a lot of good cattle here today, it's amazing what our genetics has improved to and we just continue to strive to do better as an industry," he said

Pfinninger enjoyed the event and liked getting a judge's opinion on the 10 cattle that Finney County Feedyard entered.  

"It's a wonderful thing. I wish that we could have more events like this to showcase the beef industry," he said. 

Frank Littrell of Midwest Feeders Inc., agreed. His company entered three cattle.

"You get people together and you get to discuss, compare each other's cattle to each other and trying to promote beef in general just because it's good," he said.