Performance Beef Builds Peace of Mind

Brad and his brother Jeremy are fifth-generation cattle feeders based in Michigan. They run the operation alongside their parents, Ed and Kathy. The four of them have equal say in the operation. Brad manages the feeding side of things, Jeremy takes care of herd health and manure, Ed plays a supporting role for his sons and Kathy does the books. 

The Dunlaps keep plenty busy, raising most of their own feedstuffs including corn and soybeans. 

“We've always enjoyed the cows,” Brad says. “We take pride in being able to raise quality animals to feed people, and to do it year in and year out is a blessing on its own.”

The brothers have been expanding Dunlap Farms since 2013, creating more feedlot space and adding numbers while still running their own cows. When the beef market fell in 2017, Brad and Jeremy decided he needed to do something a little different to keep things running.

Jeremy came up with the idea to try their hand at custom feeding. It removed substantial risk. Plus, cashflow was easier; the brothers had a monthly income and expenses they could count on. 

Brad and Jeremy had relationships with dairy operations looking for cooperators and before long, they filled their yard with mostly dairy or dairy-on-beef calves. Though the shift was a welcome change, it came with some headaches, too.

Change brings more stress

Like many cattle producers, the Dunlaps used a spreadsheet to keep track of everything from feeding to health and management details.

“I was terrible at it, even when I would remember to fill it in,” Brad says. “Once we started custom feeding, I'd sit down monthly at invoice time and try to remember what happened so I could fill in the information I missed. It was such a headache trying to come up with a value figure for everything.”

During a conversation with his seedstock supplier, Craig Bieber of Bieber Red Angus, Brad learned about Performance Beef and all the benefits it could provide. Since they had a strong and trusting relationship, Brad decided to give it a try.

Accurately calculating inputs

Performance Beef helps Brad know exactly what he's feeding to each pen and its value. When he mixes rations, it calculates the ingredients and the extra few pounds that get added by accident. Previously, this extra feed was being physically added but he wasn't getting paid for it.

Brad’s favorite part of Performance Beef? Knowing exactly what he puts in and takes out of the mixer each day. He estimates by using a spreadsheet, his numbers were likely off by at least 10%, simply because of guesswork and forgetting to document changes.

“We've zeroed in our numbers and know right where we're at,” he says. “Whether it saves me money or not, I know it's accurate. If I was off by 10% before when dumping an extra scoop into the mixer, I wasn’t getting paid for it. Now I’m sure I am.”

Confidence in sharing data and value

Brad especially likes Performance Beef for closing out pens. He can go back and share accurate data with the cattle owners, letting them know exactly how their animals are doing.



“Beyond helping me keep better track of inputs and feed, and lowering my stress levels, the customer service aspect is top-notch,” he says. “If I call, somebody answers. It's not ‘maybe they'll call back later, or next week.’ Somebody will answer right then.”


Brad recommends Performance Beef for ease of use, customer service, time savings and stress reduction. 

“In today's agricultural landscape, it's an awesome technology.”


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