Missouri rancher Jarod Kennedy utilized distillers grain range cubes to optimize herd health, performance and resilience amid record-breaking heat and drought.

In Boulder City, Missouri, Jarod Kennedy’s first calf heifers are thriving, boasting a 98% calving rate this year. This impressive statistic is no accident; it’s the result of Jarod’s commitment to a rigorous breeding program, focused genetics, and optimal nutrition.

Jarod shared, “Well, in reality, it’s a breeding program, genetics, and nutrition. Those are the three that make it all work.” His approach is straightforward but effective, emphasizing the importance of each factor in the overall health and productivity of his heifers.

A significant change in Jarod’s operation was the introduction of MasterHand Milling’s distillers grain range cubes, which he fed to the heifers since weaning. Jarod said he only fed one to two pounds per day but the supplement played a crucial role in growing and developing the heifers.

“Good grass, good quality hay. These heifers never got more than two pounds a day of the DDG cube,” he said.

Prior to using the DDG cube, Jarod fed his cattle a typical 14% pellet, which required four to eight pounds daily per head to achieve similar, though not quite as impressive, results.

Despite facing one of the most intense heatwaves in recent memory, Jarod’s heifers thrived. He attributes their resilience and health to the MasterHand feeding program, stating, “The energy, the protein with our grass. That put them here today.”

Jarod’s focus now shifts to maintaining his high calving rates for these cows’ second calves. With his genetics program well-established, his attention is squarely on nutrition. “My genetics are here. Now I got to focus on nutrition,” he stated.

Nutrition is crucial Jarod said, especially as he aims for each heifer to raise a healthy calf and breed back within a tight window, leaving little room for error. “There’s not a lot of luck involved. You better pay attention and take care of business. And this is the best way I know to do it,” Jarod emphasized.

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Beyond the heifers, Jarod uses the DDG cube across various segments of his operation, from weaning calves to supplementing yearlings. This approach simplifies his feeding program while ensuring all his cattle receive the nutrition they need to be productive and healthy.

Reflecting on the past winter, Jarod observed that his cattle maintained their condition, even though he reduced his feed usage by half. “I would say my cows came through in even better shape,” he said.

Through careful attention to breeding, genetics, and nutrition, Jarod has developed a program that not only withstands the ever-changing challenges of Mother Nature, but also promotes the health and productivity of his cattle. With a 98% calving rate as evidence, it’s clear his approach is paying off, providing valuable insights for fellow ranchers looking for a practical blueprint for success.


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