Kansas Bull Development
By Audrey Hambright
Awareness of industry issues and open communications has allowed Brian Hagedorn, owner/manager of Kansas Bull Development near Wamego, Kansas, to succeed with a unique operation.
Hagedorn’s growing interest in agriculture started in his youth, with initial focus on a path in agronomy. Yet, the more he dove into the field, the more he was drawn to animal science and thus he began to lay the groundwork for a career in the beef industry.
While attending Kansas State University in 2004, Hagedorn began working for what is now Kansas Bull Development and took the opportunity to become involved in several projects on the operation, eventually becoming a partner and then sole owner of the business. The LLC portion was formed in 2012, the same year they took over the Kansas Bull Test.
Now Hagedorn’s responsibilities vary from season to season, but currently they are in the midst of preparing for the 75th annual bull test sale, which will be held Wednesday, April 6. This includes anything from ultrasounds, breeding soundness exams, clipping cattle in addition to preparing sale videos and catalogs. Bulls that qualify for the program are brought to the feedlot in October. Criteria are based on guidelines from a management standpoint as well as being current on weaning vaccinations. Hagedorn also evaluates the market and demand when taking entries. The 112-day test starts in November and ends in the last week of February. After the final report, the top half that sell in the Kansas Bull Test are determined by half average daily gain (ADG) ratio and half weight per day of age (WDA) ratio.
But their sale season isn’t limited to the Kansas Bull Test. Kansas Bull Development aids in preparation for many other seedstock producers for their upcoming sales, two of which are quickly approaching. Hagedorn and his crew provide custom services for the The Gold Bullion Sale, which offers a selection of Simmental bulls brought together by area breeders, will be held on March 6 as well as the Dikeman’s Simmental Bull Sale on March 11 in addition to many more production sales held offsite.
“We’re a diverse operation, however our focus and attention is on bull development,” he said. “It’s a simple concept, but on the other hand it takes a much different management approach than just feeding beef cattle.”
The activities of the operation may be diverse, but the focus is clear.
“The core of this business is really trying to assist or benefit the seedstock producers,” he added.
His passion towards the focus of the operation is undeniable, but Hagedorn is easily reminded to step back and keep perspective of what makes the operation both unique and successful.
“We are interested in building relationships and adding value to other operations,” he said. We firmly believe that this is a large chunk of what strengthens the beef industry as a whole and has the most positive effect. The idea of looking out for others is not only biblical, but by God’s design, leaves a trail of positive results to all parties involved.”
Keeping the big picture in mind, he believes attitude and communication helps maintain overall awareness in the industry.
“We have the privilege of being able to talk to a lot of different people in the seedstock business and I think it’s really important to be aware of different situations and what’s yet to come,” he said.
Hagedorn referenced Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) as a program that received mixed feelings at first, but all that was needed was an understanding that these types of programs are for the good.
“To educate people buying beef to understand how it’s raised for them and to gain a little bit more knowledge on the industry as a whole is huge,” he said.
The crew at Kansas Bull Development is BQA certified either by online courses or face-to-face meetings. Their pride in BQA certification is evident by the “BQA certified” sign posted on their office deck.
Hagedorn has graciously welcomed livestock judging teams and beef research students to his operation in the past and continues to welcome those groups to help further their education in the industry. He encourages those just getting started in the industry to focus on integrity, hard work and being detail oriented.
“Whatever avenue you’re trying to get started in, just go for it!” he said. “Obviously the most important thing is to have a plan, think it out and then stick to the plan.”