Meet the Kovariks. They’re passionate advocates for the beef industry and the lifestyle it entails. Their family lives in the Nebraska Sandhills where they own and operate Kovarik Cattle Co. – a growing cow-calf and backgrounding operation. If you’re active on social media, you’ve probably met them via Natalie’s Instagram or their YouTube channel where they share stories of “ranching and familying.”
Both Natalie and Luke consider themselves fortunate to have been born and raised around agriculture. Natalie is a fourth-generation rancher's daughter, growing up on a registered Hereford operation in southwest Montana. Luke is a fifth-generation rancher’s grandson from Ord, Nebraska, the small town near their ranch.
Despite their deep roots, the Kovariks consider theirs a first-generation operation. While they do some farming, they’re most passionate about their cattle business. They have worked hard together to grow their herd’s quality and quantity over the past 11 years to serve their family and future generations.
“It’s rewarding to work toward a goal for someone rather than for something. We want our hard work to benefit future generations of Kovariks,” says Natalie. “Every farmer and rancher understands the next generation is who they work the hardest for.”
Today, Luke and Natalie are the only generation working the ranch, but with three future cow kids in the mix, they hope their decisions and hard work keep Kovarik Cattle Co. flourishing for generations to come.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
The young ranching couple strongly believe in that saying. They’re always looking for new ways to increase efficiency and sustainability. Luke holds a masters degree in ruminant nutrition and enjoys implementing both science and technology when and where he can on their operation.
Technology plays a significant role in their business. They use artificial insemination, embryo transfer and genomic testing to help enhance their animals’ traits and utilize Performance Beef software to work hand-in-hand with their nutritionist to better manage and measure their cattle growth.
Saving time, effort with technology
The Kovariks started using Performance Beef after a neighboring cattle producer suggested it would benefit their cattle backgrounding operation. Natalie and Luke say their previous feed recordkeeping method was old school before they switched to using the cattle management software.
“We kept the batch sheet in the payloader, hand recorded the actual amount loaded and fed for the day and then simply transferred those numbers into an Excel sheet to complete the billing process,” Luke explains. “While this method worked, it also left room for discrepancies and errors.”
They’ve been using Performance Beef for a year. They say the all-encompassing program has made backgrounding cattle much easier, helping to save them time, effort and money.
“It’s more than a feeding program. It helps with billing, record keeping, health records and performance analysis. Our cost of gain when custom feeding is more accurate,” says Luke. “I also feel more confident that my projections are accurate when purchasing cattle thanks to the software’s ability to summarize data from past closeouts.”
Seeing is believing
Over the past year’s use, the couple can easily see discrepancies between their previous method and using Performance Beef. The technology has boosted their efficiency. They’re expanding their backgrounding operation. Luke says a major factor in this decision was his confidence in Performance Beef helping him take on the extra workload.
“At the end of the day, we can do a better job taking care of our cattle and our bottom line because of Performance Beef,” says Luke. “We recommend Performance Beef to each and every backgrounding and feeding operation out there.”
Photo credit: Sandhills Blue Photography