Kniebel Cattle Company is a fourth generation ranch located in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Great-grandfather Kniebel started raising cattle in 1878, and like most operations, the base herd was Hereford; but unlike most operations there were never any calves sold! Only market ready cattle! Originally finished cattle were driven to the railhead; as years passed these cattle were trucked to Kansas City, sold to packing houses through local sale barns and eventually bought by packers direct.
Kevin and Mary Ann were married in 1990, and along with Kevin's younger brother Chuck and wife Kim, wanted to continue to finish calves and grow the operation. As a small feedyard (400 head back then), marketing the finished cattle was starting to be a problem. In 1996, we joined US Premium Beef, a cooperative of ranchers and feeders that then purchased part of National Beef. USPB pays for harvested cattle on a grid that rewards the quality we strive to produce. The cattle we like are thick, moderate, easy keeping, pound producing and also happen to be the higher grading, choice cattle. USPB rewards us for that and also allows us market access to continue feeding our cattle at home. We can then collect carcass data and add that to our culling criteria. We believe in trying to have a well-rounded program and try not to chase any single trait or fad. We also believe strongly in crossbreeding for our commercial herd. A crossbred calf or replacement female has heterosis that increases efficiency for free! Our crossbreeding program consists of a 3 breed rotation of Red Angus, Angus and Horned Hereford. We know we get heterosis on an Angus/Red Angus cross even though they are both “Angus” because of the extreme difference in the gene pool. You can see it! You can also measure it in longevity of the cows.
We continue to try to find ways to be more efficient and are currently incorporating different grazing varieties and techniques to hold costs down. Even though part of the original ranch was 'handed down', it was not enough for 3 families to thrive on! With hard work, a good banker, and maybe some luck(!), we have continued to grow the cow herd, improve facilities, and expand on the dream that Kevin and Mary Ann had for registered cattle.
There are 2 families that now run Kniebel Farms and Cattle Co., and they are the fourth generation. Kevin and his wife Mary Ann, and now their son Clay, and Chuck and his wife Kim. We run 600 cows of which 200 are 100% 1A Red Angus. We also have grown the feedlot to 1000 head and farm around 3000 acres. We have limited help, so we demand cattle that are low input. Red Angus have fit extremely well in that program.
If you have an interest in finishing some of your calves and finding out if your genetic choices have been correct, contact us for information on different programs available through us, or our Black Angus seedstock partner Downey Ranch. Thank you for your interest!