Supplying the brand pays close attention to cow herds

US - Pay attention to the consumer. Cattle producers everywhere are hearing that message. They understand that it’s really just asking them to pay more attention to their cow herds.
calendar icon 22 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

According to Cattle-Fax, less than half of today’s finished cattle are sold on value-based grids that reward quality. However, the spread between Choice and Select beef value continues to widen, and Cattle-Fax projects grid sales will account for more than 60 percent of fat cattle sales by 2010.

That could be an opportunity for producers of high-quality cattle, says Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) vice president. Although an estimated 60 percent of the nation’s cows are now Angus based, many are of unknown genetics or not focused on the carcass value.

“Producers who are using Angus simply for hide-color are not doing themselves or the industry any good,” Corah said. “On the other hand, there’s tremendous value in focusing on the end product.”

Progress can be made through selection for carcass traits, such as marbling or taste fat.

The Mike Kasten Alliance, Millersville, Mo., charted genetics in a pen of steers in 1999, noting the generations that were above breed average for marbling. By the third generation, calves moved up from 25 percent CAB brand acceptance to 100 percent CAB and Prime.

“Starting with the right calves is just the first step,” said Mark McCully, CAB supply development director. “Then there are droves of management options that also need to be weighed.”

Stress can cause many health problems, which hurt grade, said Bob Larson, Kansas State University Extension veterinarian.

His suggestions: at weaning, don’t stack castration and trucking on top of the separation anxiety. Castration should be done by three months of age.

Facilities are another key.


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