Cattlemen may hear about the shrinking beef industry and wonder about their role in the future. They can take heart in the expanding high-quality end of the business, however.
Licensed partners of the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand worldwide sell more than 2 million pounds of branded product per day, and supply has increased 92 percent in the past 5 years. That’s according to Mark McCully, CAB assistant vice president, supply.
Overall higher cattle prices and premiums for the best cattle are two results of strong demand, but producers can take steps to move a greater share of their calves into that premium category, he said.
Genetic selection tools available on registered Angus cattle, specifically EPDs (expected progeny differences) can help any herd make progress. “EPDs are used to compare animals within a breed but you should also pay attention to the average values of the breed,” McCully said. “For example, using a bull in the top half of the breed for Marbling EPD, or those above +0.40, is more in line with a genetic focus on the CAB brand.”
Given the genetic potential, cattlemen can see it realized through comprehensive herd health and nutrition programs and low-stress management, he added. “Then, find ways to get carcass data by working with organized state programs, your bull supplier or a CAB licensed feeding partner.”
To illustrate value differences, McCully shared three scenarios with 750-pound (lb.) feedlot calves. Groups one and two were both age-and-source verified, gained 3.5 lb. per day (ADG) with feed-to-gain (F:G) conversion of 6.1. After a theoretical 1 percent death loss, both groups finished at 1,325 lb.
The key difference was in carcass grading:  Group 1 had 5 percent Prime, 40 percent CAB and 90 percent Choice or better along with 30 percent Yield Grade (YG) 1 or 2 and 15 percent YG 4. Group 2 was leaner with 40 percentYG 1 or 2 and just 5 percent YG 4, but no Prime, only 10 percent CAB and 50 percent Choice with 5 percent Standard.
Then there was Group 3, the calves without age-and-source verification, ADG at 2.9 lb., F:G at 7.0, apparently in poorer health with 4 percent death loss and finishing at 1,250 lb. They managed the same carcass results as Group 2, but came in $195 per head lower value than Group 1 under current market conditions.
McCully concluded by emphasizing the importance of marketing options to capture the value in “value-added” calves.
•    Retain full or partial ownership of calves through the feedlot
•    Direct marketing to feedlots with bonus options for carcass premiums
•    Commingled sales of high-quality calves with other like-minded producers
•    Calves backed by a resume that documents their profit potential
•    Age-and-source verification with AngusSource®, which generally returns at least $25 per head.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here