All commercial cow calf producers are in the business of making money. So, the on-going question is – How do we either start this reality or continue it down its proper path? The old saying of “one calf per cow per year” holds true, but is only a starting point, as this calf needs to be desirable for the feedlot, the grow-lot, backgrounding yard, finishing lot and eventually the packer, who is also driven by the desires of the consumer at the meat market counter. The cow calf producer is in an extremely tough spot, as he or she is forced to deliver a product that hits multiple targets.
As has been established before, although cattle buyers may prefer different colors, ears or even frame size depending on their location of the country, they all stand at the bottom of the unloading ramp and demand certain traits and qualities that they believe their buyers want. Depending on what comes off the truck, they peel out their large green money clip or shake a few loose coins from the bottom of their jean pockets. At this stage they don’t care about easy calving or top shelf maternity traits as they are eye to eye with an advanced product. All the while, the owner tries to settle the knot in the pit of their stomach as they visualize potential profit figures in their mind.
Fortunately, cow calf producers and cattle buyers already want a lot of the same things. With profit margins largely determined by production costs, there are basic traits that will assist in prying more greenbacks from the cattle buyer’s money clip. Calf vigor, strong immune systems, feed conversion, conformation and quality carcasses are at the top of the list. The cow calf producer also needs to add easy calving, high quality maternal traits and reasonable dispositions to get their cow herds and calves started on the right foot, before they come face to face with said cattle buyer. Sounds like Limousin genetics to me.
Good genetics are not new, just refined and dissected to a much greater degree than ever before. At the core, a bull breeds a cow to deliver a calf. Simply put- A + B = C. Introducing genetics to a commercial herd sets upper and lower production limits for animals to achieve and while beef profits depend on drivers like weaning and finishing weights, survival rates, calving ease, and carcass grades and yields- each and every one of them is molded by genetics. Using higher quality genetics provides a larger animal contribution to enterprise profit. Essentially, superior A + superior B = superior and more profitable C.
And helping to drive these profits, genetics can change the way a herd is managed. Trusted easy calving allows for less supervision at calving season. Better disposition and temperament mean less stress, superior health and easier management. Once again, this sounds like Limousin genetics to me.
EPD’s are already like the Cadillac of cars- exceptional, but not unequivocally the end all. Genomic technology added to EPD’s are attempting to become that even better car. A simple example of this is a 2012 test case by Gardiner Angus Ranch of Ashland, Kansas and Zoetis Genetics. In short, 104 single source mixed breed yearling commercial heifers were DNA tested with Zoetis genomic technology to determine their individual molecular value prediction (MVP) for carcass marbling. The bottom third (MVP scores averaging -55.1) were culled and the remaining 68 heifers (MVP scores averaging slightly below zero at -4.7) were synchronized and AI bred to two Gardiner Angus sires that ranked in the top 6% of the breed for calving ease, and the top 1% for the breed’s index that recognizes growth rate and carcass value traits. The resulting calves were weaned, backgrounded and finished under typical commercial feedlot conditions in southwestern Kansas. Their average tested marbling MVP was +53. 94% graded Choice and higher, including 5.8% Prime and 35% Certified Angus Beef. None were too heavy or too light. A $113.10 per head grid premium was achieved at a time when fed cattle prices were already historically high.
This is only a small example of where genetics are going in the industry and commercial cow calf producers are already realizing the potential of these technologies.
“This reality is a game changer,” said Tom Brink, past president of J & F Oklahoma Holdings, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding. “First, it illustrates what is possible today with the best of the best genetics. Secondly, it says we can now pay much higher prices for feeder cattle and calves known to create exceptional value in the feed-yard and packing plant.”
Limousin is offering seedstock and commercial producers a seat on this ride into the future. Genomic technology combined with performance data and pedigrees in both males and females on either end of the performance scale will drive faster genetic progress for traits of importance.
For the commercial cow calf producer, crossbreeding by using Limousin based sires or percentage females can kick-start the delivery of what buyers want. Combined with the desired reproductive performance, longevity and maternal ability, enterprise profitability will be firmly established. Sounds like Limousin genetics to me.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.