Winners named in AngusSource contest
Unwavering, resolute, committed—pick one, because they’re all accurate descriptions of winners in the first quarter Angus- Source Carcass Challenge (ASCC).
The top producers and feeders share a steady focus on raising and feeding superior cattle. Beginning last year, AS- CC highlights those enrolled in the AngusSource genetic-, source- and age-verified program. Eligible groups of at least 38 head must be fed at a Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) partner yard. For 10 years, Mike and Priscilla Kasten, Millersville, MO, have been sending cattle to Irsik and Doll Feed Yard (IDFY) near Garden City, KS. A 42-head group reached 90.5 percent CAB and Prime this year, earning them the top spot in ASCC for the Central region and overall honor during the first quarter (January through March).
Beller Corporation, Lindsay, NE, owned and fed the North Central regional winners. Doug, Dennis and Duane Beller purchased 46 heifers from Ken Pelster of Bartlett, NE, that went 32.6 percent CAB and Prime.
IDFY looks forward to getting Kasten’s cattle and seeing progress each year. “They are the ideal feeding cattle,” says Jerry Jackson, quality assurance officer at IDFY. “He works so hard at producing the animal for the rail.” Kasten attributes his carcass quality to more than 30 years of stacking genetics for marbling.
“The cattle were fed real well—we didn’t have any sickness—and then it’s just simply good genetics,” he says. Kasten works with neighbors in an alliance program, providing them with genetics and management expertise in return for the option to buy back steer calves. A handful of the calves in this entry were progeny from alliance members.
“I’ve been working with those herds for a long time, so they’re practically the same cattle,” he says. With timed artificial insemination, he’s able to use the best bulls over a large number of females, which increases quality and uniformity.
Since 1988, Kasten has tracked individual carcass and feeding data on each calf, so implementing AngusSource a few years ago was a natural fit. “There certainly was no change in how we keep records,” he says, but Angus- Source provides a framework that can help any producer.
“You’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t use it,” Kasten adds. Tracking cattle is not foreign to IDFY either. “We have a safety net; in case an animal happened to lose an eartag, we can absolutely trace it back,” Jackson says, noting they’re all crossreferenced to a feedlot tag. “Once they go through our processing barn for the first time, there is no excuse that we could not get that data back to people.”
Challenges occasionally crop up during harvest, but IDFY makes sure information gets to ranchers. “Mike has really used the data he’s gotten back on individual animals,” Jackson says. “He knows exactly where his end goals are and is working very hard to meet those goals.”
Kasten is a 2004 CAB Commitment to Excellence honoree and a finalist in the National Angus Carcass Challenge (NACC) several times.
Pelster, who works with his wife, Carol, and brothers, Dan and David, employs a similar level of detail to his ranch recordkeeping.
“I wouldn’t know how to run it without them. I want to know what I’ve got,” Pelster says. He’s used AngusSource since 2004 and, every year, Beller Corporation has purchased at least some of his calf crop. “If you can get that high of quality of cattle, why would you buy other cattle and sacrifice that?” Doug Beller says. “His cattle have been proven.”
Pelster calves won the steer division in the 2006 NACC with an 82 percent CAB acceptance rate. Beller says the quality has remained constant, but numbers were down this year because of marketing conditions.
Beller took a chance bidding on Pelster’s cattle five years ago. Now he knows what they’ll do, but must take similar risks each year when finding new calf suppliers.
When possible, he looks to AngusSource. “We try to find out information before we buy the cattle,” he says. Although lot size and location sometimes makes it hard to fully utilize the AngusSource listing e- mails, he says, “If I see some on there from Nebraska, I definitely take a look at them.” For more information on AngusSource or ASCC, call 816/383-5100 or visit www. AngusSource.com. — WLJ