AngusSource cattle excel against regional averages

Jul 10, 2009
by WLJ
AngusSource cattle excel against regional averages

A summary of Angus- Source fed cattle proves the program does more than just source-and-age verify.

The genetic component helps point out higher-quality cattle, says Sara Snider, AngusSource director. Nearly 50 lots of Angus- Source-tagged calves were tracked through Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)-licensed feed yards. The analysis showed the program calves graded and gained better.

“We know that the Angus breed has a higher propensity to marble and by comparing these cattle to the regional average, we were able to quantify the benefits beyond just source-and-age premiums,” she says. Fourteen participating yards in Kansas and Nebraska shared performance and carcass information on the groups comprised of 71 percent steers, 19 percent heifers, and 10 percent mixed lots. When set against the two-state average in the Professional Cattle Consultants (PCC, see box) database, the AngusSource cattle had the quality advantage by more than 23 percentage points.

They graded 79.7 percent USDA Choice and Prime (See Table 1, “Carcass Merit”), compared to 56.1 percent for the rest of the region. Additionally, they had nearly twice the Certified Angus Beef acceptance at 30.9 percent, over the 16.2 percent average.

“These numbers tell us AngusSource is identifying cattle with a greater potential to meet the brand’s specifications,” says Paul Dykstra, beef cattle specialist for CAB. “Hopefully, feeders will recognize that and manage the cattle accordingly.”

The data also shattered the myth that quality must be achieved independent of performance, he says. Although the Angus-influence cattle came in 17 pounds lighter, they ended up with 36-pound heavier outweights, at 1,258 pounds versus 1222 pounds.

The program cattle gained an additional 36 pounds with only 12 more days on feed,” Dykstra says. This weight advantage is the result of slightly higher average daily gains (ADG) on the AngusSource groups.

They posted a 3.17-pound ADG, compared to 3.06 pounds for the region. The tagged cattle did give up some on feed conversion, at 6.67 pounds of feed per pound of gain, compared to the 6.53 regional average.

Twenty lots of Angus- Source fed through natural programs provide supporting evidence. Those cattle went 86.4 percent Choice and Prime, with nearly 38 percent CAB acceptance.

Applying 2006-2008 US- DA carcass values to the two groups shows the Angus- Source cattle were worth about $1,150.15 per head dressed, which is higher than the regional average of $1,096.14 per head. (See Table 2, “Economics”) Adjusting the cattle to a common purchase weight and using a current price slide of 6 cents, Dykstra concludes the breakeven purchase price as feeder calves would be $104.40/cwt. for the source-, age- and geneticverified calves. That’s compared to the $102.01/cwt. regional average breakeven. Of course, as placement weight increases, the performance measures would be somewhat affected, but those could not be recalculated.

“This data says feeders could have paid $16.59 more for the AngusSource cattle,” he says. “They offer more market flexibility because their carcass merit will bring back premiums. They help insulate you from risk.” — WLJ