Crossbreeding may fit most producers, but it is not the only logical path, says a leading cattle feeder and an animal scientist. Tom Brink, president of J&F Oklahoma Holdings, says feeding 1.6 million cattle per year at Five Rivers Feedlots has led him to conclude: “Planned crossbreeding is not the problem. Planned straight breeding is not the problem. Breeding cattle without any consistent plan is the problem.” He commented at the 45th Annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meeting June 12 in Oklahoma City, where a series of presentations and a panel discussion examined the rationale for breeding systems.
1. More Is Not Better
We can all do the math. +100 is more than +90 on yearling weight. On milk, +30 is more than +20 and that means more pounds to sell at weaning, right? However, these EPD’s only measure output – not profit. Profit is output minus cost. Unfortunately more output usually comes from more inputs – i.e. more feed. Animals with higher EPD’s for yearling and milk don’t convert better, they just eat more per day. Bigger EPD, higher feed consumption cattle have bigger mature weights. In fact, the dam of the average +100 YW EPD bull weighs over 1650 pounds in good body condition.