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.
Crossbreeding beef cattle offers two primary advantages relative to the use of only one breed: 1) crossbred animals exhibit heterosis (hybrid vigor), and 2) crossbred animals combine the strengths of the various breeds used to form the cross. The goal of a well-designed, systematic crossbreeding program is to simultaneously optimize these advantages of heterosis and breed complementarity.
Heterosis or hybrid vigor refers to the superiority in performance of the crossbred animal compared to the average of the straightbred parents. Heterosis may be calculated using the formula:
% Heterosis = [(crossbred average - straightbred average) ÷ straightbred average] x 100
Everywhere you turn there is another good reason to attend the “Rocky Mountain Round-Up,” the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Denver, Colo., Feb 2-5.
On one front are the high caliber speakers lined up to address attendees at the event’s general sessions. The Opening General Session Feb. 2 will feature Richard Picciotto, Fire Department of New York Chief and the highest ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center Collapse on Sept. 11, 2001. Chief Picciotto is the author of Last Man Down, which chronicles his harrowing experience that day. He will provide a gripping, first-person account of the catastrophe and emergency response.
Promoters and producers of grass fed beef have made a lot of claims about its nutritional and environmental benefits. One web-based marketer states, “100% grass-fed meats, from any kind of critter, are the most perfect food for man. Grass-fed meats will supply 100% of your body's nutrient requirements in perfect balance. Grass-fed meat is the ONLY food type you can eat exclusively and still have optimal body function.”
In 1986, believing beef was not only tasty but also a great health food, Bradley and her daughter Mary Lou launched B3R Country Meats, a beef merchandising program that grew into a company recognized worldwide for natural Angus beef.
The amount of land in production agriculture declines every year. In the 2007 Ag Census, USDA estimated there were 922 million acres of land in farms, a decline of more than 16 million acres in just five years. The loss has been consistent; 25 years ago, there were nearly 987 million acres in farms in the U.S. Much of that land is developed, as a steadily growing American population needs more room and the cities and their suburbs slowly radiate out into the country. There’s been something of a slowdown over the last couple of years, as the recession has put a damper on new home construction.
Raising grass-fed beef, says Will Harris, is not a get-rich-quick proposition. But he quickly adds, "No surprise there-the cattle business is not a get-rich-quick proposition."Harris has seen the cattle business both from the conventional side and from the birth-to-table, pasture-raised end. His farm, White Oak Pastures, has been in the family for 143 years; he says that helped him when he made the decision in the mid-90s to transition into grass finishing. "I have the advantage of raising cattle on the same farm that I was raised on," he says, "and that my father and his father were raised on, so the old ways had not left us completely...we did some things, and knew some things, that relied heavily on that historical data."