Beefmaster: The Best of Both Worlds
Published on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 3:29pm
“Beautiful females are what we are after and that’s what Beefmaster bulls do for us,” says Travis Brown of Lykes Brothers Ranch in Okeechobee, Florida. This is the common language used by commercial cattlemen throughout the United States, appreciating the superior females that Beefmaster bulls produce. As our country is steadily working its way out of drought conditions and rebuilding cattle herds, there is a stronger emphasis on purchasing the right bull to produce superior replacement females. Cattle prices are up and cattlemen are overall experiencing a good year. However, it can become expensive to purchase high-end replacement females to rebuild excellent cattle herds. This gives to reason why commercial cattlemen are demanding Beefmaster bulls to aid in producing and retaining superior replacement females within their herds.
“The Beefmaster female is the key to my cattle operation,” says John McCarthy of Running M Ranch in Dade City, Florida.Cattlemen understand that Beefmaster bulls are the best of both worlds by producing extremely fertile and functional females needed to rebuild America’s cowherds while simultaneously producing profitable and efficient feeder calves that deliver results necessary to thrive in today’s marketplace.
Beefmaster cattle optimize traits necessary to rebuild the nation’s cow herd due to their abilities to excel in fertility, docility and longevity. The Beefmaster breed was founded on these traits and the breed’s founder, Tom Lasater, developed the breed from a systematic crossing of Hereford, Shorthorn and Brahman cattle. Lasater’s mission was to develop cattle that offered more than existing breeds; cattle that would produce a profit for cattlemen during economically hard times in the harsh environment of South Texas.
The Beefmaster breed was specifically developed to excel in weight, conformation, milk production, fertility, hardiness and disposition. Commercial cattlemen understand the overall economic advantages and significant improvements in these traits and what it could offer to their beef operation. These include, but are not limited to, higher conception rate, more weaned calves per cow and reduced replacement heifer development costs.
“There is no better mama cow than a Beefmaster,” says Wes Carlton, a Florida cattle producer.
Carlton is the owner of Ru-Mar, Inc., located in central Florida and headquartered in Indiantown, Fla., is a strong advocate for the Beefmaster breed and has used Beefmaster and Beefmaster cross females for over 20 years. Carlton shares that Beefmaster cattle thrive in his part of the country and serve as excellent replacement heifers due to their overall low cost and low maintenance. Ernie Ford of Georgia has also been utilizing Beefmaster for over 20 years. Ford mentions that he uses the breed for the added weight gain of the calves and the value of the Beefmaster replacement female.
Cattle producers appreciate high quality calves that Beefmaster females produce and the low input cost of replacement females, feedlot steers and bred cows. These high quality calves can be attributed to the 63% retained heterosis that the Beefmaster breed possesses.
The most scientifically proven way to create higher efficiency in beef production is utilizing maternal heterosis. To simply explain heterosis, it means hybrid vigor or crossbreeding. When cattle are crossbred the produced calf that results from the mating will possess heterosis or hybrid vigor. For example, an Angus bred to a Beefmaster will have several advantages over a ‘straight bred’ calf from either parent breed and these advantages are known as heterosis.
With crossbreeding almost every trait is improved. New born calves are more vigorous at birth, resulting in more live calves. Weaning weights on F1 crossbred calves on the average are 6% higher than ‘straight bred’ calves. As weaning weights are increased by 6% in a 100 head cow herd that normally wean 600 pound calves, the result is an extra 36 pounds per calf and overall an extra 3,600 pounds of calf weight to sell in today’s market place. These extra pounds produced will result in an additional $7,200 if the calves are sold at their weaning period. Those extra dollars are a direct result of utilizing a Beefmaster bull to crossbreed. This example only covers direct calf heterosis, it doesn’t add the HUGE advantages of maternal heterosis or using crossbred cows.
Lykes Bros. Inc., located in South Central Florida is one of the top five cow/calf producers in the country and utilize Beefmaster bulls in their maternal cow herd in order to produce replacement females and to capture the maternal heterosis advantages that Beefmaster bulls bring to the table. Lykes Bros. Inc., Cattle Supervisor Travis Brown shared with Beefmaster Breeders United that he uses the breed for its maternal heterosis and fertility traits. Brown sang praises of the Beefmaster breed and Brown shared that he not only appreciates the docility of Beefmaster bulls but states, “the genetic heterosis of their Beefmaster cross calves is unbeatable.”
Crossbred females that result from a planned mating system where heterosis is optimized can positively impact herds due to the significant increase in calf survivability rates, giving the opportunity to newborns to become more vigorous, provide calves with stronger immune systems and capture relative growth advantages. These advantages better provide an opportunity to the cattlemen’s stock to produce more calves at heavier weights, which increases the overall opportunity for profit. From a planned crossbreeding standpoint, Beefmaster genetics on high percentage British cattle will rapidly address adaptability and add superior maternal heterosis better than any other breed.
Cattle producers are able to appreciate the heterosis advantage of Beefmaster bulls but also appreciate the high quality females which Beefmaster bulls produce. Beefmaster females and Beefmaster influenced females will have the capabilities to excel in the hot, humid environments of the South to the wet, cool climates up north and everywhere in between.
The Beefmaster breed is expanding due to the value of the Beefmaster cow and increased weight gain of the calves. Producers are recognizing that with the increasing input costs, the high weaning weights of Beefmaster calves is more important than ever.
Efficiency is also a strong attribute of the Beefmaster breed. In a recent all-breeds performance test in Texas, yearling Beefmaster bulls were the highest average daily gain (ADG) on test as well as the lowest residual feed intake (RFI) on test. Beefmaster cattle not only have high daily gains, they also consume less feed per pound of gain. The use of Beefmaster influenced cattle allows producers to be a low-cost producer with reduced input levels in the cow/calf enterprise. These cost cutting measures have been built into the Beefmaster influenced female and will be necessary for cow/calf operators to survive in the developing beef industry.
From a dollar stand point, no other breed can compete with a Beefmaster and this statement is fully supported by John McCarthy of Dade City, Florida. “Since 2000 our Beefmaster sired steers have sold for more dollars per head than any other calves we produce,” says McCarthy.When rebuilding a herd the focus needs to be on maternal heterosis and the Beefmaster breed has the ability to provide 63% retained heterosis in Beefmaster cross calves, as well as provide a cattle producer with everything they need from docility to fertility and efficiency to longevity. The economic traits that helped develop the Beefmaster breed continue to help cattle producers rebuild and improve their cow herd. Cattle producers get more bang for their buck with Beefmaster bulls and females, they are the best of both worlds.For more information contact Beefmaster Breeders United at 210-732-3132, email firstname.lastname@example.org,or visit www.beefmasters.org.