Breed Profile: International Brangus Breeder’s Association Building with Brangus is the Right Choice
Published on Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:33pm
As we move into the spring calving season for 2015, cattle prices continue to reach levels never before seen in the industry. Economists continue to show a strong retail demand for beef and extremely tight cattle supplies. This has also been coupled with lower feed prices. I do not want to jinx anything, but it sure looks like the cow-calf producers will have continued good financial times ahead. The value of every pound of weaned calf continues to have greater significance in the commercial cattle segment. I do not know of any faster way to increase weaned calf weight than to utilize a good crossbreeding program that maximizes heterosis.
Heterosis is simply the superiority of crossbred progeny compared to the average of their parents. Most research suggests that heterosis will increase lifetime calf production (15 to 20 percent), cumulative weaning weight (20 to 25 percnet) and longevity (25 to 30 percent). Commercial cattlemen have always understood the importance of crossbreeding to take advantage of heterosis. However, commercial cattlemen have not truly managed the full benefits of hybrid vigor or heterosis because just changing the breed of bull has merely resulted in a crossbred animal. This management style does not take full advantage of its benefits compared to a planned, complementary crossbreeding program. On the other side of that statement, it has been suggested that too many have continued to use Angus bulls to the point of reduced or complete loss of heterosis effects. This is evident in the predominantly black-hided, English-based commercial cowherd.
Although heterosis is difficult to see and even more difficult to measure, it is important to realize that lowly heritable traits generally result in a greater level of heterosis than highly heritable traits. For instance, fertility, maternal ability and longevity can see as much as a 10 to 25 percent increase in productivity, whereas ribeye size and fat thickness may yield less than a five percent increase. The American breeds, Brangus included, have retained some level of original heterosis created from the initial crosses. More importantly, these breeds can be utilized to maximize maternal heterosis which is the increased performance of progeny due to use of a crossbred cow. Brangus-influenced cows provide improvements in adaptability, fertility, maternal ability and longevity.
Research suggests that Bos indicus genetics in your herd will improve cow longevity, environmental adaptability, insect and disease tolerance, maternal ability, digestion of course forages, mineral conservation, maternal calving ease, energetic efficiency, and levels of heterosis. Florida research, using 20 years of data on 1,367 head of animals, indicated that straightbred Angus and Brahman cattle produced the lowest total animal value whereas ¼ Brahman crosses, Brangus and ½ Brahman crosses netted the highest total animal value. Dr. Joe Paschal and associates reported that Brangus calves had a higher average daily gain as well as higher net return when compared to non-Brahman, ¼ Brahman and ½ Brahman calves.
Brangus is the reliable beef breed with more than 60 years of planned crossbreeding where all of the hard work has been done for you. Brangus breeders have built the perfect replacement female that is adaptable from the west coast to the east coast, from the north to the south and everywhere in between. The Brangus female excels in efficiency of weaned calf production, she excels in milk production under limited feed inputs and other environmental constraints, and her Bos indicus heritage gives her built-in calving ease, fertility and longevity — all in a polled, moderate-framed, solid -olored phenotypic package.
Brangus breeders have built the ideal herd sire that fits the needs of commercial cattlemen. Brangus bulls add profitable pounds of weaning weight to their calves, produce outstanding replacement females, and leave feeder calves with superior feedlot gains. They require fewer days on feed and produce industry acceptable carcasses. Brangus cattle produce large ribeyes and more marbling because of their Angus heritage which continue to make them the American breed of choice.
The Brangus breed was developed to do it all. They are cattle that economically excel in the pasture for commercial cow-calf producers, in the feedlot for cattle feeders, and in the grocery store for retailers. Brangus cattle are known to produce a tender, high-yielding beef product with optimum levels of marbling which meet the stringent demands of health-conscious consumers.
The outstanding maternal strengths, feedlot performance, and carcass merit of Brangus cattle make them the reliable beef breed to build the nation’s cowherd.
Do not hesitate to call us if you have any specific questions about Brangus genetics or locating Brangus cattle for use in your operation. For information about IBBA programs or other inquiries, please call (210) 696-8231 or visit www.GoBrangus.com. Stay connected to IBBA through Facebook, Twitter or receive news updates by joining our email list.