A thought for a few thinkers

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A

Anonymous

> So what's your plan, Mark? Frankie,

First off I have to keep the place in Bowden available since my parents are not physically well. Thankfully they sold out before the mad cow scare. My Dad wanted back in once he saw the prioce on cows drop. But that is on the backburner until she get over her cancer. I may have to take leave to look after the place. Failing that I am going to need financing to get a land base for around 300 head- a viable operation once I get tired of the navy. Second i am going to need a silver tongue to talk my girl friend into moving to a rural area. Not too easy. She has been to Bowdelle, SD and thinks it and Aberdeen are the dark side of the moon. Bowden, Alberta to her is frozen tundra. I am going to suggest to larry Cundiff at MARC that a cooperative research program between research institutions be established on how to tame the double muscled gene so we can use it for more efficient meat production. I also have some ideas on how to get advice and small high end supermarket chains can introduced to such a product. If the product is introduced correctly the premium that certified angus gets will look low. For specifics look under the Becca's post.

Mark

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OP
A

Anonymous

> After watching the cattle industry
> for a while now from the
> sidelines, you statement
> concerning selection and targeted
> marketing makes a lot of sense.
> More farmers are moving away from
> the 'quantity' production methods
> and are focusing on quality (of
> the individual carcass).

> unfortunately, in some areas,
> leaders in the subject are not
> quite convinced of the 'pay per
> carcass' format, and press local
> farmers to produce vast numbers,
> discouraging the practice of
> purchasing fewer animals wiht
> better (more expensive) genetics.

> I recently made a proposal
> concerning a herd of cattle with
> known genetic strength being
> utilized on a smaller farm, with
> extensive tracking form birth to
> plate and target marketed to the
> buyers of choice and prime
> carcasses.......it seems that such
> a practice is unheard of here. I
> have been strongly advised against
> such production practices.

> It seems to me that selecting
> bloodstock carefully, with a
> specific carcass quality and
> market in mind, is a reasonable
> practice......a practice made even
> easier now with GeneStar testing
> and other methods of determining
> genetic potential to produce high
> grading carcasses. Unfortunately,
> it's going to take a while for
> some areas (and some extension
> service personell) to catch up
> with this thinking. Some good thinkers and ideas concerning how JL supposedly screwed up. I don't really understand what went on. What I can see,too big in numbers too big in cattle size and too many mixes of breeds being marketed as a breed to breed from. Here in Australia many breeders would not be interested in purchasing from large scale breeders running several breeds. You never really know what you are getting. South Devons in our country have never greatly benefitted from USA genetics (predominately Leachman)they have given calving difficulties and are inconsistent in quality in their offspring. Even Herefords/Poll Herefords that were initially imported back in the 70's and 80's caused a lot of problems. Breeders who imported them made money and then got out of them. I've always maintained that intending breeders should go and look at the big breeders,evaluate their cattle then go and have a look at a small breeder (up to about 50 cows or so )In most cases you will be surprised by the quality as they usually have to be more selective as mostly room to run the cattle is at a premium. So you will often find that only the best is kept to sell. High profile cattle make their mark for a while then they fade out.



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OP
A

Anonymous

Becca,

A model exists in the form of very high quaility perishable tree ripened stone fruits that were introduced by Frog Hollow Farms of Brentwood, California. Read about this unique bbusiness at: <A HREF="http://www.froghollow.com/" TARGET="_blank">http://www.froghollow.com/</A>. Jon Rowley and a very high end super market in Seattle called the metropolitan market introduced their super sweet organic peaches and they immediately sold out. Now several other growers are involved in this effort. Note the price the get is around $2.99/LB in the store. The promotion has its own website: <A HREF="http://www.peachorama.com/" TARGET="_blank">http://www.peachorama.com/</A>. Oregon country beef has tried to introduce an organic high select product and has learned some lessons. The big handicap for them is that the cattle they use hare being sold this way due to no other avenue being open to them. They are not ideal feeder or slaughter cattle. Constant supply of cattle is also a problem. They are into sustainable ranching interesting people to talk to. Check them out at:http://www.oregoncountrybeef.com. My plan would be to use Jon's and metropolitans expertise to introduce a high end beef product. I have talked about this with metropolitan's French chef. He thinks a lean and tender product could succeed. Once this product is placed in cooking demonstrations and the product works then you will have a good chance of getting customers provided you can keep up costant quality and supply. This is enough information for you to get a start... Let me know how it goes.

Mark
> After watching the cattle industry
> for a while now from the
> sidelines, you statement
> concerning selection and targeted
> marketing makes a lot of sense.
> More farmers are moving away from
> the 'quantity' production methods
> and are focusing on quality (of
> the individual carcass).

> unfortunately, in some areas,
> leaders in the subject are not
> quite convinced of the 'pay per
> carcass' format, and press local
> farmers to produce vast numbers,
> discouraging the practice of
> purchasing fewer animals wiht
> better (more expensive) genetics.

> I recently made a proposal
> concerning a herd of cattle with
> known genetic strength being
> utilized on a smaller farm, with
> extensive tracking form birth to
> plate and target marketed to the
> buyers of choice and prime
> carcasses.......it seems that such
> a practice is unheard of here. I
> have been strongly advised against
> such production practices.

> It seems to me that selecting
> bloodstock carefully, with a
> specific carcass quality and
> market in mind, is a reasonable
> practice......a practice made even
> easier now with GeneStar testing
> and other methods of determining
> genetic potential to produce high
> grading carcasses. Unfortunately,
> it's going to take a while for
> some areas (and some extension
> service personell) to catch up
> with this thinking.



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OP
A

Anonymous

Thank you all for the input and encouragement. The entire proposal and presentation (which took me weeks to prepare for, and a grand total of six pounds of copy paper that was needed to give them supporting scientific research evidence) was an absolute waste of my time. I did have one gentleman who was actually a cattleman, there for the benefit of the other extension officers. Sadly, he knows Beefmasters and Angus, and simply would not listen to, or look at, the data I had collected.

I do plan to proceed with my plans, and to give credit where it is due, they pointed out a few things that I was unaware of.......such as the huge regional differences in the pricing for bloodstock......a donor quality cow that would cost me over ten thousand in the west, can be had for less than five in the southeast. Exact same genetics, different state. [I will never understand exactly why this must be].

Thanks, Beeca



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OP
A

Anonymous

Appreciate that you made all the effort to try and get your plan off the ground. Don't give up because you happened to have presented it to the wrong people.

Still, I will caution you that you need to do more work, if you are even thinking about $10,000 or $5,000 donor cows. You won't make any beef marketing program work with those kind of critters. You need $1000 beef cows, not over hyped show cattle. Best of Luck.
 
OP
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Anonymous

Thanks John. I promise I do not plan to use those type cattle as feeders.....I simply ran a search to find lines that have precicely the EPD and and carcass traits I needed, and planned to cross these with another beef breed....resulting calves to be eventually bred back and the progeny would be the feeders.

Extremely long term, yes, but with AI and ET I will be able to not only develop my crossbred herd, but also put two different registered breeds on the ground for the fullblood auctions (and provide an income to partially meet expenses in the meantime).

B

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OP
A

Anonymous

These type of exchanges of ideas are wonderful. It is great to see you folks looking outside the box.

We in the US beef industry are experiencing some really good times, but as most of you have seen in your lives these good times don't last forever. As a matter of fact I wonder how much longer will we enjoy $80+ fat cattle and increase consumer demand. Consequently, we need to continue looking forward.

The swine and poultry industries have taken a lot of our market share away over the past 20 years and we need to figure out how to regain it. I agree with the posts that we need to start with what the consumer wants and work backwards.

I think another crucial area that the beef industry hasn't done a lot of work on is efficiency in the feedlot and in the cow pastures. Talk to the major swine and poultry integrators (i.e. Murphy Farms, Tyson Foods, etc.) and they can tell you within 3 or more decimal points how many pounds of feed it takes to make a pound of edible product. We need to get to that point so that we can identify which genetics will allow us to maximize our resources.

For example, is a 1600 lb cow that weans a 700 lb calf more efficient than a 1300 lb cow that weans a 500 lb calf. We need to determine how much more feed did it take the big cow to produce 200 more pounds of weaned calf. We then need to go further and follow these two calves through the feedlot. How much feed does it take to get these two calves to their ideal harvest point.

Please keep those good thoughts coming.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Are you in the US, Becca? Would you care to share some of your info with those of us on this board? I'd be interested....
 
OP
A

Anonymous

> I think another crucial area that
> the beef industry hasn't done a
> lot of work on is efficiency in
> the feedlot and in the cow
> pastures. Talk to the major swine
> and poultry integrators (i.e.
> Murphy Farms, Tyson Foods, etc.)
> and they can tell you within 3 or
> more decimal points how many
> pounds of feed it takes to make a
> pound of edible product. We need
> to get to that point so that we
> can identify which genetics will
> allow us to maximize our
> resources.

> For example, is a 1600 lb cow that
> weans a 700 lb calf more efficient
> than a 1300 lb cow that weans a
> 500 lb calf. We need to determine
> how much more feed did it take the
> big cow to produce 200 more pounds
> of weaned calf. We then need to go
> further and follow these two
> calves through the feedlot. How
> much feed does it take to get
> these two calves to their ideal
> harvest point.

> Please keep those good thoughts
> coming.

You make some excellent points. There has been some research work on modeling for economic returns. There is additional research work in trying to identify "biological efficiency" in beef cattle. The big difference (and great advantage I might add) between beef production and the other protein producers is that environmental conditions for cattle can't be controlled for, so it becomes very difficult to directly compare costs.

A feedlot situation is intermediate between pork/chicken production and beef cow production and this shows up in the measurement of feed consumption and total costs of production. Most feedyard managers will know their costs to 3 or 4 decimal points.

You also must consider that the genetics that allow us to produce maximum returns to extensive cow calf operations are often antagonistic to the genetics that produce maximum returns to the feedyard operation.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

> Are you in the US, Becca? Would
> you care to share some of your
> info with those of us on this
> board? I'd be interested....

Frankie,

Wagyu cattle, also known as Japanese Black, are relatively scarce in the U.S. (I'm in Mississippi), and the majority of them are in the pacific northwest.

Washington State University has a herd of fullblood that they use extensively for research. This is, IMO, a big plus, since the data collected and the results of experiments on carcass quality,feed efficiency, grwoth rates, even models of genetic prepotency, are published in scientific journals, and available to anyone who cares to search for them.

Some interesting findings gleaned from the WSU abstracts:

wagyu are the heaviest marbling breed found to date.

they seem to be able to pass on this trait to partbred progeny.

these cattle are slow growing, but a comparison study utilizing wagyu and angus found that although the angus carcass weighed more , the lighter wagyu provided more retail product.

wagyu produce little space fat, and little back fat. wagyu bred to angus lines with a tendancy to develop a lot of backfat, seem to produce progeny with markedly less backfat.

To date, I have run across no abstracts stating that wagyu infusion failed to improve carcass (marbling) quality when crossed with any beef breed.

just personal thoughts here: the national average production of carcasses thta grade prime is about 6% while demand floats between 9 and 10%.



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OP
A

Anonymous

Becca I have had some real world experiance with Wagyu and would off you a word of caution. They have been seleced as a single trait animal(marbling) and no animal should ever be selected on one trait.

Studies at Kansas State ( I believe) showed Wagyu calves compared to Angus calves the same age had less marbling, along with considerably less weight.

The Wagyus I had experiance with here took 3 years in the feedlot to achieve their desired level of finish. The company that had contracted those calves didn't do it again as losses were too much to sustain for a second try.

A more balanced approach to produce prime grade beef would be to use genetics with PROVEN science behind them. Also feed and the gain of young calves (3-5 months) can affect the final grade of cattle. Carcass epds are becoming more available and are proven to produce changes in carcass merit.

Jason Trowbridge Southern Angus Farms Alberta Canada

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OP
A

Anonymous

Becca, it's difficult to get people to change their ways, especially if they have a system that works for them. Carcass quality is becoming more and more important, especially if a producer sells his cattle on the rail. I saw a small study out of Kansas State that equated carcass quality with growth for profit. But it was a very small group of cattle. I'd guess that many producers in your area like mine (Oklahoma) sell their weaned calves at the sale barn. They are selling pounds. Feedlot efficiency still drives profit in much of the industry and I don't think Wagyu cattle are feed efficient. Is there any information showing that WSU has improved the feed efficiency in their Wagyu cattle over the years? How do they match up in fertility to beef breeds? The Angus Journal publishes an article every month "Why Not the Best?" that features a producer who is using Angus genetics to raise high quality beef, or an Angus breeder who has put together a group of producers to feed their cattle together, etc. The articles are online at <A HREF="http://www.angusjournal.com" TARGET="_blank">www.angusjournal.com</A>. You might want to look at some of those and see if they have any ideas that might help you with your proposal. Good luck...

> Frankie,

> Wagyu cattle, also known as
> Japanese Black, are relatively
> scarce in the U.S. (I'm in
> Mississippi), and the majority of
> them are in the pacific northwest.

> Washington State University has a
> herd of fullblood that they use
> extensively for research. This is,
> IMO, a big plus, since the data
> collected and the results of
> experiments on carcass
> quality,feed efficiency, grwoth
> rates, even models of genetic
> prepotency, are published in
> scientific journals, and available
> to anyone who cares to search for
> them.

> Some interesting findings gleaned
> from the WSU abstracts:

> wagyu are the heaviest marbling
> breed found to date.

> they seem to be able to pass on
> this trait to partbred progeny.

> these cattle are slow growing, but
> a comparison study utilizing wagyu
> and angus found that although the
> angus carcass weighed more , the
> lighter wagyu provided more retail
> product.

> wagyu produce little space fat,
> and little back fat. wagyu bred to
> angus lines with a tendancy to
> develop a lot of backfat, seem to
> produce progeny with markedly less
> backfat.

> To date, I have run across no
> abstracts stating that wagyu
> infusion failed to improve carcass
> (marbling) quality when crossed
> with any beef breed.

> just personal thoughts here: the
> national average production of
> carcasses thta grade prime is
> about 6% while demand floats
> between 9 and 10%.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

> Studies at Kansas State ( I
> believe) showed Wagyu calves
> compared to Angus calves the same
> age had less marbling, along with
> considerably less weight.

Thank you Jason, I'll try to find those Kansas abstracts immediately and compare them with the Washington data. Interesting.

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OP
A

Anonymous

Feedlot efficiency
> still drives profit in much of the
> industry and I don't think Wagyu
> cattle are feed efficient. Is
> there any information showing that
> WSU has improved the feed
> efficiency in their Wagyu cattle
> over the years? How do they match
> up in fertility to beef breeds?

Frankie,

I'm still wading through data and abstracts, and have found no mention of fertility studies (yet).

The wagyu are slow growing, no arguement there, but I do have a strong interest in the prepotency of wagyu marbling genetics, and get the impression that infusing another breed with wagyu could possibly improve marbling abilities, while retaining the growth potential/feed effeciency/maternal traits of, say, some lines of Angus.

Thank you for the link. I tend to rely on research data from universities simply because tenured professors have a vested intrest in producing unbiased work (repeated sloppy research can ruin an academic in a heartbeat). I've become quite wary of breed associatin 'blurbs', but will keep an open mind. The focus seems to be the faster the better, get the weight on 'em and get 'em out. The industry has been doing this for years, yet the percentage of carcasses that grade prime has remained at (around) 6%, even with those fabulous Angus genetics ..... So the production of cattle that will consistantly and predictably produce the prized prime carcasses will need a different approach....don't ask me what kind of approach, I do not know.



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OP
A

Anonymous

I read a recent article that said we've increased the number of YG4s in the last few years without increasing the number of Choice or better carcasses. That's not good. Both you and Mark are looking to create the "magic" animal, though you're going at it in very different ways. In my opinion, the data is available in EPDs and feeding information to consistently produce animals that will perform in the feedlot and on the rail. I'll be interested in any info that you come up with and are willing to share. Good luck...

> Feedlot efficiency

> Frankie,

> I'm still wading through data and
> abstracts, and have found no
> mention of fertility studies
> (yet).

> The wagyu are slow growing, no
> arguement there, but I do have a
> strong interest in the prepotency
> of wagyu marbling genetics, and
> get the impression that infusing
> another breed with wagyu could
> possibly improve marbling
> abilities, while retaining the
> growth potential/feed
> effeciency/maternal traits of,
> say, some lines of Angus.

> Thank you for the link. I tend to
> rely on research data from
> universities simply because
> tenured professors have a vested
> intrest in producing unbiased work
> (repeated sloppy research can ruin
> an academic in a heartbeat). I've
> become quite wary of breed
> associatin 'blurbs', but will keep
> an open mind. The focus seems to
> be the faster the better, get the
> weight on 'em and get 'em out. The
> industry has been doing this for
> years, yet the percentage of
> carcasses that grade prime has
> remained at (around) 6%, even with
> those fabulous Angus genetics
> ..... So the production of cattle
> that will consistantly and
> predictably produce the prized
> prime carcasses will need a
> different approach....don't ask me
> what kind of approach, I do not
> know.



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OP
A

Anonymous

Frankie, here's another question to ponder:

If prime carcass production is 6% and demand is 9%, are the premiums paid a function of scarcity?

If we can somehow develop a herd of predictable prime producers would the prices then reflect the cost of production?

The magical amimal: IMO, no such thing. Prime production is possible with careful genetic selection combined with husbandry issues (optimal weanling calf growth, backgrounding, and feed lot programs). There is clearly more than blind luck involved.

Note to all that were upset at my mention of Angus.....I am not slamming the Angus breed, you can fill in the blank with any beef breed.......my main point of interest is that supply is not meeting demand, how to target production of carcasses of particular quality, be it utilized purebloods or a combination of breeds.

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OP
A

Anonymous

>>>>>re: the article in Angus journal.

Thank you! Breeding and culling decisions based on targeted carcass performance.....from a growers viewpoint...excellent. Precision production/breeding.

Regards, Becca

....I'm off to explore those pedigrees



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OP
A

Anonymous

Yes, premium for Prime is a function of scarcity. During certain times of the year we get more Choice beef. At that time the Choice/Select spread almost goes away. If everyone raised Prime beef, there would be no premium.

Cost of production? Don't know. We know that the sooner a calf is put on feed, the more likely he is to marble IF HE HAS THE GENETICS TO MARBLE. The winners of most carcass contests are fed almost from birth. Can you make that work? Depends on cost of feed and the market.

Look at the results of the recent Best of the Breed contest run by CAB. A Kansas State University herd won that contest. There were several articles in the Angus Journal about the results. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll look at the magazines I have here for the actual dates and titles of the articles.

I raise Angus and I believe in the breed, but don't feel that you're bashing them. I think the more you learn, the more you will like them...

> Frankie, here's another question
> to ponder:

> If prime carcass production is 6%
> and demand is 9%, are the premiums
> paid a function of scarcity?

> If we can somehow develop a herd
> of predictable prime producers
> would the prices then reflect the
> cost of production?

> The magical amimal: IMO, no such
> thing. Prime production is
> possible with careful genetic
> selection combined with husbandry
> issues (optimal weanling calf
> growth, backgrounding, and feed
> lot programs). There is clearly
> more than blind luck involved.

> Note to all that were upset at my
> mention of Angus.....I am not
> slamming the Angus breed, you can
> fill in the blank with any beef
> breed.......my main point of
> interest is that supply is not
> meeting demand, how to target
> production of carcasses of
> particular quality, be it utilized
> purebloods or a combination of
> breeds.



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OP
A

Anonymous

Frankie,

I am not tying to create a "magic bullet" solution. Far from it. I am merely thinking how can I add an tool tool to produce what the consumer wants more efficently. A composite double muscled line would not be useful in many situations. Producing replacements is one obivous example. By the way the Angus Jersey cross is very similar to the waygu. This may be a good proof of concept animal to see if a wagyu type carcass can be produced with out waygu breeding. This animal probably would be better gerowing and not give up much marbling ability.

Mark
> I read a recent article that said
> we've increased the number of YG4s
> in the last few years without
> increasing the number of Choice or
> better carcasses. That's not good.
> Both you and Mark are looking to
> create the "magic"
> animal, though you're going at it
> in very different ways. In my
> opinion, the data is available in
> EPDs and feeding information to
> consistently produce animals that
> will perform in the feedlot and on
> the rail. I'll be interested in
> any info that you come up with and
> are willing to share. Good luck...



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OP
A

Anonymous

Yes, there is a magical bullet. Black angus, they will do EVERYTHING. Just ask the breeders who post here.

Step right up, you CAN have it all! Marbling, high growth, leaness!

What do you want? Angus has it.

Seriously, you guys would get more respect if you didn't try and promote black angus as the sole solution to all of cattle production.
 

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