Ellingson Angus Vs SAV

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Well-known member
Oct 16, 2009
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West/Central MN
Just curious for those that have used both Ellingson genetics and SAV genetics, and what the experiences have been with both. I realize both are related/family and each use similar livestock genetics but I also think their livestock have a look thats unique to each ranch. I've used SAV genetics when AI'ing but I don't have experience with Ellingson genetics. Thanks in advance.
I have no knowledge of Ellingson and for SAV I tend to stay away from all of their bulls because of extremely low marbling. I'm also very skeptical of whether or not their cattle would work in my program, they advertise 1000 lb weaning weights, which I don't know how to replicate in my environment.
I used Ellingson Top Shelf 5050 a couple years back. Bull calves were decent - good growth, stout. Only kept one heifer and she didn't milk real great as a first calf heifer, but kept herself in good condition. I don't put a lot of pressure on first calvers, but this year she needs to step it up on calf weaning weight or be gone.
I think you'll find most people go with one or the other. We've had good luck with the SAV cattle we've used, they feed and grade well despite what the EPDs say. Ellingson's are going to look better on paper, I just don't have any experience with their cowherd to have an educated opinion on their stuff.
I would agree with Jake but have no real firsthand experience. I have used a Ellingson herd sire in Powerpoint but he was not raised by them. Both programs pamper their cows more than I care to select seed stock from. Hoof trimming is not in the cards for me either.
We have customers in SE MT that use Ellingson bulls. They are REALLY pleased with the results and are buying all their bulls from Ellingson. Plus Ellingson's help them sell their calves. It's a good deal for both parties. They started buying bulls from them about 8 years ago, so they know what they are getting as far as replacements. These customers care for their cattle, but they aren't pampered by a long shot.

Hope this helps.
Yes Chad Ellingson does a great job with placing feeder cattle. They do focus their breeding program on traits that commercial cattlemen are looking for. If they didn't they wouldn't be averaging 12,000 plus on 300 bulls. My problem with pampering cows in a seedstock herd is there are certain genes that are getting turned on or off by environment. Some of those might be good genes that I might need in my cowherd to sustain fertility, rear a calf, longevity or other important economical traits that improve my bottom line. The only way to improve those things is to let the seedstock producer do the sorting, otherwise the commercial herd has to do all the heavy lifting.
I've had good luck with a number of SAV bulls. There is a ranch not too far away that I admire and they use a lot of ellingson angus. I went to there sale last year just to evaluate some of the sires they were using. Went home sold on sampling some ellingson profound. He had 2 pens of real good sons and one pen that was so so. I'll take my chances. In a month I'll finally get to see the profound calves coming.
We have used both SAV and Ellingson in our program…but we have more SAV in our lineage. Bulletproof, President, Brilliance, Renovation. Perhaps because of this…SAV seems to click more, idk? Currently we have some SAV Checkmates on the ground. 2nd year using him and we are very happy with the ease and growth. Currently no SAV Checkmate mature daughters, or bulls - all born on commercial side and all boys. All the Checkmate steers weaned well last year and the calves this year are growing good. Used Ellingson Homegrown last year too…we found his ease a little less reliable…worked on most of our girls but we had some hard pulls which leaves one a little "careful" moving forward. We also found Homegrown less predicable in phenotype whereas the Checkmates are well stamped. You know which calves are Checkmates. Homegrown steers weaned well too and zero complaints on performance. Homegrown visibly improved foot structure and that was one reason we leaned his direction. He definitely did that job well. Perhaps comparing these two particular bulls is unfair but it is an example of current calves hitting the ground and the current bulls we are using from these two programs. 😊