Frame Creep

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HerefordSire

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Many of the experienced members understand tendencies of frame creep. What are some similar risks when lowering frame size?
 

BRG

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Here is a piece of our newsletter that was mailed out this fall. It gives you an idea of what I have seen.

Gill Red Angus Fall 2009 Newsletter
Cow Type
Over the last few years, it has been very common to hear universities, cattle associations, and even some ranchers talk about reducing mature size on their cowherd. Now, we don’t think we are smarter than these people. But we do think a bit differently. Yes, there are some cows that are just too big to be profitable. But it works both ways. We believe there are cows that are too small and fine-made as well. We have traveled all over the US the last few years visiting with ranchers and feeders and learning about different types of cows and programs. What we have seen happen is when someone downsizes their herd, if they are not careful, they also lose bone, muscle, and length along with performance and sometimes feedlot efficiency. When a herd loses this, they also lose their marketability, as most calf buyers and feeders don’t want to buy cattle of this type. It has been proven over and over again that feeders will pay the most for cattle with a decent frame size and good muscle. From experience, we firmly believe that you can do both: raise calves that the feeders want and cows that work in a grass only environment.

We do just that. Our cows are deep bodied and in the 5.5 to 6 frame area. They see only grass and pasture with no grain and stay in good condition. Yet we also have the kind of cattle the buyers love to feed. This is proven to us by the number of calls we get from feeders telling us they want to feed our genetics. So before you go and change your cowherd to make them smaller, we encourage you to take a look at some of the ranches that have done this. Or go and visit with a couple feedlots or sale barns and see for yourself what the market demands. We are not saying that we need to be raising elephants, but we do believe there is a happy medium that will work for everyone.
 

Herefords.US

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HerefordSire":vjc18qvv said:
Many of the experienced members understand tendencies of frame creep. What are some similar risks when lowering frame size?

Not just from frame size reduction, but overall size reduction, I would think the biggest risk would come from increased calving difficulties if you didn't also have a corresponding reduction in calf birth weight.

George
 

Brandonm22

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The ideal ranch cow is a deep ribbed easy fleshing little frame 3 or 4 that weighs about 1100 lbs in good flesh. The ideal feedlot steer is a big tall, long, thick made frame 6 or even 7 joker who finishes out at high choice, yg 2, and 1400 lbs. These are two different animals. The sisters of the yield grade 1 high choice freaks make hard doing cows that are difficult too keep bred and breathing in ranch conditions. The brothers of those super efficient little cows become fat toad little money losers in the feedlot. The guy that chases the maximum dollars for his feeder calves often ends up with higher cow maintenance costs in his cow herd and more fertility problems. The guy that chases the lowest humanly possible maintenance costs ends up with a calf crop that is docked at the sale barn (sometimes severely). There are exceptions to the rule; but ideally we would have a female line that primarily produces easy keeping heifers and a terminal line that you breed those heifers to to produce a terminal market calf crop. Most farms and ranches however are too small or aren't set up too run both replacement herds and a larger terminal herd and have two entirely different sets of bulls. What we end up with is trying to compromise and produce an animal that does everything. We put too much frame and growth into the cow herd because we want marketable steers and we put too much white meat into the calf crop and get yield grade 3.5 and up steers because we need an easy fleshing female back on the farm. The cowherd we have now is not making the rancher or the feedlots any money, but I really do not know what direction we need to move as an industry to change that.
 

Ned Jr.

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BRG":2g3xngu9 said:
Here is a piece of our newsletter that was mailed out this fall. It gives you an idea of what I have seen.

Gill Red Angus Fall 2009 Newsletter
Cow Type
Over the last few years, it has been very common to hear universities, cattle associations, and even some ranchers talk about reducing mature size on their cowherd. Now, we don’t think we are smarter than these people. But we do think a bit differently. Yes, there are some cows that are just too big to be profitable. But it works both ways. We believe there are cows that are too small and fine-made as well. We have traveled all over the US the last few years visiting with ranchers and feeders and learning about different types of cows and programs. What we have seen happen is when someone downsizes their herd, if they are not careful, they also lose bone, muscle, and length along with performance and sometimes feedlot efficiency. When a herd loses this, they also lose their marketability, as most calf buyers and feeders don’t want to buy cattle of this type. It has been proven over and over again that feeders will pay the most for cattle with a decent frame size and good muscle. From experience, we firmly believe that you can do both: raise calves that the feeders want and cows that work in a grass only environment.

We do just that. Our cows are deep bodied and in the 5.5 to 6 frame area. They see only grass and pasture with no grain and stay in good condition. Yet we also have the kind of cattle the buyers love to feed. This is proven to us by the number of calls we get from feeders telling us they want to feed our genetics. So before you go and change your cowherd to make them smaller, we encourage you to take a look at some of the ranches that have done this. Or go and visit with a couple feedlots or sale barns and see for yourself what the market demands. We are not saying that we need to be raising elephants, but we do believe there is a happy medium that will work for everyone.

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Great post!!! I agree 100%. We don't need big inefficient elephants but at the same time it doesn't take to much downsizing to loose all your performance. 5-6 frame, high volume, deep bodied cows work great here.
 

Northern Rancher

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How many of our advisors ever fed a pen of their own cattle? It takes alot of grid premiums to cover the overhead of an inefficient cowherd. I'd bet nobody could pick out the mothers of our top carcass cattle.
 

goodbeef

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Well said BRG! I have been battling this delema for years. We run a cow herd, and a feedlot. We feed all our own calves out, and keep replacements. It is a struggle to keep the kind of cow one wants and also get that steer you like to see in the feed yard. I shoot for those wide,deep, easy fleshing cattle in the 5 frame area. If one is breeding for both you have to be very disaplined in your breeding. I have been moderating frame in cows and adding performance in calves. It can be done. When we put efficency,early growth, muscle, and guts back into the cattle, 5 frame steers can, and will weigh 1,300 lb or better at 12 to 15 months. It is much easier to get the kind of steer one is looking for with a terminal sire. It is also much easier to get the kind of cow one wants when just breeding for that. What works for me, may not be what works for others, but in my opinion we need to be in the middle somewhere.
 

kerley

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All American cattle would look better to cattle buyers if our own U.S.Government would stop importing foreign beef.
Tom.
 

Aero

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kerley":ptcehs67 said:
All American cattle would look better to cattle buyers if our own U.S.Government would stop importing foreign beef.
Tom.

the government doesn't import any beef; Americans do. get everyone to stop being cheap and inact/enforce/pay attention to COOL and you might reduce it.
 

alexfarms

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HerefordSire":360lw4la said:
Many of the experienced members understand tendencies of frame creep. What are some similar risks when lowering frame size?

Big risk: Decreased pelvic area and decreased calving ease. There is a positive genetic relationship between frame size and pelvic area...ie: as one goes down the other has a tendency to go down also. Watch birth weight and pelvic area closely if you reduce frame size.
 

Aero

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goodbeef":35oi2nx6 said:
Well said BRG! I have been battling this delema for years. We run a cow herd, and a feedlot. We feed all our own calves out, and keep replacements. It is a struggle to keep the kind of cow one wants and also get that steer you like to see in the feed yard. I shoot for those wide,deep, easy fleshing cattle in the 5 frame area. If one is breeding for both you have to be very disaplined in your breeding. I have been moderating frame in cows and adding performance in calves. It can be done. When we put efficency,early growth, muscle, and guts back into the cattle, 5 frame steers can, and will weigh 1,300 lb or better at 12 to 15 months. It is much easier to get the kind of steer one is looking for with a terminal sire. It is also much easier to get the kind of cow one wants when just breeding for that. What works for me, may not be what works for others, but in my opinion we need to be in the middle somewhere.

how many bulls have you used? how many different breeders did you get them from?
 

goodbeef

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I have used quite a few bulls. When you keep your own replacements you tend to go through bulls a bit quicker. I do have several pastures so I can rotate bulls, and hold on to em' just alittle longer. I use angus, red angus and simmental genetics. All my bulls are composites. I have one main source for bulls, but I do look around and have bought bulls from several places. I like to run full to half brothers in a pasture. Sometimes to find related animals that you like you have to pay more than you might want, or buy from more than one location. I started raising a few of my own, but would prefer to concentrate on the cows. I have a very strict criteria, and have found I can raise better bulls than I can buy.
 

KNERSIE

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HerefordSire":z2sxrous said:
Many of the experienced members understand tendencies of frame creep. What are some similar risks when lowering frame size?

Dan, remember I told you to go and study the history of the hereford breed? The answer to your question is the reason why the shift went from belt buckle high herefords to continentals to continental like british breeds.

Continuous selection for smaller cattle will eventually lead to more fatty waste on the carcass, reduced milking ability and reduced growthability, ie: selecting for runts in the long run.
 

smnherf

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HerefordSire":2vtfa46q said:
Many of the experienced members understand tendencies of frame creep. What are some similar risks when lowering frame size?

You may end up with a lower input, more efficient cowherd that requires less feed and less supplement to get it through the winter. Your bank account may even grow too :lol2: :lol2:

Seriously though I prefer to do my measuring with a scale and not a yardstick. Frame scores without weights is meaningless to me. I think if you focus on weaning weights, cow weights and feedlot ADG and feedlot conversions, with a watchfull eye on carcass traits, you will reach the point of the optimum cowherd and the optimum feedlot animal. I beleive we have the tools in this industry to accomplish it if we just focus on the right things and not get sidetracked with the hot trend of the day.

Brian
 

Northern Rancher

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I'll deal with the bugaboos related to frrame five cattle before I'll embrace the disasters that are frame 7 and 8. Spent a few hours today looking at the freaks that passed for cattle in the late 80's early 90's. Big framed-big pelvic cattle have bigger BW calves so your really not accomplishing much by selecting for that. We measured them for a few years and didn't see any reason to continue. When we started running Charolais in the late 60's we had lots of 1,000 poiund cows could have those calves so I'm thinking a small cow can have a big pelvis. There';s lots of 5 foot tall women have had ten pound kids and lived to tell about it lol.
 

smnherf

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Brandonm22":3nmpqtaz said:
Northern Rancher":3nmpqtaz said:
There';s lots of 5 foot tall women have had ten pound kids and lived to tell about it lol.

BUT the doctor cuts a lot of those babies out too (not something I want to be doing with the cows).

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/hea ... arily.html

A few years ago, I remember being told by larger breeder who happened to have quite a bit of bw in his bulls that reducing birthweights would result in cows with little pelvics too. I mentioned that it sure hasnt hurt the Angus breed and he walked away pretty fast. I really don't think calving issues is relavant at all.
 

Brandonm22

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smnherf":12ekw317 said:
A few years ago, I remember being told by larger breeder who happened to have quite a bit of bw in his bulls that reducing birthweights would result in cows with little pelvics too. I mentioned that it sure hasnt hurt

I think we learned from the 70s and 80s that if you single select for frame and growth without paying attention to birth weight that you will increase calving difficulties. Angus is proving every day that you can select for both growth and low birthweight. IF breeders will check pelvic areas and birth weights, I see no reason why decreasing mature sizes HAVE to lead to more calving difficulties.
 

SRBeef

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From what I see, smaller cows do not necessarily mean calving problems. I have a few 1200 lb cows and more 1500-1600 lb cows. These are all Herefords. I see no difference in calving ease between them. Nor do I see a difference/correlation between cow size and calf birth weight.

Here is a picture of one of my 1200 lb cows on the day she gave birth to this approx 68 lb heifer calf on April 12, 2009:

IMG_0038_trimmed.JPG


This is the same cow and calf in a picture I posted recently but will post here again for reference:

IMG_1689_Cow66_and_spring_calf_100309.jpg


This second picture of the same pair was taken on Oct. 3, 2009. There is exactly 175 days between these two photos.

I agree with Northern Rancher on this one. I think I would much rather deal with a frame 5 cow like I believe this one is. The smaller (1200 lb) cows it seems to me are no more or less likely to have calving problems than the larger (1600 lb) cows - assuming you have the right bull. jmho.

Jim
 

Northern Rancher

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Maybe it's our health care system that women have big babies on their own lol. Running a big high maintenance cow just so she can have a big high maintenance calf kind of defies logic to me. We've never had to adjust frame much here-when they were giraffes inthe 80's we bought and A'I'ed to bulls from breeders who weren't retarded enough to follow the show ring-our bull supplier kinds of sees cattle the way I do so can't see him joining the 'rush to small'. You might not get rich raising frame 5 or 6 cattle but your road to poverty will be a lot less painful.
 

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