Pursuit Of Excellence is defined only by you. Only you can set the goals and objectives that make sense for your operation. Whether you live in an area that requires only 1 acre of grass for each animal unit or 40 acres of grass for each animal unit, these are factors in your environment that will need to be considered to maximize cow/calf efficiency and productivity. I know I am preaching to the choir when I talk about the production challenges so let’s talk about some other factors that we need to Pursue For Excellence!!
First, what about using other breeds to maximize cross breeding and heterosis? The different breeds have never been more alike than they are today. Over the last several years, the English breeds (Angus, Red Angus, etc.) have increased their frame and mature cow size to try and find feedlot efficiency without crossing with the continental breeds. As a result, the English breeds have increased their birth weights, decreased their marbling and still can’t add the muscle that a simple cross breeding program would provide. So as you look at selection within Breeds, your discipline needs to be “Relentless” to choose what compliments your cow herd. You can’t make a team with one type and you can’t maximize heterosis with one breed.
Second, we have to understand what is important to the feeder and the packer that is looking to add value and profitability to our calves when they leave our feedlots. Tom Brink is with Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, the world’s largest cattle feeder. I had the opportunity to listen to Tom as he described what they are looking for in the calves that they purchase. To start with, Carcass Quality and Yield Grade are very important. Five Rivers sells 60% of their calves on a marketing grid and the packers that purchase these calves sell 100% of this meat on value. If you don’t think that carcass matters, think again!
These feeders have a data base and they want the calves that feed and grade well. They are willing to pay more for those calves because they bring more value to their bottom line. With today’s technology, these feeders have a data base that identifies the calves that have been profitable and the calves that have not. We need to pay attention and be “Relentless” in our mating decisions so that we stay in the data base that says, “BUY THOSE CALVES AGAIN!!!!”
At Hojer Gelbvieh Ranch, our herd is ranked above average for carcass and feedlot merit. We have worked hard to provide you with the continental breed of choice to help you in your “Relentless Pursuit Of Excellence!!”