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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

December 13, 2017

Precision for Modern Cattle

Backgrounding today’s cattle on yesterday’s “prescription” can mean missed profit opportunities.

“We can map to hit whatever target anybody wants us to hit,” says Robbi Pritchard, South Dakota State University animal scientist. “All we need to do is manage our stage of growth, oversee the implant, get the correct intake — and we start at ranch time.”

Ranches have differentiated their calves over the years, so it’s time to look at what each set of cattle needs before putting them in a routine program.

Kelly Bruns, University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension director, worked with Pritchard and his team to study the ideal.

“Rather than have one common backgrounding diet for all of the calves that come in, can I strategically, or as Pritchard calls it, ‘precision’ background them to maximize my outputs?” Bruns asks.

That’s the question brought on by an evolution in genetics and management.

1) Breeding seasons are tighter. “We no longer need time to get the skeleton to grow. We no longer need time for things to average out,” Pritchard says.

Continue reading this Angus Journal article online.

New Leadership Represents Texas Cattle Producers
on Texas Beef Council Board

The Texas Beef Council’s (TBC) newly elected board of directors began the new fiscal year leading the state’s producer-run beef marketing organization. The TBC board of directors consists entirely of beef producers providing representation of the state through organization affiliation. In addition, the board may elect two directors at large, without nomination by a qualified organization, to round out the board with equitable geographic and sector representation.

Ryan Moorhouse of Hartley is the newly elected chairman of the TBC board representing the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Moorhouse is the general manager of Hartley Feeders, a JBS Five Rivers location. Five Rivers has a combined feeding capacity of more than 920,000 head of cattle with locations in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho. The Hartley Feeders location has a feeding capacity of 73,000 head.

Steven Lastovica of Salado is an at-large member of the TBC board and is the newly elected vice chairman.

Joining Moorhouse and Lastovica on the executive committee are Austin Brown III, representing the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; Michael White, representing Texas Farm Bureau; and outgoing chair Jason Beyer representing packers.

For more information, read the news release online.

Black Hills, Black Cattle, Black Ink

It’s not what most would call “ag land.” The Snyder family’s Piedmont, S.D., ranch hugs I-90 to the east and the Black Hills National Forest to the west.

It would make a beautiful campground. “Our opportunities for expansion are sure limited because of where we live,” says Ken Snyder, who earned an animal science degree from South Dakota State University before he came back to the ranch his grandfather started in the 1940s. “We have some neighbors who rent to us, and we don’t take it for granted. We treat their land like our own.”

There are no plans to build a lodge or subdivide.

“We’re at 500 cows; that’s barely big enough for three families,” Snyder says. They used to have a ranch employee, and then his wife Ronda took over feeding duties — until recently.

In the last five years, two of three sons, Andrew and Daniel, have joined the operation. Ken’s dad still lives on the home place, too.

“That’s another reason we feed calves,” says Ken. “We want to capture all the income we can on our cattle.”

The Snyders have retained ownership since 1987.

Keep reading this Angus Journal article online.

A Reason to Stay

Diane Frank had a reason for leaving.

The New Jersey native was young, civil protests were getting old, and she needed space to breathe.

“There was lots of civil unrest in the South,” she says, recounting her college selection process, “but Wyoming, the University of Wyoming, was removed from mainstream.”

If only temporary, 2,000 miles of distance would surely keep her safe, steady her footing and equip her for the life back home she loved.

That was 54 years ago, and before she met Gary Frank.

A cowman’s son from Lander, Wyo., Gary was a rough-stock rider on a wrestling scholarship looking for a date to a dance.

“I was a bit of a rural girl, so it was natural I hung out with the kids on the rodeo team,” Diane says. “That’s how I met Gary, and the rest is history.”

In borrowed boots and a bolo tie, she walked beside her future husband. She’d do it for decades after that.

“We were each other’s kind of people,” she says of the country folks she found out West.

Read more of this Angus Journal article online.

Room to Improve

After years of trying to improve beef cattle, have we made enough progress yet?

That question was asked and answered in the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA), the most recent since 2011.

For those waiting for the answer, it’s still “no,” Mark McCully says. The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand’s vice president of production grants cattle are better, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. The NBQA cites a lost opportunity of $15.75 per head in quality grade alone.

“From our vantage point, we think it’s bigger than that,” McCully says. “Our demand curve would sure support that.”

A glance at actual beef grades vs. the NBQA targets of 5% Prime, 35% premium Choice, 35% low Choice, 25% Select and no Standards could lead some to proclaim, “Mission accomplished.” McCully sees more to achieve and says ranchers have the tools and beef genetics to do it.

“We can still get better,” he says. Breeding time sets up the most marbling improvement, but that’s only potential.

“Anything throughout the management of that animal that sacrifices quality grade is an economic loss to the whole beef enterprise,” McCully says.

View this Angus Journal article online.


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