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Checklist of Issues to Consider for Your Farm Lease

 

By Cari Rincker, Esq.

Fall is a popular time to renegotiate farm leases for the next year’s growing season. This article summarizes a checklist of issues to consider when renegotiating the terms of the lease. Farm leases should be in writing to ensure that both parties understand the terms of the lease. A written lease also provides a record of the agreement in case an issue later arises between the parties.

1. Type of Lease. Broadly speaking, there are three major types of leases: (1) cash rent, (2) crop share, and (3) hybrid. A hybrid lease provides for a minimum fixed cash rent in addition to a smaller share of the revenue. The type of lease that worked one year may need to be adjusted for the next.

2. Description of Property. Perhaps what land is and is not included in the lease needs clarification. A legal description and/or maps should be attached to the lease. In limited circumstances, a survey may be appropriate.

3. Lease Term. If you had prior oral leases, it’s possible that the start and end dates were not clear. It’s suggested to have the term of the lease and any renewal terms memorialized.

4. Payment Terms. Payment terms should be clear (including when payment is due, where it should be sent, penalties/interest for late payments). Any responsibilities for the landlord to reimburse the tenant for improvements or operational expenses should be noted.

5. Duties and Prohibitions. Farm leases should clearly describe responsibilities (e.g, maintaining fenceline, soil conservation, controlling noxious weeds) and prohibitions (e.g., use of certain chemicals, certain types of improvements, agri-tourism/ agri-tainment).

6. Management. Who is making what decisions for the farming operation? This is especially important for crop share or hybrid leases. This part of the lease may affect whether the income is “active income” or “passive income” for social security purposes. This may be especially important for landlord farmers closer to retirement.

7. Termination Procedures. The farm lease should include procedures for terminating the lease either voluntarily or involuntarily (e.g., in case of a default), including notice provisions.

8. Insurance. Who is required to have what kinds of insurance at what limits?

9. Ability to Sublease. Can the tenant-farmer sublease part of the property?

10. Confidentiality. Some farmers would prefer to have the terms of their lease private between the parties.

11. Farmstead. If the farm lease includes a house, it is recommended that the farmstead have a separate residential lease.

12. Intellectual Property. Any use of the landlord farmer’s “brand name” should be memorialized in a separate trademark license agreement.

This checklist is non-exhaustive. Farm leases should be in writing and individualized for each farming operation. Farmers are encouraged to speak to an attorney licensed in their jurisdiction about issues affecting his or her operation.

For more information contact:

Cari Rincker
Rincker Law, PLLC
Licensed in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut & District of Columbia
Illinois Office:
301 N. Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 531-2179

 

New York Office:
535 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 427-2049
Fax (212) 202-6077

 

cari@rinckerlaw.com
www.rinckerlaw.com

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Hurricane Harvey Recovery

 

BBU has been in contact with many Beefmaster breeders located in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. The ones we have spoken with are safe, but have the daunting task of rebuilding and recovering from the destruction left behind by Hurricane Harvey and its flooding.

Are you a livestock producer affected by Hurricane Harvey or flooding? The USDA Farm Service Agency has multiple resources for agriculture disaster relief programs. Or contact your county judge or emergency management coordinator to request state assistance for stranded livestock.

How can you help livestock producers affected by Hurricane Harvey? You can donate to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund. Managed by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the STAR Fund provides emergency assistance to Texas farmers and ranchers affected by disasters. Funded exclusively by private donations, STAR funds are often used to rebuild fences vital to livestock businesses, restore operations and pay for other agricultural disaster relief.

Texas Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Research and Education Foundation is also accepting tax-deductible donations to aid in the relief effort following the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. This fund will collect and distribute monetary contributions only. One hundred percent of the donations to this fund will be dispersed via an application process directly to farmers and ranchers located in counties that have been designated as disaster areas by the federal government for this event. Donate online or if you prefer to pay by check, it should be made out and sent to:

Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
P.O. Box 2689
Waco, TX 76702-2689
Attn: Cyndi Gerik


Donations, supply points

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents have set up the following Animal Supply Points and are requesting square bale horse quality hay, various types of hay for cattle in round or square bales, all-stock feed and range cubes/protein supplements at this time. They are not currently taking donations for fencing supplies.

Before collecting or delivering donations, contact the AgriLife Animal Supply Point Hotline at 979-845-7800 to confirm needs and delivery.

San Patricio County Animal Supply Point:
San Patricio County Fairgrounds
219 W 5th St, Sinton

Brazoria County Animal Supply Point:
Brazoria County Fairgrounds
901 S. Downing St., Angleton

Harris County Animal Supply Point:
La Porte High School
301 E. Fairmon Pkwy, La Porte

Chambers County Animal Supply Point:
Winnie-Stowell Park
335 Spark St., Winnie

Additional Animal Supply Points will be set up in other regions as the conditions allow.


Other organizations/agencies accepting donations

A New Day: Texas Agricultural Education Disaster Relief Fund
This fund will help FFA chapters and agricultural education programs rebuild following natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Donations to this fund will be dispersed via an application process directly to the programs and chapters affected by the storm. Click here for more information.

Texas 4-H Relief Support Campaign for 4-H Programs Affected by Hurricane Harvey
The Texas 4-H Youth Development Program and the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation are facilitating a monetary campaign to directly support 4-H clubs and county programs in the hurricane zone. Click here for more information.


Resources for farmers and ranchers

Animal Shelters and Holding Facilities
If you are seeking a large or small animal shelter/holding facility in your area or in your evacuation area, call 2-1-1 or contact the emergency management department in the area you are seeking shelter. Click here to view a list of Texas animal holding facilities and shelters.

Lost or Found Livestock
If you find stray livestock, call Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) at 817-332-7064. Visit www.tscra.org for more information. If you find cattle or other livestock with official identification, document the number, location of the animal(s) and call the TAHC at 512-719-0733 or 806-354-9335 and TAHC will contact the owner.

If livestock have strayed onto your property, you must report them to the sheriff’s office in the county you are located in within five days of discovery to be eligible for reasonable payment for maintenance of or damages caused by the estray livestock. For more information regarding Texas’ estray laws visit, Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 142.

Hay Hotline
To access TDA’s Hay Hotline, call 512-463-9360 or visit TDA’s Hay Hotline webpage.

Livestock Indemnity and Assistance
USDA-FSA Producer Hotline: 866-680-6069

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety net programs to help farmers and ranchers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and the Tree Assistance Program.

The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.

Farmers and ranchers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.

Animal Disposal
Animal carcasses on public property: Animal carcasses found on public property or right-of-ways should be reported to the local jurisdiction (county or city) to be handled through the jurisdiction’s debris management plan.

Animal carcasses on private property: Animal owners and operators are responsible for the proper disposal of the animals on their property. To learn about common methods of non-diseased animal carcass disposal, visit TAHC’s Disaster-Related Carcass Disposal Guide.


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Genetic marker sought for feed efficiency in cattle

 

Article by Feedstuffs

Researchers with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are working to identify genetic markers that can help cattle producers find the best bang for their buck when choosing breeds and budgeting for feed.

Kelly Bryant, director of the Division of Agriculture’s Southeast Research & Extension Center (SEREC), and several members of his research team and staff from Beefmaster Breeders United are monitoring offspring from the SEREC herd of Beefmaster heritage lines in an effort to determine if feed conversion efficiency is an inheritable trait.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture researchers at the Southeast Research & Extension Center are studying 31 Beefmaster heifers for the next three to five years, hoping to identify genetic markers for high feed conversion efficiency.

“From the time they’re weaned until the time they’re either ready for slaughter or ready to deliver a calf, they’re in a growth stage,” Bryant said. “It’s all done through either grass or grain. Some can just gain more weight on less feed than others. It makes it cheaper. Gain is what we’re after, and if we can do it on less feed, then we’ve got less money in them.”

If specific genetic markers tied to that higher efficiency can be identified and isolated and are found to be inheritable, growers could potentially improve the conversion efficiency of entire herds over time by introducing Beefmaster genetics into their breeding operations.

On Aug. 5, Bryant and his research staff took possession of 31 heifers that had spent the previous 60 days at a Grow Safe facility in Texas.

“The Grow Safe systems track animal feed intake and weight gain, allowing us to measure feed conversion efficiency for each animal,” Bryant said. “With this information, we hope to determine if feed efficiency is inheritable.”

Bryant said the research project, which is expected to last at least three to five years, is being funded, in part, by Beefmaster Breeders United, a trade association of cattle producers who both maintain purebred Beefmaster cows and use the cattle for commercial crossbreeding.

Bryant said cows in the herd maintained at SEREC typically calve in September or October. Females are typically bred no earlier than 15 months of age, calve when they are about two years old and generally calve once a year after that.

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Beefmaster International Tour

 

We are excited to be hosting the first Beefmaster Breeders International Tour and we are expecting guests from several different countries. The tour will take place from October 22 – 25, 2017 and we will visit ranches and operations in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The tour schedule details are enclosed in this packet. If you will be attending the tour, please complete enclosed registration form and return it to our office with payment by October 1, 2017.

If you are planning to attend either one of two sales on October 21, 2017, we have made arrangements to transport you on Sunday, October 22, 2017 from the sale to Gulfport, Miss., in order to join the rest of the tour. Please indicate on the registration form which sale you will be attending and if you need transportation from the sale.

If you are flying into Gulfport, Miss., on Sunday, October 22 you will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express that evening. Transportation will be provided to shuttle you from the airport to the hotel, which is not far from the airport. Also, there are multiple choices for dinner on Sunday evening that are within walking distance of the hotel.

On Wednesday, October 25, the tour will conclude and we will arrive in Galveston, Texas at the Moody Gardens Hotel just in time to participate in the 57th Annual BBU Convention! We are planning an international panel and discussion, as part of the convention activities. If you will be attending the BBU Convention, the registration form and agenda are located in this packet. Reserve your convention hotel room now at the Moody Gardens Hotel by calling 1-888-388-8484 and asking for the Beefmaster rate of $139 per night plus tax. Self-parking is complimentary. Visit www.moodygardenshotel.com for a full overview of the beautiful property and amenities.

As you make your travel arrangements, please let us know your arrival times and what airline you are arriving on.

Learn more about the tour here.

Thank you,

Robert Williams, Ph. D.

BBU International Committee

rwilliams@caincattle.com

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SFA Heifer Development Program

 

Stephen F. Austin University (SFA) Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that we will host our heifer development program again this fall. Weaned heifers weighing between 400-700 lb will be accepted into the program beginning mid-October with a start date of November 3, 2017. Producers needing to deliver cattle at an earlier date may do so by contacting farm manager Chris Koffskey.  Calves will be developed on a forage-based diet. Information on the program along with the signup sheet is attached.

For more information contact Chris Koffskey (979)224-8178  or (936)468-6948 or Dr. Erin Brown  (936)468-4433.

Stephen F. Austin State University is preparing for its Heifer Development Program. The program is designed to assist producers in selecting and managing for replacement heifers. It offers producers relief from providing additional facilities, labor, and feed to retain young heifers. The program is designed for heifers ranging in weight from 400-700 lbs. Heifers are entered into the program in mid-October and fed through May. Producers are issued a bi-monthly report on the performance of each heifer in the program with information including BW, ADG, REA, RF, and IMF. Additionally, heifers can be entered into the breeding program and be artificially inseminated at the conclusion of the feeding period. Heifers should gain 1-3 lbs per day in the program.

Sign up for program by: October 1
Deliver heifers on: October 6, 13, 14
Feeding program begins on: November 3
Acceptance into the program will be first come first serve, based on availability of space.

Program Cost
Cost will be figured by entry weight starting at $2.00/day for a 400 lb heifer. An additional $0.15 will be charged for each cwt above 400 lbs. The cost will remain fixed for each individual heifer throughout the program. In other words, a heifer coming in at 600 lbs will be charged $2.30 per day until it leaves the program.

Learn more and sign up for the SFA Heifer Development Program 2017

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Central States BBA Announcements

 

Central States  – Over the last year BBU has made a commitment to putting more emphasis on the maternal traits of the Beefmaster breed. We all know this, but it is time to get the word out about not only their mothering and milking ability but their ability to be some of the most efficient cows out there. BBU has split up the United States into regions per say and would like to have some Beefmaster female events in these different regions. Central States is in the beginning stages of organizing a Beefmaster influenced replacement female sale. There are a lot of questions and ideas that go along with this. In the next few months, a round-table meeting will be taking place to discuss everything. The big question that involves all of us is, who can produce these females. It goes without saying that the females need to be of breeding age and on up. This means a breeder needs to hold on to these females for an additional year or more after weaning. If you’re interested in being a part of this sale (commercial or purebred breeder) please drop a quick email to Greg Lemke at bcbeefmasters@gmail.com. We need to compile a list of people that would commit to supplying these kind of females, so we can decide if it’s feasible to proceed further.

Central States Advertising Committee – Last year Central States used the BBU co-op advertising program in three different magazines across the area. The way this program works is that BBU pays for 25% of the advertising, Central States BBA pays for another 25% and Central States BBA members pick up the remaining 50%. Last year the members were responsible for $50 per advertisement with a maximum of eight members per ad. This is a great way to get exposure for your farm at a very low rate. There are not very many places where you can get maximum exposure for $50. Last year’s advertisement featured a map of the state with a dot and the members farm and phone number (see example). The three publications that we advertised in were, The Oklahoma Cattleman, Missouri Beef Cattleman, and Joplin Regional Stockyards Cattleman’s News. At our next meeting we will be discussing whether we want to do this again in 2018. If you’re interested in being a part of this in 2018, please drop a quick email to Greg Lemke at bcbeefmasters@gmail.com. This would not be a commitment, but a way to decide if we should do it again in 2018.

 

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European Beefmaster Herd is Growing

 

By Doyle Sanders, BBU International Committee

Lukasz Karmowski and his dad, Jacek, are now the proud owners of the first Beefmaster ET calf born in Poland.  Beefmasters are a unique American breed with leading feed efficiency and heterosis for strongest weight gains for all American and European beef breeds.

The bull calf was born on 11 August 2017. The Karmsowski’s Radzicz Ranch is near Radzicz, in western Poland.  The calf is a DBL D BAR Ranch “D’Vinci” son with the Dd-1112 donor dam.  The recip used is from their Limousin herd.

This family has been raising Limousin cattle on their farm since soon after Poland received independence from the Soviet Union- around 1990. They annually market about 200 bulls into Germany and Romania from their farm.  And they knew they needed to improve their product.  In 2014 they read about Beefmasters in their National Polish Beef Breeder Association journal.  After some research into how Beefmasters could improve their beef quality, fertility, feed efficiency, and carcass merit, among other key traits; they contacted DBL D BAR Ranch in Industry, Texas looking for semen to cross breed their Limousins.

There are EU constraints for CSS semen but further research by the Sanders resolved the issue by providing EU certified embryos instead.  The first Beefmaster EU shipment was made to Giulio DeDonatis near Rome, Italy; in early 2014. Using embryos also allowed them to form their own seed stock Beefmaster purebred herd.

Following the first successful shipment into Europe, the Karmowski’s ordered their first shipment of EU Certified embryos into Poland from the DBL D BAR Ranch.  Difficulties arose in their breeding season, however when their initial ET test attempt in 2015 proved no successful transfers.

In January, 2016, the Karmowski’s attended a USLGE/BBU Beef Workshop at Texas A&M University with their new Polish ET adviser and some beef officials from SGGW University and the national ProOptiBeef program focused on improving national beef quality. During the Workshop, they learned various lessons that helped them improve their ET operations to a pregnancy rate of 80% which they have now sustained on 2 further attempts. Typically 50% was considered acceptable.

They obtained a second embryo shipment and are starting to create their seed stock herd of at least 50 purebred Beefmasters- then cross breed to upgrade their Limousin herd of over 350 dams- to arrive at a 400 head Beefmaster herd by 2020-2021.  They are planning to expand their Polish Beefmaster market into Romania and other Baltic nations with demand growth of these genetic benefits unique to this American breed.

Congratulations to the Karmowski’s in joining the growing family of Beefmaster breeders around the world.

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Letter to the Membership Regarding Bill Pendergrass

Dear Beefmaster Nation and Family,

A few days ago we were delivered unfortunate news regarding the health of our Executive Vice President. Bill Pendergrass suffered a stroke the night of August 10, 2017 while he was in Tennessee visiting his mother, who was in the hospital. His timing of being in the hospital during the stroke proved to be a blessing because he received immediate medical attention. The last few days have been filled with texts and phone calls with updates from the family and through God’s will, Bill is continuing to improve. To date, the swelling in his brain continues to recede and his numbers continue to stabilize with the passing of each day. The outlook, as described by the neurological team, is promising.

Currently Bill is in an ICU in Johnson City, Tenn., where he will remain until the physicians are confident that he is strong and stable enough to transport to a recovery center. The plan is to move Bill to TIRR Memorial Herman in Houston, Texas, as it is closer to home, but more importantly it is one of the best stroke recovery units in the United States.

The family is asking for continued prayers as they work through this time. If you would like to send cards of well-wishes, please send them to the BBU office in Boerne, Texas and we will make sure to get them to the family, as soon as the move to Houston is complete.

As members of Beefmaster Breeders United, I want to assure you that we are working through this difficult time and we will continue our current programs and projects. We have a GREAT staff in place and each staff member will pick up any necessary rolls in order to continue business as usual and meet the needs of our members.

We are in the middle of some very exciting times. We are gathering more and more data for existing programs and working to enhance our already robust data sets. We continue to look at adding new programs to make sure we continue to move forward with the cattle industry. Your Board of Directors is set to meet with industry professionals and specialists this week to discuss the future of the cattle industry and how to better position Beefmasters to gain more market share. We will keep the breed moving forward and help you continue to provide quality Beefmaster genetics to the beef industry.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts to share with us please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are here to serve you as members and will do so in the most professional manner possible.

Most of all, we do ask that you keep Bill and his wife Cathy in your thoughts and prayers as they work through this difficult time and begin the road to recovery. God has a plan for all of us, even if we do not understand it sometimes. Bill is strong and determined to overcome this road block. Help us lift him up in prayer.

 

Sincerely,

 

Collin Osbourn

CFO, Beefmaster Breeders United

cosbourn@beefmasters.org

mobile – 325-347-7507

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Beefmaster Excels in USDA Feed Efficiency Evaluation

 

BOERNE, Texas – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducted a feed efficiency evaluation at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., on 18 beef cattle breeds. The feed efficiency test results ranked the Beefmaster breed second for Average Daily Gain (ADG) and Dry Matter Intake (DMI) in both steers and heifers.

The USMARC study evaluated a group of 5,606 head of cattle and the group was composed of both finishing steers and growing replacement heifers. The study collected data for DMI, ADG and Post Weaning Gain (PWG). DMI and ADG data was recorded over 62 to 148 day periods for both steers and heifers. PWG was calculated by dividing gain from weaning to yearling weights by the number of days between the weights. Individual animal feed intake data was measured daily, as a key component of the evaluation. All animals used were from the USMARC germplasm evaluation project.

Using the Angus breed as a base of zero (0), the other 17 breeds were compared back to Angus as a baseline for both steers and heifers, and then were evaluated for efficiency using ADG and PWG during feed intake data collection. Beefmasters ranked second for ADG in both steers and heifers, thus proving that Beefmaster cattle excel in feed efficiency. The impact of feed efficiency on cattle feeders is significant and identifying genetics that gain more, while eating less feed is a recipe for profitability.

“Beefmasters are gaining attention as the beef industry begins to seek out efficiency genetics to bridge the gap to optimal, cost effective production practices,” says Beefmaster Breeders United Executive Vice President Bill Pendergrass. “Beefmasters have been long regarded as a versatile maternal breed, but this feed efficiency study points out that Beefmasters bring significant value drivers to the cattle feeder as well.”

View the entire study here USMARC Feed Efficiency Trial 2017

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, follow us on Instagram, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, as well as receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

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Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in Boerne, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

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Beefmasters Excel in Feed Efficiency Evaluation

 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducted a feed efficiency evaluation at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., on 18 beef cattle breeds. The feed efficiency test results ranked the Beefmaster breed second for Average Daily Gain (ADG) and Dry Matter Intake (DMI) in both steers and heifers. Only one other breed ranked in the top five in ADG and DMI for both sexes in this study and they were below the mark set by Beefmasters.

Ranking Breed Steer Ranking Breed Heifer
ADG,DMI ADG,DMI
1 Limousin 0.206 1 South Devon 0.203
2 Beefmaster 0.203 2 Beefmaster 0.096
3 Chiangus 0.13 3 Hereford 0.094
3 Maine Anjou 0.13 4 Maine Anjou 0.031
4 Santa Gertrudis 0.119 5 Charolais 0.03
5 Gelbvieh 0.107 6 Shorthorn 0.025
6 Brahman 0.1 7 Limousin 0.017
7 Hereford 0.099 8 Santa Gerturudis 0.012
8 Braunvieh 0.073 9 Chiangus 0.008
9 Charolais 0.07 10 Salers 0.002
9 Salers 0.07 11 Angus 0
9 Shorthorn 0.07 12 Simmental -0.004
10 Tarentaise 0.05 12 Red Angus -0.004
11 Simmental 0.027 13 Brahman -0.023
12 Angus 0 14 Gelbvieh -0.027
13 Brangus -0.002 15 Brangus -0.049
14 Red Angus -0.014 16 Braunvieh -0.078
15 South Devon -0.041 17 Tarentaise -0.081

 

Details about the evaluation:

The 18 breed USMARC study evaluated 5,606 head of cattle (composed of finishing steers and growing replacement heifers) for DMI, ADG and Post Weaning Gain (PWG). DMI and ADG data were recorded over 62 to 148 day periods for both steers and heifers. PWG was calculated by dividing gain from weaning to yearling weights by the number of days between the weights. Individual animal feed intake data was measured daily as a key component of the evaluation. All animals used were from the U.S. MARC germplasm evaluation project.

Using the Angus breed as a base of zero (0), the other breeds were compared back to the Angus as a baseline for both steers and heifers, where they were evaluated for efficiency using ADG and PWG during feed intake data collection. Beefmasters ranked second for ADG in both steers and heifers.

Feed Efficiency Adds Value

Feed efficiency is important for all sectors of the industry. Cattlemen have known this for a long time. The challenge has always been finding a cost effective way to measure feed efficiency in individual animals. Over the past decade new technologies, such as GrowSafe Systems LLC, have emerged as a means to collect detailed individual animal feed intake data, from which individual animal feed conversions can be extracted. With the inclusion of this powerful new individual intake and conversion data, researchers are now conducting exciting new feed efficiency evaluations which are identifying more efficient animals. When one considers the impact of adding the power of genomics to the equation, the prospects of making rapid genetic improvements in the area of feed efficiency is exciting.

Feed Efficiency Impacts Cow-Calf Sector

Improved feed efficiency relates directly to the cow-calf operator. Annual cow maintenance costs are the largest expense in all cow-calf programs. Replacing large appetite and high maintenance cows with more feed efficient females impacts the bottom line by reducing annual cow costs. In operations where supplemental feeding is required for the cow herd, more feed efficient cows post cost savings to the bottom line.

While current research is focused on measuring feed efficiency, science is also unraveling the relationship between efficiency on feed vs. efficiency on pasture. Some limited research has shown that the same cattle that are efficient on feed will also be more efficient on forage. That remains to be proven in large scale projects, but scientists are working to solve the pasture efficiency question.

Some efficiency researchers hypothesize that specific efficiency traits, such as Residual Feed Intake (RFI), is a maternal trait. If that is correct, the way ranchers make mating decisions in the future could be greatly impacted because selecting for feed efficiency would become as common as using birth weight EPDs.

Feed Efficiency in the Feedyard

The impact of feed efficiency on cattle feeders is obvious. Identifying genetics that gain more while eating less feed is a recipe for profitability. Over the past 10 years, the beef industry has focused almost exclusively on Quality Grade in our finished cattle. The push to improve marbling to earn the carcass premiums that come with it, coupled with relatively inexpensive corn, has distracted many cattle feeders away from the importance of feed conversion to total profitability. Do you remember when the ethanol subsidies pushed corn to record prices? That was the last time the industry was vocal about the need for more feed efficient cattle.

Cattle with better feed conversions have fewer days on feed and lower cost of gain, resulting in serious cost savings for their owners. These feed efficiency upgrades come with even more value in the case of Beefmasters when you factor in advantages for dressing percentage, which lead to more pounds to add to your grid pricing worksheet. It takes a historically large Choice/Select spread to override the value adding combination of cattle that convert on feed in the mid 5:1 range, post over 3.5 ADG, dress in the 64%-65% range and hang up predominantly Yield Grade 2 carcasses. Beefmaster steers are doing just that in feedyards across the country, while still Quality Grading at acceptable levels.

Beefmasters are gaining attention as the beef industry begins to seek out efficiency genetics to bridge the gap to optimal, cost effective production practices. Beefmasters have been long regarded as a versatile maternal breed, but this feed efficiency study points out that Beefmasters bring significant value drivers to the cattle feeder as well.

This study, buoyed by individual animal feed intake technology, points out major feed efficiency differences between breeds. For years Beefmasters have been recognized as solid feedyard performers with superior health, lower cost of gain and superior feed conversion rates. Feed efficiency, coupled with higher yielding and improved dressing percentages, adds a new layer of added value over the top of today’s grid pricing mechanisms.

Crossbreeding with Beefmasters

Efficiency doesn’t stop at the feed bunk. Beefmasters add efficiency through a powerful heterosis kick that will improve fertility, longevity, health, improved pay weights and overall profitability. Thanks to the strong Bos indicus base, Beefmasters are truly unique among composite breeds. According to geneticists, Beefmaster post 63% retained heterosis which is a great advantage on the maternal side.

Beefmaster bulls used on high percentage Angus cows yield results that keep the cowman in business and the feedyard happy. This popular cross anchors the maternal equation with progeny being 75% British and 25% ear. Enough Bos indicus to ramp up maternal heterosis, while maintaining market and carcass acceptability of the Angus/Hereford/Shorthorn influence. Being predominantly black-hided and showing very little ear or navel, calves of this cross consistently earn branded premiums that other black-hided calves earn. The biggest difference is the extra pounds of pay weight and replacement females that stay in the herd significantly longer than straight Bos taurus cows. All of this thanks to heterosis.

Adaptability

The versatility and adaptability of Beefmasters is eye opening. Many breeds talk about how adaptable they are, but Beefmasters prove it. Two of the largest markets for Beefmaster bulls are the high desert of the Northwest region and the Gulf Coast region, which stretches from Mexico all the way to Florida and the Atlantic coastline. Ranchers in these wildly different environments use Beefmasters to anchor the maternal needs for their commercial operations.

In the high desert ranchers are able to utilize more country simply because hardier Beefmaster cross cows will travel farther to water sources than high percentage British cows. The willingness to cover more country, utilizing native pasture and thrive in higher elevations creates efficiency and provides great value to ranchers.

Gulf Coast conditions provide a totally different set of challenges for ranchers. Hot, very humid conditions with lots of low quality forage, coupled with unprecedented insect and parasite loads makes ranching in this region very challenging. The challenges of maintaining body condition scores and getting cows bred back make Beefmasters a great choice in this region. The bonus of heavier calf pay weights due to Beefmaster performance is also a nice upgrade.

Beefmaster bull users in these two very different environments tend to be large scale commercial herds. The feeder calves produced from these large herds go directly into some of the beef industry’s best known branded beef programs. Beefmaster sired steers have earned a reputation for meeting the carcass specifications for these demanding programs and being the most profitable cattle in those supply chains.

For cattlemen facing the challenges of fescue country, Brahman influenced genetics have been documented to handle the effects of fescue toxicity better than any other genetic combination. The efficiency advantage Beefmaster offers farmers in the fescue belt is impressive. Combining the breed complimentary crossbreeding effect of Beefmaster with the predominantly Angus herds of this region yields great value, all thanks to the proven attributes of heterosis.

A Systems Approach to Efficiency

The key to profitability is identifying the genetics and management scenarios that fit the marketing program or supply chain that your calves will eventually wind up in. In other words streamlining your product to fit the system. There are some basic steps every cattleman can take to increase efficiency. The industry has known about these tools for some time, but have not correctly capitalized on them.

Crossbreeding is the simplest way to implement efficiency and will yield the greatest return for commercial cattlemen. The benefits of direct and maternal heterosis have been documented time and time again. Implementing an organized, controlled crossbreeding program will make your entire operation more efficient. Including Beefmasters as a key ingredient will allow you to squeeze more profit out of your program.

USMARC Feed Efficiency Trial 2017

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