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“Island Time for Beefmasters”

Greetings Beefmaster Breeder,

The 2015 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Annual Convention is just around the corner and we are excited for a little tropical “island time” in Galveston, Texas. Join us and enjoy some “Island Time for Beefmasters” at the beautiful paradise resort, Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center from October 29 – 31, 2015. Make time to relax, connect with friends, enjoy convention activities and attend the President’s Council Beefmaster sale. The opportunities are endless on Galveston Island!

This year’s convention promises to be as informative and entertaining as ever. The Convention Committee and the BBU staff have planned an outstanding convention agenda that will host informative speakers and thrilling entertainment. While you are connecting with old friends, you can make some new friends, learn about innovative BBU programs, view cattle, visit with vendors, hear award winning Junior Beefmaster Breeder Association speakers, enjoy great food and dance to the music of Gary P. Nunn!

Along with the convention entertainment, you will also enjoy educational seminars presented by cattle industry leaders. The seminars will educate, inform and entertain while giving you an opportunity to ask questions and interact in roundtable discussions.

This convention is a unique, fun environment for cattle industry members to come together to network so be sure that your ranch or cattle related business is recognized as a sponsor. There are many sponsorship opportunities available and we invite you to refer to the BBU 2015 Convention Sponsor Information. Our prestigious sponsors will be recognized for their commitment to the Beefmaster industry in numerous and various ways, as described on the sponsor form. We truly value your support and count on your involvement to make this convention an outstanding event for the attendees. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 361-813-9035 or Marie Zirkel at 210-732-3132.

Thank you for your commitment to the Beefmaster breed and we look forward to seeing you on Galveston Island!

Regards,

Marie Welkener

2015 BBU Convention Chairperson

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Learning Never Stops in the Cattle Business

By Matt Woolfolk, BBU Field Representative & Commercial Marketing Director

The cattle business is an ever changing industry. Advances in production are happening every day and sometimes it can be overwhelming to keep up! Even though we’re all out of high school, as Beefmaster breeders we should still be doing our homework in order to help our operation make the grade. There are plenty of resources to help you improve all facets of your operation, from forage and nutrition to herd health and marketing. In order to keep up with our fast paced industry, it’s important to hit the books and keep up to date with advancements.

Last week Bill Pendergrass, Collin Osbourn and I went back to school and attended the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Conference in Biloxi, Miss. The BIF Conference is a gathering of the brightest and most innovative minds in the field of beef cattle breeding and improvement. Breed association representatives, university extension, research specialists and progressive cattle producers from across the nation gather to exchange ideas and learn of new developments within the industry. A recurring theme of importance throughout this year’s BIF Conference was the use of Genomic Enhanced EPDs (GEPDs) and selection indices, which play a large role in the future of genetic selection for commercial cattlemen. Numerous presentations outlined how GEPDs will improve the accuracy of future genetic selection tools, while selection indices will combine multiple traits of interest into a weighted formula to produce a single value that can simplify the selection process for a bull buyer. With this technology being promoted as the next step in genetic improvement, it is exciting to know that BBU is well into the process of developing GEPDS, as well as a Maternal Selection Index for future genetic evaluations. The industry is moving forward at a blistering pace and Beefmasters are advancing with the industry!

I hope that you all take an opportunity to further your “cowboy education” in the near future. For those of you in Texas, I strongly encourage you to attend the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course from August 3 – 5 in College Station. In addition, there will be numerous Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Ranch Gatherings throughout the state this fall. For those of you outside of the Lone Star State, check with your local extension agent for meetings and programs in your area. You can even take advantage of free webinars hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). As Beefmaster enthusiasts, I strongly encourage you all to attend a Beefmaster sale near your hometown and sit in for the BBU educational session the day before. This spring BBU successfully unveiled the educational series with “Performance 101” and the series will continue this fall with “Performance 201: EPDs”. I also invite you to attend the 2015 BBU Convention in Galveston, Texas from October 29 – 31. As always, the convention will host educational sessions for attendees covering many topics relevant to Beefmaster breeders and the cattle industry. There are endless opportunities available to learn something new, so take advantage. Much like that “lazy guy” sleeping in the back of a high school Chemistry class, cattlemen that don’t keep up to date with the changes in the industry will be left behind with a poor grade (a lower quality product to market). So sharpen your pencils, get out your note pad and charge those devices; make use of educational programs near you. There will be a quiz later, so study up!

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Get Involved in the Legacy Animal Genotyping Project

During this month Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) embarked on perhaps the most important journey in the history of the Beefmaster breed, the quest to develop Genomic Enhanced EPDs (GEPDs). The first step in this process is to obtain genotypes on the breed’s most influential sires and dams. These animals that lead the breed in registrations are commonly referred to as legacy animals. Over the next few months BBU will be conducting a campaign to ensure that as many of these 600 legacy animals, as possible, are genotyped.

If you own a legacy animal, you should have received a notice from BBU that contains the sire’s registration number, name and a brief explanation of this vital project. The letter also contains a release form from BBU that authorizes the BBU approved genetic services providers to perform the necessary HD genotyping and return the results to BBU.

The cost of HD genotyping is $85.00 per sample and BBU can either bill credit cards or members can call the BBU office to make billing arrangements for the genotyping. Another important item to remember is that legacy animal genotyping requires a minimum of a 50K HD chip. If you have questions about the release form, please call Kelsey or Collin at the BBU office.

Many of these legacy animals have had DNA samples submitted in the past, however very few of those samples were viable. This means that it will be necessary to submit new DNA samples for most of these animals. BBU’s genomic service providers prefer to work with blood submitted on an FTA card that is available from the BBU office. Other forms of workable DNA samples include hair and semen. Please note that semen does not have to be frozen for DNA sampling. As long as the straw or ampule is still sealed, the sample will be satisfactory. If you have questions, please call the office or go to http://beefmasters.org/dna-testing.php where there is a helpful article on how to collect DNA samples.

There is a small group of sires that do in fact have viable DNA samples with BBU’s genomic service providers. Owners of these sires will be told which lab has the sample and the appropriate lab’s release form will be included. If you wish to have your legacy animal genotyped but want to have the work done by the other company, you must provide a new DNA sample for that animal for the lab you wish to use.

The last group of legacy animals are sires that have already been HD genotyped by the USDA Meat Animal Research Center and/or the University of Missouri. These bulls have been used in research projects and as such, already have the necessary genotypes completed. If you own a sire in this group, you will not be notified and asked to have him genotyped. BBU has made arrangement to include his genotype.

In general most of the legacy animals have a minimum of 125 registrations or progeny in the system. As you can see, these sires leave a large footprint in the breed. BBU’s goal is to have at least 400 of these legacy animals HD genotyped. These animals will become the base from which all future Beefmaster GEPDs will develop from. The genomic future of the Beefmaster breed lies in your legacy animal, please complete your genotyping today.

Simultaneous to the legacy animal project, BBU is officially allowing non-legacy animals to submit genotypes to add to the Beefmaster database. Breeders can contact BBU to receive DNA kits and the release forms to begin genotyping your Beefmaster animals. This group of genotypes will be added after the legacy animals to widen the foundation for GEPDs.

Why is genotyping so important? Because they are the first step to creating GEPDs.

What makes GEPDs better than production EPDs? Simply put, GEPDs are much more accurate than production EPDs, allowing buyers a more accurate insight into all traits. In other words, they reduce risk and add value to your genetics. Buyers are demanding GEPDs and the only way to have them is by genotyping your animals and submitting performance data to BBU.

BBU will be running a series of articles about genomics in The Beefmaster Cowman and on Beefmasters.org in the near future. Additionally, BBU staff will be conducting performance workshops that will cover all topics of performance, including genomics at every Beefmaster sale that staff are scheduled to attend this fall and spring. Come out to a sale, educate yourself about performance and invest in some great Beefmaster genetics soon.

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Opening Doors Through Advertising

By: Matt Woolfolk, BBU Field Representative and Commercial Marketing Director

Producing high-quality Beefmaster cattle is the goal of every Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) member.  However, when it comes to marketing their programs the path is not always as clear.  Marketing quality cattle is about finding the best way to expose your offering to the customer.  Advertising is the primary way to help your program be seen. Here are a few points to consider as you build or refine your ranch’s advertising strategy:

  1. Have a Plan: Before you start to build the first advertisement, you need to have an idea of what you have to sell, who you aim to sell it to and the resources you have to work with.  Whether your goal is to sell bulls to the commercial cattleman, show heifers to 4-H and FFA members or sell registered females to other breeders; it’s important to research and identify the advertising outlets that will help you reach your target audience.  It’s also important to have a budget in mind when selecting where you want to spend your advertising dollars.
  2. Diversify Your Plan: In order to effectively reach the largest number of potential customers, it’s necessary to not put all your advertising eggs in one basket.  Finding a good combination of advertising outlets will stretch your budget farther by expanding your reach.  Smaller advertisements in multiple places may have a better reach than one large ad in a single place.
  3. Utilize Social Media: With so many people being on social media these days, it’s a great place to publicize your cattle operation.  With a large audience at your disposal, creating a ranch Facebook page is a great way to keep folks updated on the daily happenings on your farm, as well as publicize sale cattle.  The best part of social media is it is free to use, allowing you to further expand your reach without tapping into your budget.
  4. Good Pictures: Livestock photography is a tricky situation.  Yes, you do want people to be able to see what kind of quality is in your program.  However, poor photographs can do much more harm than good.  Getting good quality pictures of your cattle is necessary for advertising.  Taking the time to have cattle conditioned and clean for pictures is just as important as getting the actual shot.  If you need help, there are lots of good cattle photographers out there that can help you shine the best light on your program.
  5. Consistency & Simplicity: Across all the advertisements you put together, it’s important to have consistency.  Using the similar color schemes, designs, and layouts to help establish an identity for your operation.  Using a farm logo in your ads can help viewers to recognize and become familiar with your program.  With that said, it’s also important not to try and do too much with your advertising.  Excessive words or distracting designs can take away from your ability to convey your message.  In many of today’s television commercials, the craziness on screen overshadows what is being sold, making the advertisement ineffective in selling the product.  Avoid having that problem in your advertisements.

Whatever the size of your operation is, there’s an advertising outlet available to meet your needs.  Just within our breed we offer multiple media outlets. You can advertise in The Beefmaster Cowman, The Beefmaster Banner and The Beefmaster Pay Weight. All of these publications are available to help you reach your target audience.  One final thought to share on advertising comes from William Bernbach when he said, “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”

If you have any questions regarding advertising or the publications within the Beefmaster breed, feel free to contact me at mwoolfolk@beefmasters.org or 210-464-0923.

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Beefmasters Take on Europe

International Beefmaster Family & Friends!!!!

On May 31, 2015, we received confirmation that live Beefmaster embryos are in place in Western and Eastern Europe. The ET work is progressing to maximize success of the 65 embryos currently in Europe with about 75 more to ship this summer. This is historic for development of our Beefmaster breed in Europe.

Field day presentations are planned in Rome, Italy on 23 June 2015 with guests invited from Italy, Germany, and England for Western Europe and at Poznan University in Poland on 26 June for guests invited from Poland, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria.

Lorenzo Lasater and Doyle Sanders will represent BBU and USLGE in these introductory events. When these calves arrive in 2016, there will be exhibitions planned to showcase the calves and show how their genetics will improve the beef industry in these regions of Europe.

Go International- Beefmaster Breeders United!!

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How to Collect DNA Samples

Collecting a DNA sample is easy, but collecting a good DNA sample is crucial to receiving prompt and accurate results. As a Beefmaster breeder it is required that DNA samples be collected and processed through Zoetis or Geneseek on all embryo and semen donor dams and sires. The process of collecting quality DNA blood or hair samples is important to understand for all Beefmaster breeders. If a bad DNA sample is provided then the DNA-testing lab cannot efficiently extract the DNA. If you currently, or plan to in the future, collect DNA samples please become familiar with the instructions below. If you are more of a “see-then-do” learner, please view the Hair Sample How to Video or the Blood Sample How to Video.

If you need to order a DNA hair or blood kit, please contact the office at 210-732-3132 or kcrenshaw@beefmasters.org.

How to Collect Blood Samples using Blood Cards

Always wash your hands or use clean gloves. Allow blood samples to dry completely before shipping, but do not dry them in direct sunlight or in a plastic bag. When collecting blood, use a new needle, syringe or pin prick device for each animal. When collecting, packaging and submitting samples for DNA testing, it is critical to eliminate cross-contamination. Rinsing needles is not enough to prevent possible DNA residue. Please follow these simple steps to improve accuracy of test results:

1. Verify the animal’s tattoo and/or tag number and clearly record it on the blood card in the space provided. This ID will be used for reporting results, so it’s important to double-check it for accuracy.

2. Using a new needle or piercing device for each animal, prick a vein in the animal’s ear. As blood forms at the site of the prick, open the blood card and touch it to the drop on the indicated square. Apply only enough blood to the card to fill the two squares outlined, but not so much that the card is soggy and overly saturated. Two or three heavy drops of blood per square is plenty. A syringe may also be used to collect and spot the blood cards.

3. Next, bend the top flap of the card up so that the sample dries while the card is in an open position.

4. Set the blood card aside with the top flap open until dry. Make sure that blood cards do not touch—this is a possible source of DNA cross-contamination. Also, do not dry blood cards in direct sunlight, as UV radiation destroys DNA.

5. Once dry, rubber band closed blood cards together in batches of 10 – 15 and combine several batches together into resealable plastic storage bags.

6. Record the Animal ID along with other animal information on the Zoetis Sample Information Form or the Geneseek DNA Submission Form, such that each sample can be correctly matched with each animal. Barcodes are assigned to the samples upon arrival in the lab.

7. Send DNA sample to Beefmaster Breeders United, 6800 Park Ten Blvd., Suite 290 West, San Antonio, TX 78213

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Collect High-Quality Hair Root Samples

Collecting good hair root samples is crucial for reliable test results because bulbs are a reliable source of DNA. Proper collection will reduce the number of samples that fail in the lab due to insufficient quantity and quality of DNA.

Getting Started
To help assure the safety of the animal and the handler, properly restrain the animal with a halter, headlock, chute or whatever is most appropriate for the animal’s size. Always wash your hands or use clean gloves. If you are using a device (e.g., hemostats), be sure to wipe it clean between animals. Additional attention must be used when collecting hair roots from calves under four (4) months of age, as adequate hair roots might be difficult to obtain.

Collecting The Hair Samples

Step 1. Record the animal’s tag number on the hair sample collector in the space provided. This animal ID will be used for reporting test results, so it’s important to doublecheck for accuracy.

Step 2. While holding the end of the tail switch, pull a pencil-thickness tuft of hair (at least 20 – 25 hair roots) from the tail switch, making sure hair roots are attached. Roots are under the skin of the tail and extract easily when pulled correctly. Pull the hair “up and away” from the way it lays to get as many roots as possible. Always collect dry hair samples and make sure the roots are not contaminated with feces. Hair root samples also may be obtained from other sources, such as ears or tailhead.

Step 3. Open the hair sample collector completely. Place the hair on the back of the printed flap of the collector as shown, with roots close to the joined end. Peel off the backing paper, starting from the joined end, to expose the sticky backing of the flap.

Step 4. Press the sticky plastic side down on top of the hair roots. Make sure the edges of the plastic are sealed around the collector. Also, verify that the roots are covered.

Step 5. Trim the excess hair to the edges of the sample collector. Place the collectors in bundles of 10 – 15 in a resealable plastic storage bag.

Step 6. Record the Animal ID along with other animal information on the Zoetis Sample Information Form or the Geneseek DNA Submission Form, such that each sample can be correctly matched with each animal. Barcodes are assigned to the samples upon arrival in the lab.

Step 7. Send DNA sample to Beefmaster Breeders United, 6800 Park Ten Blvd., Suite 290 West, San Antonio, TX 78213

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Shining a Light on Beefmaster in the Sunshine State

By: Matt Woolfolk, Commercial Marketing Director & Field Representative

The area around Lake Okeechobee is one of the most agriculture rich areas I’ve ever traveled. You can drive for miles with citrus trees lining both sides of the highway. Sugar cane fields are everywhere. Several of the vegetables in Southeastern grocery stores were harvested in this area. Perhaps the most exciting part of it all is the large number of cattle and the good name Beefmaster owns in the area.

For almost two weeks, I crisscrossed through the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee to learn more about beef cattle production in this fertile region, as well as the role played by Beefmaster cattle.  I was able to visit with both purebred and commercial producers, sale barn managers, pharmaceutical representatives, feed representatives and employees of the University of Florida, to try and get a complete picture of the business. You may not realize it, but Florida is big time cattle country. Four of the ten largest ranches in the United States are located in the Sunshine State. Florida’s cow herd is the twelfth largest in the United States.

Beefmaster cattle are popular among many of the larger commercial ranches in the Sunshine State.  Time and time again, producers told me of how they admired the productivity of the Beefmaster female in the harsh summer climate. They complimented the cows for having a live calf, successfully raising it to weaning and breeding back. On several ranches, I saw cows that were born in the 1990s and are still raising calves! Multiple operations said they were keeping all the high quality Beefmaster-sired heifers that they could produce as replacement females. Beefmaster bulls were in use on several types of cows, from Brangus and Charolais-based females to the classic “Heinz 57” crossbred cow. Weaning weights on steer calves were coming in as much as 50 pounds higher than annual averages.

The University of Florida Beef Cattle Short Course was a great event for education and meeting more industry professionals. Sessions on market outlooks, reproductive physiology and a group panel discussion on the state of the industry in Florida highlighted the proceedings in Gainesville. This was an interesting event with a lot of useful information gathered both inside and outside the lecture halls.

If you ever get the opportunity, I strongly encourage you to make a trip to Florida and see Beefmaster cattle at work in the field. I also encourage you to fly down and rent a car; it’s a really long drive from Texas! You will gain a new appreciation for the ability of the breed to perform in a commercial atmosphere. The conditions for raising beef cattle in Florida are unlike anywhere else in the country.  Luckily for us, our cattle thrive in these conditions. Beefmaster will continue to be in the spotlight in Florida for the foreseeable future!

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Communicating with Commercial Cattlemen

Beefmaster Breeders United is proud to introduce their newest publication that will be debuting Fall 2015. The Beefmaster Pay Weight is a publication produced by Beefmaster Breeders United and dedicated to serving commercial cattlemen. We feature the latest beef cattle industry news, innovative discoveries in the industry, and discussions about the latest cattle trends and technologies. The Beefmaster Pay Weight was founded to assist the Beefmaster cattle industry with effective advertising and a communication tool with commercial cattlemen throughout the country.

If you are interested in advertising with The Beefmaster Pay Weight please contact Matt Woolfolk at 210-464-0923.

Click here or the image below to view rates and details in the 2015/2016 Media Kit for The Beefmaster Pay Weight.


 

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Junior Fed Beef Career and Leadership Program

Each summer, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) hosts a Junior Fed Beef Career and Leadership Program in conjunction with West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. This year’s program will be held June 29 – July 1 on the campus of WTAMU.

Participants will receive hands-on instruction about feedyard operations, as well as career opportunities in the fed beef industry. Students will participate in operation problem solving and leadership activities. Activities will include tours of commercial cattle feeding operations, a tour of a beef processing facility, the opportunity to learn the anatomy of a beef carcass and fabricate a beef half, and participate in a consumer beef taste panel. Students will also spend a day learning day-to-day operations of a feedyard and have the opportunity to participate in a job shadow program at a local feedyard following the conclusion of the program.

The program is open to incoming high school juniors in seniors residing in Texas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico. The deadline is fast approaching, but I thought a program like this may really be of interest to some of the youth in your association.

Click the following link to find a brochure about the program and an application http://www.tcfa.org/news-events/feedyard-camp.html. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who may be interested.

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BBU in Panama, Feria Internacional de Azuero

This past week two representatives of Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU), Bill Pendergrass and Lauren Lyssy, traveled to the Central America country of Panama. While in Panama Pendergrass, BBU Executive Vice President, and Lyssy, BBU International Committee Co-Chair, toured modern day livestock markets and visited the ranches of several prestigious Panama Beefmaster breeders. They visited ranches owned by Jamie Chen Reyes, Tito Dotari and Guido Martenilli, who are all pioneering Beefmaster breeders in Panama. From the visits it was evident that BBU genetics are making a big difference in Panama. BBU was also proud to have Pendergrass and Lyssy serve as international judges for the Beefmaster show at the 53rd Feria Internacional de Azuero.

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