By Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement & Western Field Representative
Last month I wrote about breeding with a purpose, and I think that in order to breed with a purpose it is vital to understand the purpose of the Seedstock or Purebred industry. While it is nice to sell bulls for $20,000 and females for $10,000, the purpose of the Seedstock industry is not that, it is to produce cattle that will help the commercial producer become more profitable in what they do. Whether it is a small producer that just sells calves by the pound at the local auction barn or a large producer that sells pot loads of steers or even retains ownership of the cattle. Seedstock producers need to know their target audience and produce a product that will help the bottom line of their commercial customers.
A Seedstock producer needs to be in touch with the commercial industry while also keeping up with the latest technology that will help them advance their cattle for future generations. Most commercial operations get paid for pounds of product, either as a live calf or as a carcass. Seedstock producers need to realize this and make sure that the cattle they offer to commercial producers helps increase weight gain and efficiency. EPDs are a great way to do this and should be considered when making breeding decisions. There are also feed tests that Seedstock producers can take part in that can help prove efficiency and help with future breeding decisions. Commercial producers that take the product all the way to the rail can make or lose money based on carcass quality grade and/or yield grade. Ultrasound technology for scanning carcasses on live animals is a great way to estimate how an animal will perform and again goes into the EPDs that can be used for breeding decisions. It is very important to use the technology available as a Seedstock producer because that same technology is being used by commercial producers.
There are also commercial producers that are in the market of making commercial replacement females. These commercial producers focus on using the best genetics available to them to make cows that will go out and generate profit for other commercial producers. The Seedstock producer can help with this by making bulls and females that are fertile, sound and functional, while not sacrificing a large amount of weight or carcass traits. Beefmaster cross females are highly sought after because they are able to go out work and make great calves for commercial producers. This is an area that Beefmaster breeders should try to capitalize on and continue improving on. A good cow is the foundation for great calves that generate a profit.
As Seedstock producers it is crucial to pay attention to the commercial cattleman and his needs, if the cattle that are being produced do not meet the needs of the commercial man then why are they being produced. It is also important to stay on the edge of technology so that the Seedstock cattle being produced not only meet the goals of the commercial industry but will also help advance it into the future. Part of the Seedstock industry is also the elite of the purebreds going back to Seedstock producers, however that is a small part. The overall purpose and focus should be to produce cattle that work for the commercial producer. The flow chart illustrates how the cattle industry works and it is very important to keep in mind when making breeding decisions. Next month’s article will focus on the purpose of the various technologies we use.