Research

Established in 2009, as a 501(c)(3) not for profit, tax exempt corporation, the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) serves as the official education and research affiliate of Beefmaster Breeders United (B.B.U) and is dedicated to making a great breed of cattle even better through scientific research, education of the breed's future leaders and providing valuable information to the public about the benefits of the Beefmaster breed as a superior meat production animal.

Sire Evaluation

Sire Evaluation

Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F) is hard at work laying the groundwork to prove the maternal excellence of Beefmasters in today’s rapidly changing, technology driven beef industry. Educating the beef industry about the cow efficiency advantages of Beefmaster cattle is a key responsibility for B.E.E.F. Beefmaster Breeders United’s(BBU) Sire Evaluation Program is the first step in collecting valuable genomic and feed efficiency data that will be used to position Beefmasters as the maternal breed of choice. Here are some key points to the Sire Evaluation Program.

  • 300 commercial cows in three separate test herds
    • The University of Arkansas at Monticello, Monticello, AR
    • Flying B Ranches, La Pryor, TX
    • McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA
  • All cows A.I. bred to Beefmaster sires from programs with the largest genetic footprint in BBU
  • All progeny will be genotyped to increase the validity and accuracy all data points collected
  • All progeny to be developed on Growsafe Systems LLC technology to compute individual feed intake and residual feed intake (RFI), feed efficiency measures
  • Steer progeny will be finished at Next Gen Feedyard(s) in Kansas and full complete individual carcass data to be collected and used to build a current carcass database for EPD development
  • Heifer progeny will return to herd of origin and be put into production for lifetime (or as long as possible) breeding and production data, breeding, calving, birth weight and weaning weight at a minimum will be submitted to BBU
  • Heifer data will be used to compute efficiency measures on Beefmaster genetics and included in $M and other new relevant EPDs
  • Heifer data and the test herds will be used to develop new genomic selection tools, such as Beefmaster commercial replacement heifer chip
  • All data will be used to improve BBU’s performance, genomic and carcass databases

Long term these Beefmaster sired heifers will form a nucleus of genetics that BBU will use to collect invaluable fertility, efficiency, performance, carcass and genomic data. The Sire Evaluation Program is underway with the first calves from the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) already at PX Feeders in Evant, Texas undergoing Growsafe development. UAM used three Beefmaster A.I., sires and cleaned up with Angus bulls. The UAM cattle will finish Growsafe in late July and be bred in December. BBU anticipates having Growsafe efficiency data back on these cattle and to be presented at convention in October 2017.

The Flying B Ranches calf crop was born beginning in February 2017 featuring Beefmaster sired progeny from four A.I., sires and four Flying B Beefmaster bulls. These calves will begin Growsafe development in October 2017.

2000 Bull Project

2000 Bull Project

BBU has (or has had) cooperative research projects in beef cattle production including genetics, feeding and carcass evaluation with Louisiana State University, Stephen F. Austin University, Texas A&M University, Auburn University and Texas Tech University. BBU members also participate in genomics (DNA) projects with the United States Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska.

Results show purebred and crossbred Beefmaster steers are exceptionally efficient in the feedlot and are producing carcasses that generally fall into the Select and Choice grades. With Select grade beef becoming more popular among consumers, these steers are right in line with consumer demands. On-going studies are identifying genetic lines that excel in feeding efficiency and overall profitability.

Stephen F. Austin University

Stephen F. Austin University

Title of Proposal: Evaluation and Comparison of Growth and Reproductive Performance in Beefmaster and Angus Cattle

Introduction:

Today's cattle producers have a much more difficult decision when selecting breed and type of replacement females and bulls. The cattle industry is flooded with information from breed associations promoting the advantages a producer will have by using their breed. The Angus association has successfully marketed their product to consumers and cattleman. Ask an average consumer about a unique trait that the Angus breed has to offer and they automatically respond marbling or tenderness. Look at local cattle producers and notice the increasing number of black hided calves. There are questions that cattlemen need to ask themselves. Are Angus cattle the right choice for my breeding program? Will the calves meet the demand of the consumer? American consumers are demanding healthy foods that are flavorful. Beefmaster cattle have the characteristics to meet the demand of today's consumer. Beefmaster's are suited to provide beef producers with efficient production from the cow all the way through the feedyard and also produce a superior product to place on the consumer's plate. Beefmaster producers know that their cattle will fit the consumer's demand and can out perform other breeds. However, Beefmaster producers have kept the breed hidden. Even the advantages of using Beefmaster sires on commercial females are not well documented. One study conducted at the Texas A&M Agri-Life Research Center in McGregor (1998-2001) compared fifteen Beefmaster sires that were mated to commercial Angus females. The Beefmaster-sired calves performed well in growth and carcass characteristics. Over seventy percent of the calves graded choice or higher. Dr. Jim Sanders of Texas A&M University stated that the results of this progeny test appear to be very favorable for the Beefmaster breed and the cattle performed well from birth to harvest, and the carcasses were outstanding. Additional research similar to this study is needed. This research would aid in promoting and marketing the breed to cattleman. The results from the proposed study will aid in validating what Beefmaster breeders already know about their cattle.

Overall Objectives: Evaluate differences in growth and reproductive performance between Beefmaster and Angus cattle.

Objectives:

  1. Evaluate differences in growth and carcass performance between Beefmaster, Angus, and crossbred calves.
  2. Evaluate reproductive performance and longevity between Beefmaster and Angus females.
  3. Examine the relationship between reproductive performance and longevity and maternal and reproductive traits from DNA genotyping.
  4. Examine the relationship between carcass traits and carcass DNA genotype.
  5. Examine the relationship between temperament scores, exit velocity and serum cortisol concentrations and performance traits in Beefmaster, Angus, and crossbred cattle.
  6. Examine the relationship between temperament scores, exit velocity and serum cortisol concentrations and DNA genotype results.

Methodology:

Beefmaster, Angus, and commercial females (n = 20 per group) will be housed at the Stephen F. Austin State University Beef Center. The project is contingent upon receiving 20 Beefmaster heifers. Females will be bred to calve in the spring. They will be rebred beginning in May by artificial insemination to the top bulls in the Beefmaster and Angus breed (Table 1). Beefmaster bulls will be used to breed any females that did not settle by artificial insemination. Calving ease scores will be collected on the cows.

Table 1. Number of females of each breed bred to Beefmaster and Angus Bulls.

 
Beefmaster Bull
Angus Bull
Beefmaster females
n = 20
n= 0
Angus females
n = 10
n = 10
Commercial females
n = 10
n = 10

Birth and weaning weight will be collected on all calves. Calves will be scanned for ultrasound measures of 12th rib and rump fat, ribeye area and percent intramuscular fat. Calves will be backgrounded at the SFA beef farm. The steers and cull heifer calves will be fed at a feedyard. At harvest, carcass data will be collected and reported to SFA.

Temperament in the cows and calves will be assessed by measuring exit velocity and pen score. Blood samples will be collected at weaning to measure serum cortisol concentrations. Additional blood samples will be collected and submitted to Igenity for DNA profiles with parent verification that will include carcass composition, maternal traits, docility, average daily gain, and feed efficiency. Whole herd reporting will be implemented.

The project is planned to be conducted for a minimum of three years. An additional two years is expected if there is available funding. The SFA lead scientist will provide a completed research summary, abstract, and/or full paper to BBU at the end of each year to be reported to the Board.

Texas A&M University

The BBU/TAMU Sire Evaluation Project

(A visit with former BBU Executive Vice President Wendell Schronk)

The following article summarizes our BBU Sire/Progeny Study conducted by Dr. Jim Sanders with the Texas A&M Animal Science Dept. I want to thank Dr. Sanders, Dr. Dave Lunt and the various members who paid to have these 15 bulls evaluated. While they were interested in their particular bull, the BBU Board of Directors, the breed improvement committee and I were all interested in the breed in general as we were trying to establish a base line for our cattle. Without the contributions of these members we certainly could not have gathered so much useful data on our breed. I appreciate the support and cooperation that this project had and was extremely pleased with our breed's performance when it came to evaluating carcass merit.

By Kelli L. Key, Graduate Research Assistant, Texas A&M University

In 1998, Texas A&M and Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) entered into a collaborative effort to progeny test a group of Beefmaster sires. Over a five-year period, 258 progeny out of 15 bulls were evaluated for growth and carcass traits. These calves were produced by breeding commercial Angus cows from the Texas A&M University Research Station at McGregor with semen from the selected bulls. Calves were born from 1998 to 2001 and weaned in October or November of each year at approximately seven months of age. Steers and heifers were fed at the McGregor station and harvested in early June of each year at Sam Kane Beef Processors in Corpus Christi. Carcass measurements were recorded, and quality grade and yield grade factors were evaluated by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) graders as well as Texas A&M meat science faculty and students.

Birth weight was recorded on all calves included in the project. The adjusted average birth weight was 81.5 lbs., with sire averages ranging from a low of 73.3 lbs. to a high of 90.3 lbs. At the time of weaning, actual weaning weights were taken. The adjusted average weaning weight across all sires was 462.3 lbs. Individual sires in the project had progeny weaning weight averages that ranged from 413.6 to 504.9 lbs., during some extremely hot and dry years. The adjusted average yearling weight was 866.6 lbs. for all sires, while the sire averages ranged from 789.3 to 954.9 lbs.

The adjusted average hot carcass weight was 632.3 lbs. Individual sire averages for hot carcass weight included a low of 568.8 lbs. and a high of 706 lbs. The adjusted average ribeye area was 11.51 sq. in., with the lowest sire averaging 9.94 sq. in. and the high sire averaging 12.38 sq. in. The adjusted average yield grade, as calculated using the USDA yield grade equation, was 3.28. Sire average yield grades ranged from 2.71 to 3.94. The adjusted average marbling score was Small 48, which translates to a quality grade of low Choice. The lowest sire's average marbling score was Slight 71 (Select), and the highest sire's average was Modest 10 (average Choice).

All carcasses included in the project were evaluated by the USDA grader at Sam Kane Beef Processors. Across the four years of the project, 72 percent of all carcasses graded either Prime or Choice. The highest performing sire in terms of quality grade produced progeny that all graded Prime or Choice, while the lowest performing sire had only 14 percent of his progeny grade Prime or Choice. Forty-nine percent of all carcasses in the study were determined to have yield grades of 1 or 2. The leading sire for yield grade had 86 percent of his progeny grade either 1 or 2, while the lowest ranking sire had only 9 percent of his progeny meet this standard.

One steak was removed from each carcass and transported to Texas A&M, where steaks were aged for fourteen days. After this aging period, Warner-Bratzler Shear Force measures were recorded for each individual animal. Warner-Bratzler Shear Force is a mechanical measurement of tenderness that simulates the amount of force required to cut through a one-half inch core of cooked meat. The adjusted average shear force value for all animals was 7.47 lbs. This is substantially less than 10 lbs., which is generally considered the designation between a tender and tough steak. Shear force averages ranged from 6.42 to 8.80 lbs. for the sires involved in the project.

Within the small group of sires included in the project, there are individual bulls that excel in valuedetermining characteristics such as growth traits, carcass quality and carcass cutability. The progeny in the study performed very well in the area of carcass quality, as 72 percent of the carcasses graded Choice or above, and no sires had shear force averages above 10 lbs."The results of this progeny test appear to be very favorable for the Beefmaster breed," said Dr. Jim Sanders of Texas A&M University. "The cattle performed well from birth to harvest, and the carcasses were outstanding. I would like to thank Dr. David Lunt and the staff of the McGregor Research Station for their work to make this project a success and I want to thank BBU and those participating breeders."

The bulls that were tested are Lasater 2516; Classic Cotton; CJ's Desperado 530; Polled Mandate; Cherokee Renegade 399/5; Evolution; Black Lazer; Cherokee's Appeal; L Bar 5502; The Postman; Synergy; Oak Creek Ranch Red One; L Bar 7499; CF's Grand Cherokee; and EMS Smooth Connection

Auburn University

Proposal

The Animal Sciences Department at Auburn University recently received the Beefmaster herd of Arrow T Farms courtesy of Mr. Greg Thomas. The herd is in isolation pending the results of routine serology in accordance with the Department's biosecurity plan. When the cow herd is cleared to enter the existing Wilson Beef Teaching Unit herd, we intend to use them as a representative of a Brahman influence breed, much as we use our Angus herd as a representative of British breed. As such, we offer the following proposals to the Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU).

Faculty in the Animal Science Department will develop a selection plan for our Beefmaster herd emphasizing moderate frame scores and maternal traits (cow efficiency). All bull calves will be castrated. Steers and cull heifers will be fed for teaching and demonstration use, and harvested through the Lambert-Powell Meats Laboratory.

  • The use of this herd will be maximized with a cooperative effort between Auburn University Animal Sciences and BBU. We request the following:
    • A supply of semen to select from to meet the identified selection program
    • Waver of all fees associated with animal registration and data evaluation.
  • In return, we can provide:
    • Production data on all animals in the herd
    • Carcass data on all Beefmaster cattle processed in our lab
    • Opportunities for field days, tours and other educational events.
  • Individual feed intake data is possible using the Calan gate system at our Beef Cattle Evaluation Center. The current daily charge for the use of this facility in $1.70/head/day plus feed. The facility has the capacity of 96 head (8 pens, 12 head/pen).
    • If BBU is interested in feed intake and feed conversion data, all Beefmaster cattle will be
      fed using this facility. Auburn University will provide the feed and BBU will cover the
      daily use fee for the feeding period ($20.40/day for 12 head)
    • Ultrasound data is available for up to $15/head ($300/year for 20 head)
    • Auburn University can also conduct a feeding trial for BBU, feeding bulls, heifers or
      steers. The cost of such a test will be negotiated.

The Animal Sciences Department at Auburn University looks forward to working with Beefmaster Breeders United in any arrangement possible.