By Jeralyn Novak, Communications Coordinator
Value-added programs are on the rise in the beef industry as input costs increase and margins remain tight. Enterprising beef producers are exploring new ways to improve their return on investment and open doors to new marketing avenues. Beefmaster Breeders United offers a value-added program through the Beefmaster E6 Commercial Female. The BBU Essential Commercial Female Program is a prime example of expanding the market for Beefmaster cattle. The program, referred to as the E6 program, focuses attention on the strong maternal traits of Beefmaster cattle and helps commercial cattlemen develop stronger markets and greater value for their Beefmaster and Beefmaster cross heifers. The word “essential” is included in the name because of the six essentials upon which the breed was founded – weight, conformation, milk production, fertility, disposition and hardiness.
While attractive, hearty bulls are often known to steal the spotlight, the modest hero of this legendary breed is without a doubt the essential Beefmaster female. She’s universal – in tropical climates of the South, high altitude or sparse sections of the West. Throughout the Fescue Belt and stretching into the High Plains, the Beefmaster female remains constant.
What is an E6 Certified Female?
The E6 program is a commercial Beefmaster female. This female was labeled as an E6 based off the essential six traits that were used to develop the Beefmaster breed. This program has been around now for about 20 plus years. The National E6 Sale in Columbus, Texas, and others like it throughout the Plains and Florida, ensure there’s verified and top-quality females available for purchase. The National E6 Sale as been held for 15 years plus.
Commercial breeders from all over the country are constantly looking to restock their pastures with Beefmaster cross females.
“They are needing that genetics and they realize that in hot and humid and tropical regions they need cattle that can go out there and eat really low quality forage, that has high water content, fight mosquitoes, fight pests and go out make money for them in a hostile climate situation,” said Trey Scherer, a Beefmaster breeder from Brenham, Texas and a consignor to the National E6 Sale.
The essential Beefmaster cross, there’s no better cow. In today’s beef cattle industry, branded programs are the main topic of discussion. The Beefmaster E6 Program is a branded program for those highly sought-after replacement females. This program also gives the buyer assurance that these cattle are at least 50% Beefmaster and that they have been inspected for quality. The program serves as a marketing tool for the cattle producer.
“When you get around trying to kind these kinds of cattle, they’re hard to find. They are popular,” said Anthony Mihalski, a long-time auctioneer and sale manager for the Beefmaster industry.
The advantage of these commercial Beefmaster female sales is that each sale has specific consignors that are committed to producing these types of cattle and holding them for these value-added sales.
“These sales give us one place where buyers can come to and get a pretty large offering,” said Mihalski.
When buyers purchase cattle from the commercial Beefmaster females from these sales they know the ranch that the cattle are coming from.
“You know that these cattle are at least half registered Beefmaster genetics. They give that producer that secure feeling that I am going to get that longevity. We know that these cattle are home raised cattle and coming out of vaccination programs,” said Scherer.
If you are a commercial cattleman, you simply can’t afford NOT to be crossbreeding. The benefits of a crossbred cow to any commercial herd are undeniable and highly documented.
Scherer is a true believer in Beefmaster genetics and the advantages of crossbreeding to produce a commercial Beefmaster female. “There’s no more versatile cow out there in the industry than a Beefmaster cow.”
Crossbreeding leads to hybrid vigor or heterosis. Simply put, crossbred calves, on the average, are better performers than their straight bred parents. More vigorous at birth, faster growing calves perform better for almost every trait and make more money.
“The beautiful part about a Beefmaster based cow and or just Beefmaster genetics is that you can put them on anything. You can fit them to whatever program serves your ranch the best. You can add Beefmaster genetics to it to get the longevity, the structure, to get the efficiency and it’s going to work within the first year,” said Larry Meacham, a Beefmaster breeder and commercial cattlemen.
Crossbred cows improve calving rates, calf survivability, more calves born and weaned, more pounds of calf and more calves produced over the cow’s lifetime. With good management, Maternal Heterosis will make a rancher more money than anything else he can do.
Meacham adds, “she’s [Beefmaster cow] known for her maternal traits. She’s known for her longevity, along with her efficiency in the pasture when converting grass into pounds. There’s no better female than a Beefmaster based cow.”
That’s the Certified E6 Beefmaster Female. With longevity and sustainability at her core, she’s the cow that can do it all. Her versatility compliments any program and brings cattle producers more dollars at the end of the day.