Successful Farming - - CONTENTS - By Gene John­ston and Lau­rie Be­dord, Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor, Ag Tech­nol­ogy

You’ve made the in­vest­ment to up­grade the ge­net­ics of your cowherd. Still, the mar­ket never seems to re­ward your good calves. You’re not alone in that frus­tra­tion. Why in­vest in high-end ge­net­ics when you don’t get paid for it? There is help. At least two or­ga­ni­za­tions – Top Dol­lar An­gus and An­gus Link – will ver­ify the qual­ity in your calves and pro­mote them to po­ten­tial buy­ers. Here’s how they work.

Top Dol­lar An­gus

Gen­eral man­ager: Jared Ware­ham

Phone: 660/492-2777 Email: [email protected]­dol­ Web: top­dol­

What the com­pany does: Top Dol­lar An­gus is a ge­netic-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and mar­ket-as­sist com­pany fo­cused ex­clu­sively on the top 25% of the in­dus­try in car­cass and growth traits. As the name sug­gests, Top Dol­lar An­gus works with An­gus- and Red An­gus-based herds. To be en­rolled, fe­males must be at least 50% An­gus/Red An­gus, and the sires must be reg­is­tered or crossed with An­gus/Red An­gus with a reg­is­tra­tion num­ber. A DNA test is an­other way to qual­ify.

“Our goal is to iden­tify pro­duc­ers whose herds rank in the top 25% of the breed for traits cru­cial to prof­itable cat­tle feed­ing,” Ware­ham says. “We then sup­port their mar­ket­ing ef­forts by con­nect­ing them with a cat­tle feed­ing net­work that ex­tends from coast to coast.”

Once a com­mer­cial herd qual­i­fies for Top Dol­lar An­gus, he says the goal is to achieve a min­i­mum of $30-per-head pre­mium over the av­er­age for that day. Some­times, that num­ber ex­ceeds $100.

Cat­tle en­roll­ments in the pro­gram are trend­ing up for more than just pure­bred An­gus and Red An­gus cat­tle. Com­pos­ites like CharAn­gus and SimAn­gus are also rapidly on the rise.

The com­pany’s fees in­clude an an­nual herd en­roll­ment fee for eval­u­a­tion and data en­try based on herd size. It ranges from $175 to $425. There is also a $4-per­head charge for ev­ery calf sold un­der the brand.

“The to­tal fee for our mar­ket­ing ser­vices av­er­ages be­tween $5.50 and $6.50 per calf sold,” he says. “We think we pro­vide a pretty good re­turn on in­vest­ment!”

Be­yond health, many cat­tle feed­ers will tell you ge­net­ics are a ma­jor com­po­nent to their profit equa­tion. One re­cent set of Top Dol­lar An­gusqual­i­fied steers re­ceived a qual­ity grade of 100% Prime or Cer­ti­fied An­gus Beef at har­vest. “Re­sults like this are what we strive for and why only the very best, ver­i­fied ge­net­ics carry our brand,” Ware­ham says.

Ul­ti­mately, he adds, it’s about help­ing peo­ple. “We con­nect peo­ple to peo­ple, and peo­ple to profit. That is why Top Dol­lar has be­come the in­dus­try leader in ge­netic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. We are so much more than just a num­ber or score.”

Ware­ham of­fers two ad­di­tional in­sights.

• The eval­u­a­tion process is free, so con­tact him to see if you qual­ify. If you don’t, no wor­ries. He will work with you and your ge­net­ics sup­plier to get you there.

• On their web­site, you will find over 70 of the most pro­gres­sive and in­flu­en­tial An­gus and Red An­gus breed­ers that sup­port the Top Dol­lar pro­gram.

“Some peo­ple think you can’t have it all – ter­mi­nal and ma­ter­nal – in one pack­age,” he says. “That’s not true with to­day’s ge­netic tools and breed op­tions. You can have a herd that is bal­anced for both ranch and feed­yard prof­itabil­ity.”

Top Dol­lar An­gus works along­side count­less mar­ket­ing en­ti­ties, like Su­pe­rior Live­stock and Blue Grass Stock­yards, to help them serve the ranches they sup­port.

Di­rec­tor of Com­mer­cial Pro­grams: Ginette Gotts willer Phone: 816/383-5135 Email: [email protected]­ Web: an­gus link com

What the com­pany does: The Amer­i­can An­gus As­so­ci­a­tion pro­vides pro­duc­ers with com­pre­hen­sive pro­grams like An­gus Source (an­ an­gus source/) and An­gus Link to en­able them to reach their max­i­mum profit po­ten­tial. This past Au­gust, the as­so­ci­a­tion changed its An­gus Source USDA Process Ver­i­fied Pro­gram (PVP) and added An­gus Link. Gotts willer says it will give the ge­netic com­po­nent that once was in An­gus Source a whole new mean­ing.

The new feeder cat­tle pro­gram al­lows pro­duc­ers to bench­mark ge­netic progress in their calf crop by us­ing the pro­gram’s three scores – beef, feed­lot per­for­mance, and grid – that work across mul­ti­ple breeds and are ap­pli­ca­ble na­tion­wide. Each is on a scale of 0 to 200. A score of 100 rep­re­sents the in­dus­try av­er­age feeder calf de­rived from the breed com­po­si­tion of the U.S. cow herd. Here’s how each is de­fined.

1. Beef Score. Pre­dicts ge­netic po­ten­tial for feed­lot per­for­mance and car­cass value by look­ing at EPDs such as car­cass weight, mar­bling, and feed ef­fi­ciency.

2. Feed­lot Per­for­mance Score. Sig­ni­fies the en­roll­ment group’s po­ten­tial for post-wean­ing per­for­mance in the feed­lot, and takes into ac­count av­er­age daily gain and dry mat­ter in­take EPDs.

3. Grid Score. Pre­dicts the en­roll­ment group’s per­for­mance po­ten­tial for car­cass grid merit, ref­er­enc­ing mar­bling, fat, and rib­eye area EPDs.

The three scores, which ap­pear in an An­gus Link Score­card, are de­ter­mined by the ge­netic merit of the bulls used to sire the cur­rent en­roll­ment group, as well as the ge­netic makeup of the cow herd. The cow-side con­tri­bu­tion is based on a de­scrip­tion of their breed com­po­si­tion (for ex­am­ple, 80% An­gus and 20% Here­ford), and the ge­netic merit of bulls used his­tor­i­cally that have in­flu­enced the heifers re­tained in a herd as re­place­ment fe­males.

Scores can also be used to help pro­duc­ers iden­tify the cur­rent strengths of their calf crop and tar­get ways to im­prove their score through fu­ture breed­ing de­ci­sions.

“Many pro­duc­ers have asked why we dropped the ge­netic com­po­nent from An­gusSource. Most calves to­day have a por­tion of their ge­net­ics de­scend­ing from An­gus ge­net­ics. How­ever, they are not all sired by reg­is­tered An­gus bulls,” says Gottswiller. “The new feeder-cat­tle pro­gram will en­able pro­duc­ers to ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate the ge­netic merit of their of­fer­ing to po­ten­tial buy­ers. In turn, it opens up an op­por­tu­nity for pro­duc­ers to get re­warded for the in­vest­ments they make in im­prov­ing their herd’s ge­net­ics through the years.”

Get the most out of your cat­tle by ver­i­fy­ing their qual­ity and pro­mot­ing them to po­ten­tial buy­ers.

Jared Ware­ham

Ginette Gottswiller

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