Red Angus Association of the Carolinas holds Profit Simplified Beef Cattle Seminar
By: Johnny R. Rogers, RAAC Secretary-Treasurer
The Red Angus Association of the Carolinas held the second Profit Simplified Beef Cattle Seminar on March 15, 2017 in Kenansville, NC. An engaged group of over sixty cattle producers and beef industry advocates attend this event. The meeting objective was to discuss improving production efficiency in the cow-calf sector while meeting the needs of feedyards and packers. Johnny Rogers, Red Angus Association of America Region C Director, welcomed everyone and introduced key attendees.
Feed costs are the major item in most operations and measures need to be taken to control this expense. However, providing cattle with the nutrition they need is vital to success. The needs of growing cattle must be met for optimal gains and most reproductive failures in brood cows can be traced to inadequate nutrition. Wes Klett, CEO Anipro/Xtraformance Feeds, emphasized the importance of understanding forage quality and how it changes throughout the year. In addition, he focused on how cattle nutrient requirements will change with production stages. Compensating for forage deficiencies will improve rumen function and enhance forage digestibility. Mr. Klett also discussed mineral nutrition and how mineral deficiencies and antagonisms between minerals can hamper reproduction and immunity before producers notice clinical signs of mineral deficiencies. He encouraged producers to improve their genetics and to fuel those genetics with supplementation programs that balances forage nutrient shortfalls.
Tom Brink, CEO Red Angus Association of America, provided his perspective on selecting cattle for “pasture to plate” performance. Tom has a wealth of industry experience and understands the cattle traits that each segments needs to remain profitable. The key ingredient in creating high value feeder cattle starts with the right mindset. He challenged the traditional industry paradigm that producers must select for maternal or terminal cattle traits. He drew a parallel to a common idea that football players could not be both big and fast. We know that today it is not unusual to have both.
Mr. Brink continued by emphasizing that producers understand the key value attributes of cattle going through the supply chain then breed and manage cattle accordingly. Using all the tools, including Genomic-Enhanced EPDS, to find cattle that excel in all economically relevant traits will become more important. He went on to mention the genetic progress that Red Angus breeders have made in all traits. Good maternal traits have made the Red Angus cow the most preferred female in the beef industry and their steer mates are making feeders and packers take notice.
David Trowbridge, Gregory Feedlot, Inc. Manager, represented the Tri-County Steer Futurity Cooperative (TCSFC). TCSFC is a group of feedlots that work with Iowa State University to assist cow-calf producers with retaining ownership through the finishing phase. In addition, they collect feedlot and carcass performance information and help producers evaluate their cattle. Mr. Trowbridge encouraged breeding quality cattle, using solid health protocols and strategic management to achieve success. TCSFC offers tremendous service to their customers using multiple cattle sorts when cattle are being marketed and this ensures that each animal is harvest ready. He encouraged producers to consider retaining ownership on their calf crop and to use the data to improve their cattle.
Tom Brink presented the final session that focused on capturing feeder calf value. He stated “that the need to market value-added cattle has never been greater”. Furthermore, cattle feeders have a dilemma and must choose between buying “commodity” or “value-added” cattle. He suggested that earning a significant premium to market average is possible. However, the cattle must be truly superior, identified appropriately and in front of the right buyers to achieve the desired outcome. Feeders want cattle that stay healthy, grow and grade and they will pay for those traits. Mr. Brink encouraged producers to give their calf crops an “identity” and use proper management and marketing techniques. He used the Red Angus Feeder Cattle Certification Program (FCCP) as an example of identifying superior feeder cattle. The FCCP is the largest feeder cattle tagging program in the beef industry and has set a new record for tag sales this year, being up over 15% year to date. In addition, Top Dollar Angus is a program for Red Angus and Angus feeder cattle and this system offers premiums for cattle with superior feedlot and carcass traits. Mr. Brink outlined how producers can become involved with FCCP and Top Dollar Angus and indicated that more information can be found at www.redangus.org. He closed with the thought that as the cattle market trends lower value-added programs will become more important and successful operations will be built on the best genetics.
The Red Angus Association of the Carolinas would like to thank the following sponsors: Bull Hill Ranch, Langdon’s Red Angus, Hi-Lane Farm, Phoenix Red Angus, Rogers Cattle Company, Select Sire Power, Anipro/Xtraformance Feeds, Genex Cooperative, Carolinas Animal Health, Accelerated Genetics, Red Angus Association of America and NC State Extension. Thank you to everyone who participated in this event.