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Agricultural News

Developing the Perfect Feedlot Steer for Today's Market With Balanced Genetics

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:03:30 CST

Developing the Perfect Feedlot Steer for Today's Market With Balanced Genetics An ideal beef steer is one you can profitably produce again and again, to earn premiums on a value-based grid. Certified Angus Beef ® brand beef cattle specialist Paul Dykstra crunched the numbers and says the perfect animal would make a 900-pound Certified Angus Beef Prime, yield grade 2.9 carcass.

“I’ve gone from 60 percent to 70 percent Choice in the last ten years, which is very rapid improvement, particularly as we look at the history where for decades we saw really no change prior to that point,” Dykstra said. “The packer is willing to pay us for carcasses that are better than average. So if 70 percent is the average we’re left with the remaining 30 percent of the choice, select spread the packer is willing to pay us for each choice carcass. As a result, that’s a little bit smaller share than we would have had just a few years ago of the Choice-Select spread so we’ve got to add to that with again shooting for the Certified Angus Beef brand target as well as Prime and quite frankly having well-rounded all-purpose cattle in the feed yard and on the rail.”

The target feeding numbers would include a feed-to-gain conversion at 5.6 and gain 3.8 pounds per day as a calf-fed. The industry-wide gain ratio is 6.2, so just making that improvement in conversion saves more than $50.

“The idea of the perfect steer is quite universal across the United States in our production environments,” Dykstra said. “Granted we may start with a different package, with different challenges in terms of our genetic selection that we must maintain given those different environmental constraints, but in the end we can probably find bulls that will fit our operation even give us replacement heifers that are suited to our environment that also have higher levels of marbling, for instance larger rib-eye size and better overall feed yard performance as well, that some out of a package that is still very suitable to those different environments. So it’s an equal opportunity thing.”

Aim high—even higher than you might think you need to. Dykstra suggests a goal of 60 percent C-A-B acceptance with 10 to 20 percent Prime on top.

“That’s really going to boost our economic return much more than say getting 100 percent Choice carcasses,” Dykstra said. “We simply need to ask more out of our cattle to get more out of the market in today’s environment.”

This video news is provided by Certified Angus Beef LLC and the American Angus Association. Visit www.CABpartners.com or www.angus.org for more information.



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