As you may already know, we are forging a different path to a lot of other mainstream Angus breeders. Cattlemen and women are constantly bombarded with differing points of view as to what makes a profitable cow herd. Is it chasing massive growth performance and marbling or is it on-farm function and solid market ready sale cattle. Where does true profit lie?
A few things that are clearly impacting the Angus breed.
On farm performance is what we get paid for. Financial performance is declining as target weights cost more and take longer to achieve. Slowly, but surely.
Fertility is waning also. If pregnancies aren’t occurring as easily as they should these cows are free loaders and are impacting your bottom line. This costs $$$
Heifers don’t calve as easily as they used to because breeding the high marbling, high 600 day and high mature cow weight type cattle tends to breed a narrower less roomy female and a heavier calf.
You may be targeting a high marbling (IMF) figure when selecting bulls and this brings a range of problems if not kept in balance with other traits. For instance high IMF tends to reduce the rib and rump fat from an animal and overall muscularity. The fat cover indicates to us an easy doing, efficient animal that has reserves to reproduce when times are tough.
Angus cows have become too large. They take too much fuel to keep themselves alive when feed is scarce. They suffer two fold: they fail to feed their calf and/or they suffer from lack of nutrition and don’t rebreed.
It is our view that easy doing, moderate type cows are far more profitable. More calves, more cows in calf and marketable, attractive lines of sale cattle.
Interestingly there is a lot of talk in Australia, in the last couple of years, about moderating the cow to aid in efficiency. Sometimes we have to be pushed to our limits (the drought we have just experienced) to realise something that has been mainstream and Ok for sometime needs adjusting.