by IBBA Executive Vice President Tommy Perkins, PhD., PAS
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by the natural disasters that have occurred recently. These events include, but are not limited to, the fires in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and Kansas; South Texas, Houston, and Beaumont impacted by Hurricane Harvey; and Hurricane Irma rolling through the entire state of Florida and much of Georgia. We always find that the agriculture industry has some kind and giving people who come to one and others’ aid. We always seem to rise stronger after such events, although there is no doubt they seem to be coming at us at a nonstop pace recently.
The focus of this Journal is marketing, which has led to me to think about the many opportunities we have as breeders to impact our bottom line. Perhaps you should participate in a marketing alliance or you need to early wean your calves to add value at the auction barn. Maybe it is time for you to retain ownership and capture value of information gained from knowing how your cattle yield and grade. This may be the year that you decide to cull more extreme for questionable dispositions or bad feet and leg structural design.
There are many marketing alliances available today. Some examples include the Northeast Texas Beef Improvement Organization (NETBIO), the Missouri Steer Feedout program, the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity (TCSCF), the IBBA Carcass Merit Excellence Challenge program, and others. I challenge you to research these programs, and see if one or more may work in the ranch’s management plans to further add value to your beef enterprise. Some are weaned calf programs whereas others are retained ownership programs that entail a bit more risk on your part if you decide to pursue them.
Market signals indicate there is value in backgrounding weaned calves and growing them a little longer on the ranch before going to the feedlot. This would account for some cheaper cost of gains on the cattle if you have the stockpiled forage available with the additional (and uncharacteristic) rain which has fallen the past couple of months throughout the country. Again, you will be carrying part of the risk but the rewards may be worth the added stress.
We sometimes forget about the young, growing females that have produced calves early in life. These females can certainly benefit from early weaning of their calves. These benefits include an opportunity to gain added weight and body condition score as they get prepared for the upcoming breeding season. Research has shown over and over that young females increasing in body condition have better breed up, or conception, rates than females maintaining or losing weight going into the breeding season.
I will close by stating the obvious: it is too late to make many changes for the ongoing fall sale season. However, many of you consign cattle to your regional Brangus organization, and it is time to get serious about making decisions for marketing your purebred cattle the spring sale season of 2018. You need to be making breeding decisions if you plan on selling bred females, halter breaking calves if you plan on marketing show cattle prospects, and collecting feed or gain data if you plan on offering performance tested bulls.
It is, also, time to collect DNA samples if you want to improve your chances of getting parentage and other results back before spring sale catalog deadline dates. A good feed management program should be implemented as well so that the sale cattle will be in good enough condition to picture and/or video well for advertisement purposes. Don’t forget to schedule the ultrasound technician as that data has to arrive prior to cataloging deadlines as well.
Do not hesitate to call us if you have any specific questions about marketing opportunities or any other Brangus questions. For information about IBBA programs or other inquiries, please call (210) 696-8231 or visit www.GoBrangus.com. Stay connected to IBBA through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube or receive news updates by joining our email list.