To add value to Angus calves, target this brand
by Miranda Reiman
Most cattlemen look for well-rounded genetic profiles when perusing sale books, but it can be information overload.
For those who want to emphasize carcass quality in their selection, the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand offers a tool to help sort through data: the Targeting the BrandTM logo.
“We know today’s bull buyer is balancing a lot of different traits. The logo is a quick reference that can point you toward bulls more likely to help you raise more CAB qualifiers,” says Kara Lee, production brand manager for the brand.
Angus breeders and bull studs use that logo to identify animals that are above breed average for marbling expected progeny difference (EPD) and Angus Grid Value Index ($G). As of the spring 2019 sire summary those thresholds would be at least a +0.53 on marbling and +$34.09 or above on $G.
“Of the 10 carcass specifications, the top reason cattle fail to make it into our brand is lack of marbling,” Lee says. “The grid value takes that into account, while also including other traits of importance like adequate ribeye and the value of carcass weight.”
Previously, breeders used the logo generically on websites or sale book covers to show support of CAB. If the logo is used broadly, Lee says it should be with language such as “Click here for a list of bulls that meet Targeting the Brand genetic requirements” or “Look for this mark inside to identify bulls that will help you target CAB standards.”
Targeting the Brand is now used much like one for a genetic test would be used to denote individually tested animals.
Some producers may use it to make an initial sort on bulls they’re considering, or some may use it to rank those they already have on their list.
Texas cattleman Earl Wayne Reese recently used it to help identify a seedstock supplier with the kind of bulls he had in mind.
Reese already knew a thing or two about carcass data and feedlot closeouts. He’d retained ownership of his calves through finishing for years. He knew CAB was a legitimate target.
So when a Davis Angus (Foss, Okla.) catalog showed up in his mailbox, he noticed the Targeting the Brand logo right away.
“There were some particular bloodlines I wanted to use, and they had some really good data on their bulls, so I decided to go up there and see what they looked like,” Reese says.
Many animals carried the mark, so he sorted from there.
“I circle the bulls I’m interested in and I only look at those bulls,” Reese says.
He came home with six new sires.
“We try to arm people with enough information that they can make a decision on what they need for their cattle and their herd,” says Debbie Davis, who ranches with her husband, Jim, and their family.
“We can say, ‘Hey, we’ve got those cattle that can produce CAB, that can get you a premium.’ We’re aiming for the white-tablecloth crowd,” she says.
Using the bulls with the right data is only half of the value-added process, Lee says.
“If you’re producing premium feeder calves, you’ve got to match that with premium marketing,” she says. “That could be conveying more information about your calves to buyers at auction, it could mean developing a relationship with a feeder, or retaining ownership through finishing.”
For those who sell at weaning, the logo can help convey information, and hopefully add value.
For example, the Angus Link(SM) program features cattle groups that carry the Targeting the Brand logo.
They can be marketed with the logo when they average 125 or greater Grid Score and each animal is predominately black-hided. In other words, they need to be Angus type as defined by the American Angus Association’s “GLA” (Government Live Angus) specification.
“Commercial producers who use Targeting the Brand-identified bulls should have a greater chance of qualifying their calves through the Angus Link program,” Lee says.
CAB does not advocate single-trait selection, but Lee hopes this tool helps commercial cattlemen find the sires that fit all their other economically important traits while also focusing on the end users.
“It’s a tried and true quote, but it’s still as relevant today as when I first heard it: the only new dollars coming into this industry come from the consumer,” she says.