At one point or another, many cattlemen wonder: Do all black-hided calves bring the same price on sale day? How much emphasis do buyers put on the genetic value of those calves?
For about 14 years, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) Supply Development has been conducting research to answer those questions. The study, titled “Here’s the Premium,” analyzed data from 10 markets that sold more than 300,000 calves in 13,794 lots. What they discovered is positive news for those who rely on Angus genetics.
Data from nine cooperating auction markets last fall showed an all-time high Angus premium. It was $5.30 per hundredweight (cwt.) for the combination of 504-pound (lb.) heifers and 511-lb. steers sold in 660 lots, compared to non-Angus contemporaries.
In addition, data from 13 years of marketing 4.9 million cattle in 40,799 lots on the leading U.S. video auction shows a clear dominance of Angus genetics. Most of the calves sold on the video include data on breed type, which consistently affects sale price.
The study has also found that the premiums for Angus calves have grown in a near linear trend for the past 13 years. So the answer is yes, known Angus steers and heifers bring more on sale day. But to tap into that added value, producers need to provide potential buyers with an idea of how the cattle will perform — and to verify that those black hides are, in fact, Angus-sired.
Verifying Angus genetics
The American Angus Association® recognized the upward trend early and anticipated the need for an identification program that could differentiate simply black-hided calves from known Angus-sired calves. The solution – AngusSource®. In 2003, the program began as a way to help commercial producers market their feeder calves and replacement heifers.
In 2005, AngusSource transitioned to a USDA process verified program (PVP) documenting source, group age and a minimum 50% Angus genetics. When calves enter the sale arena, program ear tags let buyers recognize the added value associated with each animal.
“This program has grown significantly over the past 10 years,” says Ginette Kurtz, AngusSource quality manager. “Our goal, every day, is to help producers better market their cattle and increase the profitability of their operation. We believe AngusSource does that extremely well.”
However, today’s beef industry is much different than it was a decade ago. Historically low cow herd numbers, coupled with widespread drought, have many cattlemen looking toward management strategies that increase the value of the calves they do retain. On top of that, consumers are demanding more information — like documented source — on the beef products they purchase.
A new plan for AngusSource will assist with both.