In the seedstock business, helping customers find the right bull is one thing, but helping customers market calves from those bulls means customers get more bang for their buck. That’s how Bill Davis, owner of Rollin’ Rock Angus in Montana, sees the AngusSource program helping his customers.

“This is helping grow our business because it’s creating a service,” he says. “We’re not telling our customers how to run their business, but we’re creating a marketing alternative that will hit them in the pocketbook by increasing the opportunity for them to get more money for their cattle.”

The AngusSource program was started in fall 2003 by the American Angus Association. The program allows commercial producers who purchase registered Angus breeding stock to enroll and receive tags identifying that the animal was sired by Angus genetics. Then when it comes time to sell, cattle can be marketed in any method the customer prefers, whether auction, video or direct. The tag and documents show prospective buyers the potential value of the cattle.

“There’s a marketing advantage to selling the calves with these tags,” says Mr. Davis. “The preliminary work done in Kansas found those cattle brought a dime more than other cattle going through the auction.” In addition, he says the association is developing more incentive programs for livestock markets and video auctions to have special AngusSource sales.

Within the program, commercial producers can choose to use RFID with a visual tag or a visual-panel tag alone. The RFID tag costs around $3 and the panel tag is $1. Mr. Davis offers 20 panel tags per bull sold to customers. In addition, the tag will conform to the National Animal Identification Program once it is up and running.

In his own operation, Mr. Davis is moving to electronic ID to help with data collection and tracking. Since he has registered seedstock, he can’t use AngusSource tags, but he sees the benefits of being able to tag and track cattle utilizing the current technology available. In addition, he appreciates the information he receives from customers on how the cattle perform.

Mr. Davis and another neighbor, Dave Hinman, combine bulls to sell in their Performance Breeders Bull Sale each spring. By combining efforts, they sell bulls more efficiently. They’re also able to gain valuable information on production and carcass traits for the sires they produce. By reviewing closeout data on over 12,000 head of cattle sired by their bulls, they found 84 percent graded Choice or better, 9 percent graded Prime, and 41 percent qualified for the CAB program. The average progeny performance in the feedyard was 3.55 average daily gain.

In addition, one of Mr. Davis’ customers participated in the National Angus Carcass Challenge and won the heifer and steer division with genetics furnished by Rollin’ Rock over the past 13 years.

“That kind of information we get back from customers enhances our ability to grow and expand our marketing possibilities,” he says. “When you look at it, it’s a means of creating communication between our buyers and us. It’s also a means of providing a service, and there’s information feedback both ways. Anytime you can get that, everybody in the entire chain is going to benefit from it.”