Results of a field test for the $Beef index, released 15 years ago by the American Angus Association, were announced showing the effectiveness of $Beef in characterizing Angus genetics from weaning through harvest.
The project involved 43 animals through embryo transfer, 18 High $Beef steers and heifers and 25 Low $Beef steers and heifers. The High $Beef cattle outperformed their Low $Beef counterparts in every performance metric evaluated. The pedigree average $Beef difference was $93.69 between the two groups ($141.12 versus $47.40), which represents the expected post-weaning difference in progeny value of the research cattle.
The research project was conducted by Gardiner Angus Ranch, Top Dollar Angus, Inc., Triangle H Grain & Cattle Co., and Zoetis, Inc.
Each of the 43 animals had a registered Angus sire and a registered Angus Dam, providing a more complete understanding of the genetic merit of the test animals, according to the authors of the study.
“High $B Angus outstrip low $B genetics with great consistency,” the authors said. “We have witnessed such differences time and again. However, we also recognize the importance of real-world comparisons that make such differences observable for other cattle producers. To that end, the current field study was conducted as ‘proof of concept’ research. Our objective was simply to compare High $B Angus genetics to Low $B Angus in a typical production setting. We sought to minimize environmental influences by raising the two genetic groups as much the same as possible.
“How rapidly the cattle would gain weight and how their carcasses would compare was of particular interest. Physical traits and financial outcomes are tightly connected and both are of great importance. We captured numerous data points throughout the study, including a wide range of phenotypic metrics as well as DNA scores. Allowing both High $B and Low $B cattle to fully express their genetic potential, then comparing the results, was the singular goal we sought to achieve. We expected the results would speak for themselves, and they do indeed.”
Regarding the results, the authors said, “Since the study evaluated the animals themselves (not their progeny), the expected value difference between the High $B and Low $B groups is twice their pedigree average $B difference or $187.38 per head (2 x $93.69 = $187.38, which is the $B difference expressed in breeding value terms). This dollar amount turned out to be a reasonable prediction for how the cattle would perform. The study documented a conservative-leaning difference of $215.47 per head, favoring the High $B group.”
While both groups of cattle produced good carcass results, the “High $Beef group outdid their Low $Beef contemporaries by 227 points of marbling score.”
Seventy-two percent of the High $Beef graded Prime, with 28% grading CAB. For the Low $Beef group, 52% graded CAB, 44% graded Low Choice and 4% graded Select.