Using the Missouri Recipe for
JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — The beef industry may be changing faster and more volatilely than ever, but producers must keep their eyes on the prize: consumer demand. That points to a need for more focus on higher quality, said Larry Corah, vice president of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).
Hitting the Quality Target
His presentation at the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) meeting in Joplin, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 31, invoked a November 2010 Angus Journal article on the topic (click the blue highlighted text to download the article).
Corah reviewed data that shows just a 29% chance of a positive eating experience with USDA Select grade beef, compared to 82% or higher for premium Choice and 99% for Prime. Moreover, he noted that consumer demand for the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand grew during the recent recession.
Using research data, he discredited “four myths” about aiming for high-quality targets:
- 1. Myth: There is no extra money to be made.
- 2. Myth: You have to sacrifice growth and pounds.
- 3. Myth: High-quality cattle don’t feed as well.
- 4. Myth: That product focus will ruin cow herd functionality.
Those ideas laid aside, Corah noted the industry has largely realized the truth and made great progress in marbling since 2006.
“Much of that is due to genetics,” he said, noting that last year’s 23% CAB acceptance will be surpassed by this year’s estimated 24.1% mark. And the University of Missouri’s Thompson Farm herd is nearing 90% CAB acceptance. “Our surveys indicate 45% to 50% of U.S. beef cows are straight-Angus today, 65% of the fed cattle are black-hided, and that will probably go to 75%.”
Beyond breed type, Corah said the key to hitting the highest grade and receiving Prime premiums is artificial insemination (AI) to high-accuracy registered Angus bulls, then stacking cow families with marbling ability.
Such potentially valuable genetics must be safeguarded with proactive, whole-herd health and nutrition programs, he added. Those must take in every season of the year and every aspect of management on both cows and calves. He shared best practice recommendations in detail.
“Finally, it does not help you as a producer if you take all these steps to add value but then market the calves as a commodity,” Corah said, again pointing to specific options from full or partial retained ownership in a feedlot with grid marketing, to direct sales with data negotiated or special feeder calf sales with buyer follow-up.
Corah spoke during Wednesday morning's opening ARSBC session focused on using AI to produce more high-quality beef. Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com to view the PowerPoint slides and the proceedings paper submitted by Corah to accompany his presentation. Audio of the presentation will be available soon.
Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and liveauctions.tv. Coverage includes summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.
Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or redistributed without the express permission of API, publisher of the Angus Journal, Angus Beef Bulletin, Angus e-List and Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.