Good data, good people and good cattle. In combination, they add up to top honors in the 2008 spring quarter AngusSource Carcass Challenge (ASCC).
Beller Feedlot, Lindsay, Neb., fed 62 calves that took home first place in the second quarter of the calendar-year contest. The Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) licensed feedlot will vie for the overall $500 cash award when the competition ends in December.
The genetic-, source- and age-verified calves came from three different ranches and were 80.7 percent CAB and CAB Prime. That's 12.5 points above the next closest entry in the April to June time frame.
Terry Beller, feedyard owner-manager, has purchased cattle from Montana ranchers Mike Green, Dennis Green, and Scott and Traci Glasscock for more than five years.
“We have a very good relationship going. They plan on me to come up there and I plan on them for numbers,” he says. At Beller's suggestion, his suppliers began tagging their calves for AngusSource, a USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) since 2005.
“The AngusSource tag is accepted in every plant that we go to as far as source- and age-verification, and knowing that they're Angus-sired is just another perk for our operation,” says Beller, who relies on the tags as an indicator of premium potential.
When an Angus producer is interested in doing business with Beller, he asks them to enroll calves in AngusSource. He estimates about 80 percent of them do.
“It sure has been real easy to work with,” says Mike Green, of Cohagen, Mont. “We keep track on the lineage so we know if what we are doing is working. With all the carcass data we still have to have a cow that will survive in eastern Montana. We are trying to find the best of both worlds.”
Beller also looks for an ideal situation: calves that gain and grade.
“That's why I go back to those producers every year. After so many years of data you can just about pin the costs on them, what it's going to cost to gain, what their conversions are going to be,” he says. “That's why CAB has been a big help because we get that data and we can get it back to them so they can make changes if they need to.”
Traci Glasscock, of Rock Springs, Mont., says it has given them another tool in selecting breeding stock.
“We've been in the process of building our cowherd, so we've been trying to keep as many replacements as we can and then cull from the older bunch,” she says. “The data is super helpful.”
Selling calves to a consistent location makes it easier, too.
“It helps us with planning and you know where your calves are going and what's going to happen to them,” she says. “The carcass data is a real appealing reason to go with a specific feeder. We know exactly what we're getting back and we know what kind of a job he is doing.”
Mark McCully, CAB director of supply development, says the company's feedlot program was set up to facilitate these relationships.
“This is another great success story to come from our network of CAB-licensed feedyards,” he says. “Working together, the producers and feedyard achieved incredible CAB acceptance rates. It only proves what known Angus genetics can do.”
The steers were the second harvest group from a pen that was sorted using the Centralized Ultrasound Processing (CUP) Lab, Ames, Iowa.
“We scanned for high marbling and took the top 62. These were kind of the heart of them, but even the other cattle did extremely well,” Beller says. “It speaks for the quality that we feed here. It's just nice to work with those producers that are in the same mindset we are: focused toward quality.”
Sara Moyer-Snider, AngusSource director, encourages other quality-focused producers and feeders to enter the contest.
“We are really excited to learn about the cattlemen using our program to gain information and premiums,” she says. “The entry form is very simple to fill out and there is no fee, so there's nothing to lose.”
Calves enrolled in AngusSource at the ranch of origin and fed at a CAB-licensed feedyard are eligible for the contest. Groups must be at least 38-head, but can be mixed-sex and come from multiple operations, provided they are harvested in one lot. Third quarter entries are being accepted for July to September harvest groups. For more information on the ASCC call 816-383-5100 or visit www.AngusSource.com.