Nearly 80 progressive cattle producers attended a Cattlemen's Boot Camp at Oklahoma State University (OSU), Stillwater, Okla., December 18-19. The American Angus AssociationTM and Angus Foundation sponsored the Boot Camp in partnership with OSU. This was the fourth Boot Camp sponsored by the Association and Foundation. The global market, reproductive efficiency, consumer expectations, herd nutrition and the end product were just some of the topics covered during the 2-day session that included a session of comparing carcass differences.
Twig Marston, Kansas State University Extension beef specialist, kicked off the program talking to the producers about how to produce the end product with increased efficiencies. He stressed that calf survivability and growth, reproduction and cow maintenance costs were the traits that producers should place emphasis on. Marston encouraged producers to use selection tools provided by the Association to make advancements in their herd. “You have to have faith in the data. The data does not lie,” he told the producers.
Brad Morgan, OSU meat scientist, discussed consumer expectations and the recently released National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). According the 2005 NBQA the lack of consistency and uniformity is the biggest concern of the consumer. Other areas of concern include oversized portions and excess fat. Morgan urged producers to keep consumer preference in mind when producing beef.
Deb VanOverbeke, OSU meat scientist, addressed quality grade, yield grade and economic differences between carcasses during two different sessions. She told the group that grading is determinant for value, and demonstrated the differences in grades. Attendees had the opportunity to see two different carcasses and realize the economic differences between a low yielding carcass versus a high yielding carcass.
Mark McCully, Certified Angus Beef director of supply development, discussed brands and the importance that branded beef programs have played in the industry.
Body condition score (BCS) and its effects on productivity were topics covered by Glenn Selk, OSU animal scientist. BCS is the major factor in rebreeding cows, according to Selk, and an optimal BCS, 5 or 6, at calving will help promote rebreeding.
OSU Extension beef cattle specialist David Lalman presented four steps to an effective cow nutrition program: 1, determine nutrient requirements; 2, determine nutrients available from forage; 3, determine supplemental needs; and 4, evaluate nutrient sources.
Derrell Peel, OSU ag economist, presented an economic outlook on live cattle and boxed beef, noting a higher than usual choice-select price spread.
Ty Groshans, assistant director of commercial programs for the American Angus Association, discussed creating value in the beef industry. He offered the AngusSource® program as one way that seedstock producers can create value for their commercial bull buyers. AngusSource, a USDA process verified program (PVP) that documents age, source and genetics is a program that requires calves be sired by registered Angus bulls.
Prior to the Boot Camp, an Angus Skills Lab was conducted for Association members. Basic information was presented about registering and transferring cattle, submitting performance information, phenotypic evaluation, artificial insemination (AI), identification systems and chute handling systems.
The American Angus Association is the world's leading beef breed registry, providing programs and services to more than 34,000 members and thousands of commercial cattle producers nationwide. The Angus Foundation is a 501(c) (3) affiliate of the Association. For more information about Angus genetics or programs, log onto www.angus.org