by: John Ford
Executive Director Santa Gertrudis Breeders International

Santa Gertrudis females have long been known for their versatility and outstanding maternal traits. The Santa Gertrudis F1 female is highly prized among commercial cattlemen and demand for these productive females often outpaces supply. Santa Gertrudis influenced females are quickly becoming the commercial females of choice across the United States. The versatility of the Santa Gertrudis breed insures that it is a compatible and profitable cross with a wide variety of breeds and the results are a highly marketable feeder and an extremely valuable F1 replacement female. Commercial cattlemen understand today's volatile business environment demands females that are productive for an extended period, females that wean a heavy healthy calf in the most challenging of environmental conditions, and females flexible enough to fit into a wide variety of breeding schemes from the Carolina Coastal Plains to the rugged and arid Southwest. Santa Gertrudis influenced females fit the bill and cattlemen that infuse Santa Gertrudis genetics into their programs quickly find that they have made a profitable and sound business decision.

There is no doubt that the breed's outstanding maternal qualities are worth bragging about and throughout the years a majority of Santa Gertrudis Breeders International promotional efforts have focused on maternal performance. However, the breed's efficiency as feeders and outstanding carcass traits highlight the fact that Santa Gertrudis cattle are competitive and profitable in every sector of the industry. The recently concluded National Steer Feedout emphasizes the fact that Santa Gertrudis are efficient feeders that produce high quality lean carcasses. Over 1,000 head of purebred Santa Gertrudis steer were tested in the feeding trial, the average daily gain was an extremely acceptable 3.49 pounds and the average Warner-Bratzler Shear Force (tenderness) measurement of 6.25 pounds was well under the 7 pounds considered tender, proof that the final product is consumer pleasing. A Texas A&M University Ranch to Rail feeding trial, found that purebred Santa Gertrudis steers had a net profit of $100.87 per head, compared to minus $50.29 for 1,334 steers representing other breeds and crosses.

One hundred sixteen purebred Santa Gertrudis steers fed in a 133 day Kansas test had an average daily gain of 3.84 pounds, while 58 purebred Santa Gertrudis steers gained 3.93 pounds per day in a 163 day Texas trial. Earlier this year in a quality study conducted by West Texas A&M University, 90 purebred Santa Gertrudis steers harvested at a Texas Panhandle plant graded 77 percent choice or premium choice. Santa Gertrudis breeders have been focused on carcass quality for a number of years. The collection of ultrasound data has been and remains a common practice for numerous breeders. Thanks to stringent selection practices it is not uncommon to find bulls with IMF (intramuscular fat) scan percentages in the 4.00 5.50 range. The data is undeniable and it supports the fact that Santa Gertrudis cattle produce a highly desirable carcass with consumer pleasing results.

Cattlemen are taking notice and it is evident by the five percent increase in purebred registrations experienced by Santa Gertrudis Breeders International in 2012. Cattlemen looking for added heterosis, exceptional maternal traits, profitable feeders and consumer-pleasing results need to look no farther than Santa Gertrudis.

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