The Angus Advantages Put them to work in your herd
Generations of hard-working cattlemen have spent years perfecting their product, adopting the latest technologies, studying performance data, analyzing markets and consulting industry experts. Today's producers seek seedstock that make their jobs easier while providing consistent economic returns. Most recognize exceptional substance and value - and a good business opportunity - when they see it.
That's why so many continue to turn to Angus.
The Angus breed has become synonymous with quality in the 21st century, offering a host of well-rounded genetic advantages, including improved calving ease, growth, unsurpassed carcass quality, ample milk, fertility and good temperament. These valuable traits, backed by the most extensive and reliable beef cattle database in the world, have yielded bottom-line benefits for Angus cattlemen. Premium genetics have led to premium markets and a high demand for Angus.
Coupled with the American Angus Association's comprehensive management programs and innovative services, this market demand has been bolstered by the breed's proven ability to fulfill shifting consumer expectations.
High demand, plus high-quality genetics and programs that transfer value from pasture to plate, give producers a product - and the profit - they desire.
That's the Angus advantage.
A Complete Package
The genetic advantages of Angus cattle became apparent shortly after the black-hided breed made its debut in the United States in 1873. Since that time, prudent cattlemen everywhere have recognized the Angus breed's ability to introduce functionality and value into their herds, while cutting operating costs, reducing time and labor requirements, balancing traits, and boosting profits.
Today's evolving beef cattle landscape is no exception. Each cattleman has his or her own unique set of herd requirements, depending on environment, herd size, local markets and available resources. Versatile needs call for a versatile breed, and no other can offer a more well-rounded genetic package than Angus.
Want to add calving ease to your herd? Angus has it.
Want growth and high-quality carcasses? Angus has both.
Maternal traits? Milking ability? Convenience? Marbling and tenderness?
Angus has a solution for almost every need, and in an industry where breed selection influences important factors such as growth rate, maternal ability and end-product specifications, choosing quality seedstock is imperative.
Angus delivers that quality with time-tested genetics and desirable traits - with calving ease, maternal ability, carcass traits and convenience.
For many beef herds, calving difficulty is the largest single cause of calf loss. These losses add up over time, costing the beef industry an estimated $750 million annually. Calving difficulty results in increased cow mortality, increased calving intervals, lower conception rates, reduced weaning tonnage and severe economic losses that can cripple an operation. Fortunately, the Angus breed and its genetic tools offer producers some viable alternatives.
According to calving scores submitted to the American Angus Association, approximately 91% of all calves born to purebred Angus first-calf heifers required no assistance, and 99% of cows calved without assistance. Research trials conducted at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) showed even more encouraging figures. In its Germplasm Evaluation Program, the research center found that of the seven largest beef breeds, Angus achieved the highest percentage of unassisted calvings and the lowest calving difficulty scores.
Without a doubt, Angus genetics can introduce calving ease into a herd and reduce the incidence of heavy birth weights. And, while the breed generally contributes lower birth weight genetics, it more than makes up for lighter calves with vigorous growth up to weaning, as yearlings and straight through to harvest.
Angus cows are known for their inherent mothering ability and calf-rearing tendencies. The breed's superior milking ability and udder soundness, coupled with good fertility and temperament traits common to the breed, make Angus females ideal mothers.
Plus, with moderate size and an efficient frame, Angus females mature early, breed back quickly and have comparatively short gestation periods. In an industry that depends on reproductive performance, it's important to get young cows to calve early and rebreed on time.
The Angus breed's ability to produce a quality carcass, even in the most challenging environments, has kept the breed abreast of changing industry and consumer standards and has secured its position as the unequaled beef quality leader.
Marbling ability and higher tenderness values allow Angus cattle to produce a greater percentage of fine-textured, high-quality meat. Their tendency to put on flesh evenly, along with curve-bending growth rates, has resulted in desirable, uniform beef products.
These qualities have driven consumer demand and have given Angus cattlemen greater returns on investment, time, labor and money. In fact, a growing desire for Angus product is what drove the American Angus Association to create the nation's first branded beef program, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), in 1978. With more than 25 years in the industry, the demand for Certified Angus Beef® products has generated higher premiums for producers and has increased the value of Angus.
In a 2002-2004 study conducted by the Iowa Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity, high-percentage Angus cattle from 12 states fed at eight Iowa feedlots returned $67.93 more per head than low-percentage Angus cattle due to carcass and performance advantages. Feedlot average daily gain (ADG) improved as percentage of Angus increased, and net carcass premiums were almost $30 more per head for high-percentage Angus cattle.
Other convenience traits
The undemanding, adaptable and generally docile nature of the Angus breed provides unmatched convenience. These low-maintenance animals save cattlemen time and money.
Angus cattle are naturally polled, allowing producers to use Angus bulls to genetically dehorn without the increased morbidity and impaired performance associated with traditional dehorning.
Also, the breed's dark-pigmented skin helps prevent cancer eye, a common condition affecting other breeds. In the same way, Angus cattle are able to avoid sunburned - or snowburned - udders common to light-skinned breeds in certain parts of the country.
Selection Made Simple
The Angus breed's genetic merit alone provides producers with exceptional value; however, much of the breed's practical advantage lies in its predictability - the ability to identify the traits you desire, predict how your product will perform and get the most for your money.
The American Angus Association provides that predictability through the world's largest beef cattle registry and database.
For years, Angus breeders across the country have set their performance goals and kept meticulous records in order to identify superior animals. They weigh and measure their cattle at precise times and send performance records (including breeding, calving, weaning and yearling performance, as well as carcass data and ultrasound measurements) to the Association for processing. As a result, they've built a herd book and a database that provide unequalled genetic evaluations through accurate and reliable decision-making and management tools. These tools give producers the power to choose which animals in the vast Angus population are right for their herds.
Through expected progeny differences (EPDs), economically relevant $Value indexes and related programs, the Association has taken the guesswork out of breeding cattle. When cattlemen know more about the products they're producing, they can take control of their profits.
EPDs and $Values
Utilizing Association records, EPDs give cattlemen the tools to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their herds and to compare animals. EPDs use the differences expressed among animals within herd contemporary groups to formulate predictions of how future progeny of each animal will perform relative to progeny of other animals. The tools are typically expressed in units of measure for the trait, plus or minus.
There are numerous EPDs reported by the Association, including production, maternal, carcass and ultrasound predictions, and accuracy values depicting the reliability of each EPD are available. The more progeny measured from a sire, the more accurate his genetic evaluations.
Much like EPDs, $Values can be used to estimate how future progeny of each sire are expected to perform, on average, compared to progeny of other sires. However, $Values go a step further in simplifying genetic selection decisions by evaluating several traits at once and calculating important economic considerations.
These bioeconomic selection tools, expressed in dollars per head, combine multiple traits into one value and measure trade-offs for producers based on real-world economics. $Values are calculated using EPDs, industry-based economic values and a system of equations to tie genetic and economic values together.
There are a number of ways to access a registered animal's genetic information, including EPDs and $Values. First, every registered Angus animal is accompanied by a performance registration certificate that includes its pedigree and performance information. The Sire Evaluation Report, published every spring and fall and available online, is also a useful tool for searching through several thousand Angus bulls that have been evaluated by the Association. Cattlemen can search the report, at www.angussiresearch.com, by desired EPDs, $Values, sire name, birth year or registration number.
Once commercial cattlemen use Angus genetics and obtain a properly transferred registration certificate, they'll also receive a periodic listing of updated EPDs. These updates provide a listing of a producer's entire herd bull battery and give him or her an opportunity to choose future bulls to complement the cow herd.
Get to know your herd
The calculation and publication of both EPDs and $Values relies on records maintained through Beef Improvement Records (BIR), a program established to assist both purebred and commercial cattle producers in making progress through genetics.
Through BIR's Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) program, purebred breeders submit extensive performance records, which are then stored along with millions of other records in the Association's database. These values are used to calculate reliable selection tools that can be utilized by anyone interested in Angus genetics.
AHIR's commercial counterpart, the Beef Record Service (BRS), provides commercial cattlemen with a similar opportunity to record and submit performance data on cow herds and calf crops, regardless of breed composition. Records are summarized to provide adjusted measures and ratios that allow you to evaluate within-herd data and work toward a higher-quality, more marketable product.
The valuable information derived from BRS gives commercial cattlemen knowledge they can use to their advantage - knowledge that allows them to identify program strengths, improve upon their herds and, in the end, garner higher premiums.
While performance data, production records and herd summaries allow commercial cattle producers to make directional changes within their herds and improve productivity, documented information can prove to be an invaluable marketing tool as well.
AngusSource®, a program available through the Association, gives producers the opportunity to collect on the true value of their Angus-sired feeder calves and replacement females and capitalize on superior genetics and management protocols. The multifaceted program allows you to identify your cattle as Angus - not just black - while providing buyers with source, genetic and group age information. AngusSource® cattle must be sired by registered Angus bulls, enrolled by the ranch of origin and identified by group age. Once enrolled, producers simply identify calves with official AngusSource® program tags.
An AngusSource® Document - including contact information for the ranch of origin, group age, and a list of sires and their EPDs and $Values - is available for each lot of enrolled cattle. Producers may choose to include additional information on the document, such as past group performance, health, and marketing location and date.
This information can then be shown to potential buyers and livestock auctions to promote the value of identified cattle. And, with today's changing animal health policies and increased efforts to identify an animal from birth to harvest, the more documented information through programs like AngusSource®, the better.
Angus in Your Herd
Given the genetics, extensive database, vast selection tools and management and marketing programs, Angus can prove a good fit for almost any commercial cattle operation. Whether using a crossbreeding or straightbreeding system, Angus cattle will work for you.
Depending on environment and available resources, many cattlemen utilize crossbreeding in their herds to provide heterosis, or hybrid vigor.
With a carefully planned breeding program, heterosis can provide enhanced performance in lowly-heritable traits, such as calf survival, beyond the average of the parental breeds that originated the cross. However, implementing an effective crossbreeding system requires careful planning. Overuse of breeds with too much growth, mature size or birth weight can lead to future problems and unwanted extremes.
When a crossbreeding program is conducted properly, Angus genetic advantages provide balance on almost every level. Some Angus bulls can be used in a crossbreeding program to contribute low birth weights, as well as valuable maternal traits and moderate growth to produce replacement heifers, while others make excellent terminal sires on crossbred cows.
Angus-sired crossbred calves also add value to any operation, with marketing outlets available through AngusSource® and Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)-licensed feedlots.
Producers wanting a more simplified approach of raising cattle turn to straightbreeding. Without the intensive management requirements of crossbreeding, straightbred operations can utilize the Association's extensive performance database to select cattle tailored to their needs. Properly selected straightbred Angus cows provide ample milk and calving ease, while steers earn top prices and provide high performance in the feedlot and on the rail - without the extremes. Producers can apply selection pressure to produce excellent replacement heifers for their own herds or to earn growing premiums paid for Angus-influenced feeder calves.
While there's no one best way to operate a practical, profitable commercial beef cattle operation, registered Angus used in an effective crossbreeding or straightbreeding system will yield clear-cut results.
Beef at Its Best
The Certified Angus Beef® brand offers the taste experience that built consumer demand when commodity beef was losing out to poultry and pork. Its science-based standards deliver flavorful, juicy and tender beef that starts with the Angus breed. However, only 8% of all fed cattle are up to the challenge.
Started in 1978, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) has more than 13,000 licensed partners. They include feedlot partners that help producers get the most out of their high-quality Angus-sired cattle through focused management; more than 80% of U.S. packing facilities; licensed processors, distributors and exporters; and, finally, restaurants and grocers. The brand is sold throughout the United States and in 30 international markets. It is the leading brand of premium beef, known for its exacting quality standards and built-in integrity.
CAB's mission is to continue developing a premium-quality beef supply, to track and monitor sales, to select strong licensed partners in distribution and sales, and to create and execute innovative marketing programs that grow demand for the brand. That mission, in turn, has increased demand for high-quality, registered Angus cattle and generates more than $50 million a year in premiums for producers. Since 2000, more than 500 million pounds of Certified Angus Beef® product have been sold annually.
Market demand pays direct premiums to producers who sell on value grids. Licensed packers identify Angus-type cattle for USDA* evaluation and certification. Licensed fabricators prepare product for distribution to retail, foodservice and international licensees. It is the only brand that tracks every pound of meat from initial identification through sales to consumers, ensuring they receive genuine Certified Angus Beef® products.
Producers selling calves have also been positively affected by the strong demand for the brand. The CAB "Here's the Premium" six-year study of thousands of cattle sold at auction in 10 states shows a growing advantage of $15 to $20 per head for known Angus genetics versus all others. Through CAB-licensed feedlots, producers can discover the continuing, post-weaning Angus advantage with performance and carcass data, genetic evaluation and access to top grids.
*In Canada, the standards are evaluated and monitored by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency.
To earn the Certified Angus Beef® brand name, cattle must be predominantly solid black and meet these carcass requirements:
"A" maturity (9-30 months of age)
Beef muscling characteristics and a neck hump of no more than 2 inches
Modest to Abundant marbling (Prime and top 35% of Choice), with medium to fine texture
USDA Yield Grade (YG) 3.9 or leaner
No evidence of capillary ruptures or dark cutter characteristics
The American Angus Association, with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo., keeps purebred Angus ancestral and production records, issues certificates of registration, and promotes Angus cattle. The not-for-profit organization and its affiliates provide programs and services to thousands of purebred and commercial cattle producers nationwide.
Visit the following Web sites or contact the American Angus Association to learn more about these Association subsidiaries.