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Genetics Stimulates Conversation for Commercial Breeder Profitability

The rising cost of gains, market saturation for black cattle, and limited supplies due to weather conditions are all challenges for commercial ranchers today. How do they stay profitable in the market?

At the 2022 Angus Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 5, the AngusLinkSM team hosted the Capturing Value session. The session aimed to help commercial producers learn how to capture more value for their calves so they can continue to face challenges while remaining profitable. Troy Marshall, Director of Industry Relations for the American Angus Association®, moderated a panel including Terrill Ostrum, Livestock Broker; Jordan Willis, cow-calf producer; Joe Goggins, Angus breeder and auctioneer; and Jed Connealy, Angus breeder and cattle dealer.

Each panelist actively engages with cow-calf producers, but also has a hand in other areas of the industry. Regardless of their positions, panelists spoke optimistically about the future, especially when discussing ways to earn a bounty or a few extra dollars for their calves. There are many programs and opportunities, Ostrum said. Connealy agreed. “I think there’s a bunch of opportunity and the gap between good cattle and bad cattle is getting wider all the time,” he said. For those focused on raising good cattle, panelists discussed how these producers could make more money and stay profitable.

For many of them, genetics was the key. Goggins said the first thing to consider is buying good bulls with genetic merit. “Those who invest in the feed industry, we know the people who buy good bulls. We know the people who have observed their Ps and Qs in terms of not just carcass but performance and fertility and everything “, said Goggins.

Connealy takes these superior genetics and quantifies them through AngusLink’s Genetic Merit Scorecard. By understanding exactly what type of bulls these producers have purchased and how those cattle are suited, it’s easy to make a connection and know which cattle would fit best.

“We work very closely with clients, so I don’t know who else would be in a better position to do that. [match cattle to buyers] rather than the genetic guy in the equation,” Connealy said.

Willis said commercial producers have the opportunity to capture more value if they start thinking about commercialization. He emphasized that marketing is what stands out on the day of the sale.

Breeders also need to find the right strain producer and establish a relationship with them. Seedstock suppliers need to know what works and what we need on our farm, Willis said. Connealy adds that growers should support a program that already aligns with their goals to help build consistency on their operation.

Ostrum said he buys cattle from the program because of their consistency. “The most predictable cattle I buy each year are cattle that are tied to a program year after year and receive guidance and advice from the seed grower,” Ostrum said.

Flipping the scenario, seed growers can communicate with their customers to build relationships and help them succeed. One step can be helping their clients interpret important data needed for bull buyers to make better decisions based on their environment and situation, Ostrum said.

For Goggins, he said people buy from people they like, know and trust. Through genetics and marketing programs, the panel shared several tactics and thought processes commercial breeders can use to grow their operations. Ultimately, getting better might just mean doing something new.

“Let’s get out of this paradigm and dare to do something, no matter what part of the world you are in,” Ostrum said. “Look at these different opportunities and dare to do something different.”

Source: Angus

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