A load of steers departing for the feedlot

Monetising high IMF cattle

"The variation between the average value of progeny of the best and worst performing sires in Cohort four was $619.  On an individual carcase basis, the difference between the highest and lowest valued carcase was $2076."
Beef Central

One of the commenters (David Murray Kilburnie Angus) makes the point that producers don’t receive any of that premium. I used to feel that way, however this year, while marketing our feeder steers I did see a clear premium of 25c/kg offered to us based of our high IMF breeding objective and the performance of previously inducted steers. That equated to an extra $105 per steer or $8.3k for the load.

David’s point is still valid – there is a distinct lack of transparent price signals available to the wider market to encourage more breeders to pursue carcass traits in their breeding objective.

Genomics tools for commercial producers are on the cusp of making a big impact. Commercial angus breeders can now utilise genomics to make more informed selection decisions about their replacement heifers. Depending on their heifer retention rate, a producer would only have to do this for 3 or 4 years to have strong evidence at hand about the genetic performance of their whole herd with relation to 8 different traits (that are otherwise mostly invisible). This would include a fairly accurate indicator of their herds IMF.

In the US there is already a equivalent genomic test for steers.  I’ve had one senior spokesmen for a large processor and feedlotter indicate that these tests would one day be used at induction as a basis for a value based payment to the producer and to determine which feeding program each animal is best suited.

Perhaps when genomics for commercial producers is proven to make commercial sense, feedlotters/processors will feel more confident about bidding harder for the better cattle.

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