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Angus Journal
Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

Hitting the Quality Target

Reproductive technologies help hit the high-quality target and can put dollars in producers’ pockets.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dec. 3, 2012) — 2012 was another record year for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), selling 811 million pounds (lb.) of Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand product, said Larry Corah, vice president of CAB, at the 2012 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium in Sioux Falls, S.D., Dec. 3-4.

Larry Corah It's a myth that you have to sacrifice growth and maternal function to hit a high-quality end-product target, CAB's Larry Corah shared.

However, shrinking cow numbers pose a challenge. More product must be produced from fewer cattle. That’s another reason why reproductive efficiency is so crucial. How does reproductive efficiency affect consumers?

“One of the coolest parts of this discussion is that utilizing artificial insemination (AI) technology really targets our industry’s ultimate goal — a quality eating experience for the consumer,” he answered. To sell protein in a competitive market, it must be of high quality.

Consumer signals indicate Prime has only a 4% chance of providing an undesirable eating experience. Premium Choice (the category in which CAB falls) has a 5% chance. Choice has a 14% chance, and Select has a 20% chance of providing an undesirable eating experience. Corah asserted that 14% and above is too high, sharing that most issues are related to tenderness.

There are economic reasons why producers should aim for producing higher-quality beef, and there are four myths that concern them, Corah explained.

  1. 1. Myth: No extra money is made by producing a higher-quality animal. Reality: While marketing skills are needed to make more profits happen, the opportunities exist. The top 25% of cattle in a well-known national program added $115.21 per head as fed cattle. The top 50% earned $94.36. With major retailers carrying higher-quality beef, that commitment has opened many opportunities for high-quality beef production.
  2. 2. Myth: You sacrifice growth and pounds to hit quality targets. Reality: With the strides in genetic selection in growth traits, that is not the case. “High-gaining cattle are healthy, well-managed, genetically superior animals,” said Corah.
  3. 3. Myth: High-quality cattle do not feed as well. Reality: Corah referenced a recent analysis by Tom Brink, JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC, which shows that high-growth and higher-grade cattle profit by $27.30 in the feedyard, while lower-growth and lower-grade cattle lost $58.29 (see Table 1 below).
  4. 4. Myth: You can't have functional cows and still focus on quality. Reality: Corah shared an extensive research literature review by Twig Marston that concluded that the functionality of cows doesn’t mean giving up quality in her progeny. Click here to read the white paper.

Click hereto view larger image of Table 1: Feedyard closeout
and carcass performance comparison.

Using data and technological tools, such as expected progeny differences (EPDs) or genomic tools, can help producers hit the quality target, as well.

“We may be entering the most exciting 20 years of cattle breeding this industry has ever seen, and we can really satisfy our consumers while we are achieving this,” Corah concluded.

Corah spoke during Monday's ARSBC session focused on how to profit from reproduction. Visit the Newsroom at to listen to his presentation and to view the accompanying PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper.

Comprehensive coverage of the ARSBC symposium is available online at Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force and

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.