Core Considerations and Traits for Terminal Beef Profitability 

For some, the word terminal carries a negative connotation. But, in reality, the vast majority of calf crops have a terminal destination in the beef supply chain. If your terminal endpoint is selling calves at weaning, the weaning weight may seem like the only relevant trait to consider. Nevertheless, the beef industry operates with a rapidly improving ability to “connect the dots” from ranch to grocery store. So, whether you retain ownership to the rail or not, traits that drive profitability post-weaning are important.  

Today, cattle feeders expect fast-growing, healthy cattle that convert feed to pounds of carcass weight efficiently. Packers expect as much high-quality carcass weight as possible for every hook space. Meanwhile, consumers demand an exceptional eating experience whether they are fine dining or eating at home. 

With the improvements in data collection, EPDs, and genomics in the last few decades, beef producers can better select genetics that drive profit in cattle feeding and carcass value to meet the demand of the beef supply chain.  

Remember, precise breeding strategies, like our Sexcel® 60/40 Synch program, allow you to segment your herd, emphasizing more focused maternal selection on a portion while simultaneously maximizing terminal value from females not needed to produce replacements. You can choose a maternal path, a terminal one, or both at the same time because each path is achievable with today’s genetics, tools, and technology.  

Choosing Sires with a Terminal Emphasis 

Because pounds and post-weaning profitability matter, choose sires who excel for growth performance, feed efficiency, and carcass merit. We recommend using economic indexes because they combine and weigh the relative impact of traits into one simple and effective selection tool. Read more about the different economic indexes below.  

  • Angus: $Beef ($B) is Angus’ most comprehensive terminally focused selection index.  
  • Simmental: Terminal Index ($TI) is the American Simmental Association’s version of a terminal selection tool.  
  • Charolais: Terminal Sire Index (TSI) is the Charolais index best suited for this purpose.  
  • ABS Pasture to Plate: US Beef Index is the ABS proprietary terminal selection index generated by the Pasture to Plate Genetic Evaluation.  

Traits to Consider in Your Genetic Selection for Terminal Success 

  • Yearling Weight (YW) EPD is one of our most reliable tools to select for faster-growing cattle.  
  • For over 25 years, ABS’ unwavering focus on collecting feed intake data has made us the industry leader in identifying feed efficiency genetics.  
  • Look at Dry Matter Intake (DMI) and Residual Average Daily Gain (RADG) EPDs as indicators of feed conversion.  
  • Rely on the ABS Efficiency Index alongside the US Beef Index for the most unbiased economic consideration of feed conversion.   
  • Pounds pay, pounds first. Carcass Premiums are applied on a per-pound basis.  
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of Carcass Weight (CW) EPD in your terminal selection criteria.  
  • Marbling (MARB) EPDs are our best predictor of carcass quality and a valuable tool in capturing the upside in today’s carcass grids.  
  • Ribeye Area (REA) and Fat Thickness (FAT, BF) EPDs provide us with excellent tools to help ensure that we do not sacrifice red meat yield in our quest for increased marbling.  
  • Pulmonary Arterial Pressure (PAP) EPD is increasingly being considered as a tool for Angus-sired cattle to mitigate late-term mortalities in feedlot.  

Trust ABS genetics to help you reach your goals, regardless of which stage your calf crop enters the beef supply chain. To assist you with your genetic selection, you can view our entire lineup on Bull Search at the click of a button. Choose to filter sires based on terminal traits that meet your needs and find the right genetics to maximize your terminal profitability.  

To learn more about ABS sires with a terminal focus, contact your ABS Representative or complete the form below.