Maximize Beef Profitability by Knowing Your Marketplace

Publish date: 2.26.24 

Industries shift and adapt as changes in technologies, tools, and access to data come about. The beef industry is no exception to that rule. For many years, the cow calf sector of the beef supply chain has made breeding decisions aimed at maternal traits. While we are not suggesting this is a wrong approach, we do just suggest considering your marketplace and how you get paid for the product you are producing. In some circumstances, putting a greater focus on terminal traits could be the most profitable choice.  

For beef producers in today’s beef industry, there is a difference between genetics aimed at beef supply chain success and those that optimize needs at the farm or ranch level. We have said it before, but we will say it again. The cow is the engine of productivity at the producer level. That concept is not changing because creating the right replacement females is still a major part of a cow calf operation. In fact, a large portion of breeding decisions are still made with that in mind.  

However, a one-sided breed strategy can have untended consequences for profitability. Breeding the whole herd for replacement females could hinder the portion of the calf crop destined for the beef supply chain. Those animals will be a byproduct of a maternally focused mating rather than for supply beef profit drivers.  

But you have options as a producer. Some questions you might ask yourself these days. Should you choose maternal? Should you choose terminal? Or can you have both? Answering these questions truly comes down to how you make your money. There are tools and technology available to you today that allow you to optimize your breeding program, regardless if it is maternal, terminal, or both. If you choose to have both, fixed-time A.I. and sexed semen allow you to dial in breeding decisions to create the right replacement females and profitable feeder cattle simultaneously. Breeding strategies like our Sexcel 60/40 Synch program give you the power to create the right pregnancies for your goals.  

Maximize Supply Chain Profitability with These Tools, Technology, and Terminal Genetics  

  • Genomics and EPDs  
  • Synchronization 
  • Artificial Insemination  
  • Sexed Semen 
  • Sires with Breed Leading Terminal Selection Indexes 
    • Angus – $Beef ($B) 
    • Simmental – Terminal Index ($TI) 
    • Charolais – Terminal Sire Index (TSI) 
    • ABS Pasture to Plate – US Beef Index 
  • NuEra Genetics 

Maternal genetics are still extremely important, but it is key to realize that not every pregnancy has to result from a maternal mating decision. We know that the word terminal can have a negative connotation, but today’s terminal genetics differ from the past.  Modern terminal genetics of today have moved away from the extremely lean, double-muscle cattle of the past to genetics focused on meat quality and growth performance in a broadly acceptable package.  

In the changed beef supply chain environment, a focused terminal breed program could be your ticket to capturing bigger profits in your marketplace. However, it is key to realize you don’t have to compromise one side or the other with the tools, technology, and genetics available to you. You can choose maternal, terminal, or both. It only depends on what is most profitable for you.  

Learn more about creating the right pregnancies to maximize profitability by reading our article originally published in Progressive Cattle.  

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