We firmly believe that the best way to improve the genetics of our herd is to focus on the use of AI sires in our breeding and embryo transfer program. To this end, the vast majority of seedstock animals either retained in the herd or sold as breeding stock stem from AI breedings. This allows us to more quickly make genetic progress in our herd and provide animals of the highest quality to our bull and heifer buyers. While some other seedstock producers may still sell animals of lesser quality for breeding stock, calves not born from these high quality matings in our herd are utilized in our grass-fed beef program. Cows not meeting strict criteria for maternal traits and udder quality are also utilized as embryo recipients or culled from the herd to ensure efficient maternal quality is maintained in the genetics of each calf crop.
We firmly believe in utilizing modern technology including embryo transfer and HD 50K genomics to improve the accuracy of our matings and rapidly increase genetic progress in our herd. Our breeding selection is targeted to produce balanced animals with emphasis on all of the following characteristics:
- Moderate birth weight, high growth calves (targeting top 50% of breed in BW, and top 10% of breed in WW, YW, $W)
- High-performing, efficient finishing cattle with quality carcass characteristics (targeting top 10% RADG, CW, Marb, RE, $B)
- Calm, productive, and efficient maternal lines (targeting top 10% Doc, SC, HP)
Because we finish our own cattle that do not meet our strict seedstock requirements, we understand the needs of the beef industry to produce a high quality end product that requires minimal assistance at birth and gains efficiently from start to finish. We do not place a heavy emphasis on extreme low birth weight in our herd as we believe that focusing exclusively on this trait has led to birth of calves that are too small at birth and fail to gain well compared to their moderate birth weight contemporaries. By focusing on moderate birth weight and CED, our calves are typically born unassisted and are ready to perform in our environment. We also do not creep feed our calves and they are expected to grow well on pasture without supplementation, therefore, the weaning weights that you see are exactly what you can expect these cattle to perform naturally.