High Desert Born, High Desert Proven


Bovagene Update • March 2012

Have you ever looked at the commercial sale prices usually reported in local papers? The last couple of years I've wondered why some breeder's calves brought $100.00 more than others at the same weight. Finally, I went to my answer guy and here's what he said: "Packer buyers who buy thousands of calves every day have a computer record of every produer that they have purchased calves from before and have recorded how well those calves have performed. All cattle are now killed on the grid and believe me they know exactly how much they will pay before they start bidding."

There is plenty of supporting data that shows about a $400.00 difference between a top and bottom carcass.

In this newsletter I show both extremes. Congratulations to my friend Mike Linstrum for bringing home the blue ribbon and champion steer in tough competition in Washington state.

The other day I purchased the steak pictured for about $9.00 at a super market. I measured the steak and ate it. There was about one third waste fat and the exterior back fat cut off was about 1". I was reluctant to eat it because it didn't say where it was from. When you consider the extra kidney and back-fat, the packer probably lost $200.00 on this steer.

If you can buy good carcass bulls, or use great carcass bulls AI for the same price, why not? There's more money at weaning and there's more money at harvest - check it out.

Recently a college professor gave a presentation at a tri-state cattle conference and said this: "If you're not breeding for carcass - good luck with your hobby". To me, after 35 years selecting for premium carcass cattle, we now have the genetics to produce these great cattle. The breeders who talk down the necessity of carcass quality are doing that because their cow herds don't have it. It's always interesting to me when I see a highly promoted program drive $60,000 pickups and produce cattle that were popular 20 years ago. Packers are in business to make money and offer average prices for average carcass calves.

I personally am not interested in producing average cattle. Most of my friends are not either. My selection criteria is different than most. Some of my cattle are optimum. That is fault-free and efficient females that when bred to the right bull will produce a premium sale day. They run on 65,000 acres of Wyoming high desert. No shade, 100 degree days, mile and a half to water and some wean 700 lb calves. You can see the whole show on my new web site here. Grass-fat cattle out there taste like sagebrush. Wyoming has thousands of square miles of this type of pasture and I was surprised how well my angus cows adapted.

We have bull calves at Midland test station. They are the best bulls I have ever produced. They are the result of 49 years selecting for optimum genetic balance. The balance commercial producers should be paying attention to. When you select for balance you probably will not have the high gaining cattle. It's important to me to have calves that are among the top or above average gainers with added great carcass. It was Temple Granden who recently said, "If you select for one extreme trait, you usually pay for it in another important trait."

This year (5) High Prime 4037 calves were minus on RFI per pound of gain and of the seven calves the worst calf was a plus one. He's proven efficient and could be the most efficient sire ever tested at Midland (You know, the place where excuses don't sell?).

High Prime 4037 is now at Origin (close to Billings, MT) and will be there until Midland bull sale April 6th.

I also have several bull calves at WBCIA, Shoshoni, WY that sell April 7th. Since I'm selecting for small birth weights, they are mostly heifer bulls and should be some bargains there.

High quality High Prime 4037 semen is available from Origins, ABS, me and several other outlets. One salesman in California, Greg Furtado, has used High Prime for several years and can tell you a lot about his sons and daughters. He certainly deserves your semen purchases and can be contacted by calling 209-634-8612.

Top breeders around the country are now using High Prime 4037. Don't be the last to jump on the wagon to success.


Ben Lawson