It is estimated that 68% of the costs of running a cow are associated with feed. There is no better area to make your ranch more profitable! The seedstock industry has let cattlemen down in this area. They are well known for their smorgasbord/glass bubble way of raising cattle. Thus, if you feed your cattle every bite of feed they can eat, which is typical in the purebred business, it is impossible to find the inefficient ones. On the other hand, look at how the corn/seed industry develops their new genetics. They plant the greatest producing varieties in the toughest of conditions (drought, disease, insects etc.) and what thrives they propagate. This has allowed them to nearly double their production per acre in the past 30 years, while the cattle industry has been stagnant or gone backwards on pounds of beef produced per acre for the last 30 years.
Not only does Lucky 7 Angus test animals in one of the only "GrowSafe" Feed efficiency test systems owned by an individual producer in the U.S., but also is the only seedsock producer that has been whole herd feed efficiency testing their cows for the past 12 years. We know how much feed it took for our cows 12 years ago vs. how much they require today. The Lucky 7 Angus cow herd is 30-40% more feed efficient today than they were 12 years ago and our cows are maintaining on 43% less nutrition requirements than industry standards (1150 pound cows on 16# dry matter per day) If the rest of the seedstock producers were as serious about your profits as we are, wouldn't they spend their money on feed efficiency testing? Why do they continue to spend their money on corn, promoting, feet trimming and haircuts? Real world results of Proven Feed Efficient Genetics; 3 pens of 5 weight steers fed to gain 1.25#/day. 1 pen proven feed efficient Lucky 7 Angus Genetics. 2 pens (one on each side of the first) of reputation angus steers all being fed the exact same ration and amounts. The Lucky 7 Angus genetics gained 2.09#/day vs the other 2 pens gaining 1.24#/day and 1.26#/day respectfully. The Lucky 7 Angus calves are 60.57% more efficient. Example 2; Feedlot steers out of proven feed efficient Lucky 7 Angus bulls converting feed at a ratio of 4.63(pounds of feed)/ 1 (pound of gain) . These steers did this straight through from 550 pounds to slaughter. Average gain ratio on a set of steers like this would be 6.5-7.0/1 or would require 30-35% more feed to gain the same. The economic possibilities for your ranch just by using feed efficiency proven genetics are incredible!
As of now there is only one way to determine feed efficient genetics in beef cattle and that is by feed efficiency testing them. Be careful of companies claiming to have located DNA markers for feed efficiency. Even though I believe they will, I am positive they have not found them yet. When I ask the experts that have been testing feed efficiency for years a simple question: What genetics have you found to be feed efficient? Unanimously they respond: "The technology is still too new to really know". If the scientists testing for feed efficiency have not found the genetics, how can the genomic companies find the DNA markers? Kind of like which came first the chicken or the egg? I don't know the answer, but I do know today I can't make a chicken without an egg, or an egg without a chicken. I wonder how much money genomic companies are making on assumptions.
The cattle industry is going to make a paradigm shift into more durable and feed efficient cattle. In order for seed stock producers to remain viable they must place their cattle in tougher conditions with less feed. Today, commercial cattlemen cull their inefficient cows from their herd, and each year they get them back with their next bull purchase, because seedstock producers won't do the same. It's a zero sum game that must stop. You will need to purchase bulls from programs that raise them as Lucky 7 Angus does, or you will get left behind.