Beef Buzz News
Beef Connection System Helps Producers Maximize Genetic Expression for Greater Profitability
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 17:10:52 CDT
At the recent Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Bob Sand. Sand is an Angus cow-calf operator, but he is also the owner of the Beef Connection. He says it is all about trying to dramatically improve the return on investment for cattle producers. He says that he wants them to prosper and be more sustainable at the same time.
The Beef Connection is Sand’s data collection and analysis system that helps maximize producer profitability and sustainability. Sands’ website says they system is based on two principles: hard data is a powerful tool and producers need to seize every opportunity to create value by following a marketing plan.
The data collection details not only genetics, but nutrition as well. He says that genetics are important, but they only go so far in producing consistently superior marketing results.
“I noticed that groups of cattle acted differently, but they were bred or A-Ied to the exact same bull. So, I knew I sorted the females off and made a production system on the farm, so what was the differentiation factor? I started going back into the nutritional profiles that they were on on the farm that would and that was the area where there was a lot of variability.”
He says the differences were astounding and easily visible.
“If you look at a mineral program that a mama cow was on, you can see that you installed the semen but the genes were never turned on, say, for carcass merit or feed efficiency or whatever it is. And what I was able to do was trace it back to the use of proper micronutrients in the mineral and Alltech helped me do that through their nutria-genomics laboratory. Nutrition and genetics is what they study, so we pulled that all apart and we were able to figure out which genes needed to be turned on to make it happen. And that is done through nutrition.”
He said the system allows ranchers to express the genetics found in their pedigrees.
“The farmer holds the key in his hand. He is the most important part of this process because he sets the genetic profile, the fetal programming takes place in the first, second or third trimester, so while that fetus is in mama and the mama is under his care, he sets the profile of that calf. The feedlot manager, he can’t change it. Whatever he is given is what he will have. So, that’s the way this works.”
Sand says what they are doing is not unlike the VAC-45 program, which he uses on his herd, but goes much, much further.
“We are programming the immune system to act a certain way. We are programming certain genes to stay turned on through the life cycle. The VAC-45 is preventative maintenance. This is working at the core. We’re actually working at the molecular level of the calf-the molecular level-when he’s being conceived and being developed.”
He says the value when you get to the feedlot is $140 to $150. Just shifting feed conversion two-tenths of a point means an additional $28 with corn at current prices. Increasing conversion even a few tenths of a point further yields more premium and, Sand says, the same results can be seen in carcass merit.
With the data at hand, Sand says he has been able to maximize supplementation either through minerals for forage-fed cows or feed supplements for feedyard cattle.
More information is available on Sand's system at www.thebeefconnection.com/
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