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Carcass Merit Attributes of Angus, Brangus and Ultrablack Sired Calves, by Education and Data Coordinator Jenny Bohac

Data from 88 crossbred calves, sired by Angus, UltraBlack, and Brangus bulls, were evaluated for carcass merit in early 2016. The data came from 14 Angus-sired calves, 51 UltraBlack-sired calves, and 23 Brangus-sired calves born between October and December in 2014 on a commercial ranch located in Lufkin, Texas. All calves were produced by a single sire, natural-service mating in a 100-day breeding season. The commercial cows producing these calves were predominantly comprised of Angus and Braunvieh influenced genetics.

The calves were allowed access to creep feed while nursing their dams, from approximately three months of age until they were weaned in early May 2015. As you would expect, the calves consumed larger amounts of creep feed as they grew closer to weaning age. The calves also received a Ralgro implant in February 2015. The calves were backgrounded for a 45-day period, post-weaning, following a Vac-45 Program. The cattle were then transported by truck, to Irsik and Doll Feedyard, which is located in Garden City, Kansas, where they completed their feeding phase.

The Brangus-sired calves weighed less at shipping, and lost less weight on the 500-plus mile haul, from Texas to Kansas, than the UltraBlack and Angus-sired calves. It is also interesting that the UltraBlack-sired calves (692 pounds) weighed less than Angus-sired calves (769 pounds) at weaning; however, the UltraBlack calves (867 pounds) weighed more than the Angus calves (838 pounds) as hanging carcasses.

Carcass data collected at the packing plant included hot carcass weight (HCW), quality grade, marbling score, yield grade, ribeye area, carcass fat thickness, price per hundred weight and price per head.

Although the Angus-sired calves had the highest price per hundred weight ($221.25 per cwt), the UltraBlack-sired calves had the highest value per head ($1827.35 per head). This is because the UltraBlack calves also had the highest average HCW (867.5 pounds).

Little difference in quality grade and marbling score were seen among the sire breeds as all of the carcasses graded low choice. The UltraBlack-sired calves had the highest numerical yield grade as indicated by a more external fat thickness (0.69 inches).  There were no differences in ribeye size between the Angus-sired calves and UltraBlack-sired calves.

Results from this data suggest that use of a Brangus bull on Angus cows may produce cattle that will outperform others from pasture to plate. This is evident in the improved growth of the UltraBlack (Brangus X Angus cross) calves in this study. Additionally, the improved growth was topped with a more impressive carcass profitability.

Download PDF version: FBP_Fall2016 bohac_CarcassMerit

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JENNY BOHAC

Jenny earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and Master of Science in animal breeding from Texas A&M University. She has always loved animals and wanted to work in agriculture despite having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago. In college she got involved in research projects with horses and cattle which helped her become interested in the cattle industry. She is excited to be getting her feet wet by working for and representing the Brangus breed as the IBBA Education and Data Coordinator.