by IBBA Executive Vice President Tommy Perkins, PhD., PAS

The holiday season is in full swing, and I’m guessing you are spending a lot of time with family while eating and traveling more than most desire. It is a great time of year for both young and old alike as we celebrate the birth of Christ. Hopefully everyone carried out my suggestion last year to purchase any big ticket items for the family, farm or ranch when the cattle prices were high why not try these out. I don’t see the prices improving any time in the near future. Therefore, everyone will need to find ways to cut costs in order to have a profitable cattle enterprise.

It is good idea to be more ruthless with your culling criteria in the years ahead. Reports indicate that there has been a high level of replacement heifer retention the past two years, thus bulls will still be in demand. However, I highly recommend that everyone sharpens their knives and cull stringently on potential breeding bulls. These culled bulls can be great candidates for retained ownership to capture more information on the genetics of your herd. It is difficult to put a value on the knowledge to be gained from feeding these cattle. I fully believe the data collected for feed intake, marbling score, ribeye size, yield grade, and other traits should outweigh the risk you will be incurring.

International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) just released the newest set of genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) completed by Livestock Genetic Services. The latest run includes nearly 9,000 animals with single-nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, data in the IBBA database. Members continue to be dedicated to submitting DNA samples for testing on the higher density (30,000 to 150,000) panels, which further improves the strength of the expected progeny differences (EPDs). Continue sending DNA samples for low-density testing on your young, unproven cattle and high-density testing on your donor dams and artificial insemination sires. The increase in EPD accuracy, due to DNA testing, is proving to be a game changer when buyers make purchasing decisions.

The IBBA staff is getting closer to being settled into the new IBBA headquarters building. I can’t thank the staff enough for the hard work and extra effort during the move. The new space is greatly appreciated, and we thank the board of directors for getting us to this point. Please make plans to attend the ribbon cutting and open house ceremonies on Feb. 10, 2017 during IBBA’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Convention. Plan on a fun and educational two days in San Antonio, Texas.

Board of director election packets were mailed out to all paid IBBA members in early November to members living in the four regions open for election. The ballot includes names of eight dedicated members seeking positions in these four areas that are opening for election. Please cast your vote by marking, signing and submitting your completed ballot to the accounting firm of Akin, Doherty, Klein and Feuge, PC in San Antonio, Texas.

Do not hesitate to call me if you have any specific questions about the new headquarters building, GE-EPDs or Brangus genetics. For information about IBBA programs or other inquiries, please call (210) 696-8231 or explore our website. Stay connected to IBBA through FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitterYouTube, or receive news updates by joining our email list.