Basics of the Ultrablack, Ultrared and Breeding Up to Brangus Appendix Program

by Tommy Perkins, Ph.D., PAS


Ultrablack® and UltraredTM Program

In October 2005, the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) board of directors approved creation of the Ultrablack and Ultrared program to take advantage of the strengths of the Brangus and Angus or Red Angus breeds. Ultrablack and Ultrared animals are registered composite animals with validated and documented lineage that are between 12.5% and 87.5% Brangus breeding.  The remaining 87.5% to 12.5% must be a registered Angus to be a Ultrablack or Red Angus to be a Ultrared.

Ultrablack cattle are assigned a “UB” prefix and Ultrared cattle are assigned a “UR” prefix with all UB and UR animals receiving EPDs from the national cattle evaluation (NCE) analysis using a multi-breed model. For example, a registered Brangus sire (R00000001) mated to a registered and enrolled Angus cow (EA000000001) would produce a registered Ultrablack

(UB0000000001) calf.  The UB0000000001 calf could then be mated to a registered Brangus or registered and enrolled Angus to produce a registered Ultrablack (UB0000000002) calf.  The IBBA documents the pedigree and breed composition as well as calculates adjusted performance data and ultimately provides EPDs for all registered cattle.

These polled Ultrablack and Ultrared cattle combine environmental adaptability and maternal excellence of the Brangus breed with the exceptional marbling, calving ease and name recognition of Angus or Red Angus breeds.  Like other composite breeds, Ultrablack and Ultrared cattle have a high level of hybrid vigor (heterosis) that results in improvement in overall reproductive performance, growth rate, weaning weight per cow exposed and optimization of mature cow size.  Other convenience traits positively impacted by hybrid vigor generally include improvements in weaning rate, higher serving capacity, improved pregnancy rate, larger scrotal circumference, greater sperm production and reduced age at puberty. Ultrablack and Ultrared sired calves meet and/or exceed industry standards for growth and performance in the feedlot phase.  Additionally, these same calves maximize premiums in the packing plant because of their exceptional ribeye size and above average marbling scores.

Use registered Ultrablack and Ultrared genetics to take advantage of hybrid vigor in order to produce cattle possessing maternal excellence in the pasture, profitability traits in the feedlot and unequalled carcass attributes in the meat counter.


AngusPlus versus Ultrablack/Ultrared

Many cattlemen erroneously interchange the AngusPlus and Ultrablack/Ultrared registry programs.  Angus Plus was created by a group of Brangus breeders wishing to maximize the amount of Angus influence in their cattle and became a part of the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) Registry in 2001.  Originally, cattle qualifying as Angus Plus were defined as Angus/Brahman derivatives with a minimum of 50 percent Angus (red or black) and a preference for higher percentage Angus breeding.

They placed an emphasis on lowering the Brahman influence below the traditional Brangus levels. With that said, on July 1, 2004,  the RAAA changed the definition of an Angus Plus animal to cattle that were Brahman/Angus derivatives that have been derived from purebred lines (Red Angus, Angus, Brahman, Red Brangus, and/ or Brangus) between 65 percent and 96 percent registered red or black Angus and a minimum of four percent registered Brahman.

Unlike the RAAA, leaders at the IBBA have always stressed the importance of Bos Indicus influence in Ultrablack and Ultrared cattle by keeping the Brangus influence at a 12.5% level or higher for registry.  This was further confirmed by the IBBA membership with continued conversation about a breeding up from Ultrablack and Ultrared to Brangus program.


Breeding Up Ultrablack and Ultrared to Brangus Status

In early 2013, the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) membership approved the breeding up of Ultrablack® and UltraredTM cattle to registered Brangus.  The membership agreed they are polled or scurred animals of Brangus and Ultrablack or Ultrared breeding which are black or red respectively (with no white in front of the navel).  The rule states that an IBBA registered Brangus sire or dam mated to an IBBA registered Ultrablack or Ultrared sire or dam that results in at least 7/8th (87.5%) Brangus qualifies as a registered Brangus.  Likewise, progeny from these bred up (produced from Ultrablack® or Ultrared™ Appendix Program) animals recorded in the Brangus registry meet all requirements for registration.  The guidelines can be found in Article V, Section 1C (page 5) of the IBBA Bylaws.


On August 13, 2013, the Board approved that a Ultrablack or Ultrared with a minimum of 87.5%Brangus would be given an ‘R’ prefix registration number.  The first generation of a bred up Brangus from a Ultrablack (87.5% or greater Brangus) would receive a U1 in the “Generation” area on the registration paper (see flowchart below). Progeny produced from a bred up Brangus (“R” prefix and U1 generation code) parent mated to a registered Brangus will receive an “R” prefix and “2” generation code.  Likewise, progeny produced from a bred up Brangus (“R” prefix and “2” generation code) parent mated to a registered Brangus (2nd generation or higher) will receive an “R” prefix and “3” generation code.



Below is a chart that describes the registry status and breed make-up when using the breeding up Ultrablack to Brangus program.  Using the chart, the “½ = UB” is the progeny produced from mating a registered Brangus to a registered Angus (note that the calf would receive a UB prefix). Mating of the “½ = UB” animal to a registered Brangus results in a “3/4 = UB” progeny that would receive a UB prefix.  Mating of the “3/4 = UB” animal to a registered Brangus would result in a “7/8 = R” progeny that would receive an R prefix because it meets the minimum 87.5% Brangus makeup as described in the bylaws.  Please note that all animals highlighted in yellow in the chart below would be assigned an “R” prefix with all rights of a registered Brangus animal (other than the first generation receiving a U1 designation).



It is important to understand that only animals that reach 87.5% Brangus status or higher will receive the “R” prefix.  Use the Breed Predictor tool found at or if you are not certain what prefix a mating of two particular animals would receive. This tool allows you to input two specific animals as a mating pair and it will designate the registration prefix of the resulting progeny.  Emilio Silvas, IBBA Product Manager, developed this easy to use tool for your use.


Following is a summary of resulting progeny make-up with a potential mating of a bred up Red Brangus (from Ultrared animal) to an Ultrared animal.  Again the resulting progeny must be 87.5% or higher Red Brangus to receive the “RR” prefix which is indicated by mating’s highlighted in yellow below.