The Charolais Role in Integrity Beef Alliance

The Integrity Beef Alliance offers beef producers a simplified management system and creates value-stacked calves. As the alliance's executive director Robert Wells, states, “We see these high premiums because we’re stacking all those traits that the buyers want.” Ultimately, the alliance is geared toward supplying feedlots with the type of calves they want to feed. Many alliance producer-members are finding Charolais genetics are a natural fit.

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Vertical Integration at Simplot Starts with Charolais

Recognizing the Charolais breed’s excellent muscling power, the J.R. Simplot Company, Land and Livestock division, in Grand View, Idaho, has invested in its own Charolais seedstock herd to produce the ideal feeder calf—an animal that is functional, unique and profitable. Using a systems based research approach, director of research and veterinary services Randall Raymond, DVM, is using Charolais-cross cattle to identify future economically important traits that will set Simplot’s cattle apart from the rest.

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The Charolais Edge: White Hides Bring a Genetic Advantage to Commercial Herds

Brett DeBruycker of DeBruycker Charolais based near Great Falls, Montana, discusses the Charolais advantages of growth, uniformity, feedlot efficiency, carcass merit and proven calving ability to an operation. Getting those Charolais genetics into commercial herds is at the heart of their business. "I think we're adding value," Brett said. "The commercial cattle producers who use our bulls on their Angus, or Red Angus or Hereford-based cows, they will easily get 50 pounds more of weaning weight. I've talked to guys who get as much as 120 pounds more weaning weight. It's just adding huge value to those guys."

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Genomics: Where are we going?

Genomics. This term has become a popular buzzword within the beef industry. But what does it mean?  Genomic-enhanced EPDs were released in the 2015 Spring Charolais National Cattle Evaluation. Where are we going next? Future directions can be summed up in three words: fewer, more and targeted.

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Making Bucks From Bucksins

Frank Wedel of Wedel Red Angus near Leoti, Kansas, knows Charolais/Red Angus cross hybrids generate plenty of attention from cattlemen who appreciate hybrid vigor. He explains, "We've always found that the Charolais-cross, whether they be to Red Angus or black Angus, perform very, very well. As we talked to packers, they expressed a real interest in acquiring more hybrid cattle, so that's what got us down the road with our Charolais program." His Charolais/Red Angus heifers are developed at Heartland Cattle Company near McCook, Nebraska, where the hybrid females have excelled in fertility.

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Brian Arbogast of Harrisonburg, Virginia, has been calving, weaning and backgrounding Charolais-cross calves beside straightbred Angus calves for the past six years. He says incorporating Charolais genetics into the herd is something he wishes he had done years ago.
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After seeing virtually every cattle breed's performance in the feedyard, James Henderson of the Bradley 3 Ranch knew Charolais outperformed them all and created a place for the white hides on his wife's Angus seedstock operation.
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Jude Capper explains, "Every single beef production system can be sustainable," no matter its size, the breed or if it's organic, conventional or natural, provided three factors are in place: economic viability, environmental responsibility and social acceptability. Charolais and Charolais-influenced producers understand the relationship of economic efficiencies in producing more pounds in every calf crop and the reality of sustaining their own operations. The influence of Continental genetics in the last half of the 20th Century, scientific and technological advancements, and improved management tools enable beef producers to produce more, higher quality beef and use fewer resources.
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As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers, and this certainly applies to calf pools, alliances that offer marketing options, and opportunities for cattle operations that are most often small to medium in size or even geographically challenged. Florida Heritage Beef is one such organization, made up of nine ranches of cow-calf producers. Member Kempfer Cattle Co., Deer Park, Fla., discusses how they decrease their risk associated with feeder calf marketing by pooling similar known genetics, health and management protocols, and age and source verifying cattle. Charolais genetics are used in five of the nine FHB members' operations.
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"BQA started out as the quality assurance of beef products and has evolved into the assurance of quality beef for the consumer," says Dr. Dan Thomson, director of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. One of the founding guidelines of the Florida Heritage Beef marketing group is each member-ranch's cow crew must be BQA certified.
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Articles listed above have appeared in previous issues of the Charolais Edge, AICA's publication geared for the commercial beef producer. If you'd like a free subscription, contact Molly Mader at the AICA office at 816-464-5977 or
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