February 06, 2013

Genetic trends at the cattle sale barn


Orlando, FL – The most valuable beef cattle breeds might not be what you think. Using data from 10 weekly sale barns in Arkansas, animal scientist Shane Gadberry found that the value of certain breeds and certain physical traits shifted during the last decade.

Gadberry presented his findings Feb. 5 at the ASAS Southern Section Meeting in a presentation titled “Population and Price Differences for Sale Barn Marketed Calves in 2000, 2005 and 2010 Due to Genetically Influenced Phenotype.”

According to Gadberry, the popularity of Angus calves rose between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Angus calves were 7 percent of the calves sold. But by 2010, Angus calves were 18 percent of the calves sold. This is not surprising after intense marketing for Angus beef. Gadberry also found that Angus-Hereford calves became slightly more popular between 2000 and 2010. Gadberry saw dramatic drops in the numbers of Limousin and Hereford-Limousin calves.

But prices did not always match breed popularity. The value of Angus calves peaked around 2005. Angus-Hereford, Limousin and Limousin-Hereford calves also dropped in value.

Brahman calves bucked the trend and actually gained value between 2000 and 2010. Gadberry saw the most steady increase in the value of Angus-Brahman calves.

“We’ve seen a linear increase in the value of that animal over time,” said Gadberry.

Gadberry also looked at traits like color and frame size. He found that the value of all black cattle plateaued by 2005. The value of red and red-white cattle fell between 2000 and 2010, but there was an increase in the value of gray cattle.

Between 2000 and 2010, premiums for large frame calves increased. Gadberry said calves with small frames still have discounts. He said that by 2010 there was a greater discount for light muscle. As expected, the market continued to prefer polled calves.

“We see very few horned cattle remaining in our population,” said Gadberry