Consolidated Beef Producers daily email report on the cattle market offers this to “The torrid slaughter pace of the last 6 months has resulted in a shortage of Choice cattle today, right when the marketplace needs them. Packers now face difficult decisions and some critical unknowns.”
An interesting assessment after a spring bull sale season where many seedstock producers have ignored Marbling EPD data because the percentage of carcasses qualifying for the USDA Choice and USDA Prime quality grades has been at record highs for the past several years.
At the annual NCBA convention in February 2017, I asked a Cattle Fax analyst about why they, and many others, seem to ignore the $15 to 20 per hundredweight Prime-Choice spread that has remained very constant during a significant increase in the availability of USDA Prime carcasses and instead want to discuss the extreme variability of the Choice-Select spread. His answer was that that the Prime-Choice spread had not yet shown the effects of over-supply, implying that he was certain it would eventually…
What few seem to understand or want to accept is that with a coming roll-out of upper two-thirds USDA Choice Angus product by Walmart, the largest retailer of beef in the world, the demand for cattle that are anything less than that qualification level that has been taken directly from the specifications for our Certified Angus Beef program will begin a downward trend as the cow herd continues to rebuild and beef supply increases that allows packers to discount carcasses they do not want or need. Growing affluence around the developed world will continue to increase the demand for USDA Prime products now primarily exported to the Pacific Rim and sold in fine-dining restaurants and upscale meat specialty shops.
Selling Angus bulls with below breed average Marbling EPD values to commercial cattlemen that will get no hybrid vigor improvement in the carcass traits from crossbreeding is a recipe to continue the widening of the Prime-Choice spread as demand grows faster than supply in the international beef industry.
No bull in Angus history has ever offered more potential progress in one generation than Rito 3S10 of 9Q15 Progress who records the first ever high accuracy Marbling EPD to reach +2.00. Using the science behind the calculation of Marbling EPD, Rito 3S10, when randomly used on commercial cows, has the genetics to improve the resulting progeny carcasses from those females two-thirds of a quality grade compared with calves out a +0.0 Marbling EPD bull. That genetic power should be able to move future calves that would have graded USDA Select to USDA mid Choice and allow them to meet the marbling specification to qualify for the Certified Angus Beef brand or move calves that would have been graded USDA mid Choice to USDA Prime and qualify for the Prime premium that has for several years been from $150 to $200 per thousand pound carcass. Used in a commercial heifer breeding project, semen from Rito 3S10 can generate HUGE financial returns that more than cover the costs of synchronization and insemination and the replacement heifers retained by Rito 3S10 can change a commercial or seedstock Angus herd and keep it relevant for many years to come.