Next up in our EPD Blog series is Simmental cattle. We asked Hofmann Simmental Farms for their perspective on EPDs, what they look for, and for some more information on their operation. Our goal is to begin a discussion because we know that there is SO much information out there on EPDs and a lot of people can get lost. With this blog series we aim to bring different perspectives and spark conversation, let us know your thoughts!
We are so excited to bring you Billy Whitehurst of Performix Nutrition. It is so important to have different perspectives from people across the industry and that is what we aim to bring you! We recently had him featured in the latest Chute From The Hip and decided that wasn’t enough. We asked Billy for his advice on pre-weaning nutrition and hit the jackpot with information, thanks Billy!
Are you stumped on how to gather & start an email list for your business? We get it, it’s intimidating!
We broke it down into an easy step-by-step process so you can get started on starting your email list! Email marketing is so important for you business and we want to show you how.
Head on over to the Krose Marketing & Consulting blog to see How To Gather & Start an Email List!
Sale season is upon us and we figured it was time we give you all a preview of some of the sales that we are representing with some background information, dates, times, and locations! All of these operations are unique in how they raise their cattle and we are sure that you will find the right fit for your operation!
We see you. We see how low the cattle market has been. We see how much uncertainty there is moving forward for those who have not contracted their calves. It is Labor Day and we know that as farmers and ranchers, no matter the income, the work is still the same. We know that you see no holidays because no matter what day it is, the work still has to get done. We see you laboring on Labor Day to make sure you don’t fall behind and we appreciate you. Each and every one of you is so important.
In the second blog in our EPD series, we want to get more breed-specific because of the upcoming Montana Hereford Tour and Angus Tours. This week we are going to talk about Herefords. Herefords are known for numerous traits, but in order to do this right, we decided to bring in one of our clients, Hepworth Cattle in Auburn, Wyoming. Tyson Hepworth gives us his thoughts on a few questions I had for him, and we are grateful for him taking the time to explain his thoughts on Hereford traits.
Question 1: What do you feel Hereford cattlemen typically search for when analyzing EPD’s?
So, we raise Hereford cattle and that has transitioned from Angus cattle. In that transition, we have seen that ranchers, despite the breed they are analyzing, tend to fall into a couple different categories.
They don’t look at any EPD’s, they don’t fully understand them, and that might make them worry about actual measures, so they tend to stay away from them.
They look at performance group EPD’s like BW, WW, YW, and Milk typically. I think a fair amount of ranchers fall into this category.
There are a few producers that take that to the extreme, where they pay so much attention to the numbers, they don’t analyze the animal standing in front of them.
In my opinion, there are major issues with that third method of selection.
Question 2: What EPDs do you feel Herefords excel in?
I think Hereford cattle excel in a good variety of traits depending on how they are being used, which makes them a very adaptive breed. As a breed, they tend to compliment many other breeds to enhance their value. As far as specific EPD traits, I feel Hereford cattle can have moderate birth weights but have enough power in their weaning and yearling weights to perform in the feedlots. It is important to me that they are not extreme in any of those traits. Because of that, the Hereford breed is known for maternal traits while some other breeds have often overlooked those traits in order to focus on terminal traits. This allows you to cross them with a lot of these types of cattle to get a very maternal type female. Hereford cattle also tend to have a good tender carcass as an end product but are improving in marbling and ribeye area.
Question 3: What does your operation tend to focus on and why?
Hepworth Cattle tends to focus on cattle that are well balanced in their EPD profile. We feel there is a very nice middle of the road approach to raising and selecting cattle. We are focused on raising low maintenance, easy going, maternal type cattle. As we select cattle to use, we want those calves to be moderate in birth weight. Problems arise from calving too big of calves just as much as calves that are too small. We also want to see a nice balance between weaning to yearling weight. Milk is one that really needs to be watched. Cattle that milk heavy for sure mean big bulky calves, but it’s usually at the expense of not breeding back the next year. We have to give that calf an adequate chance to grow, and it depends a lot on your nutrient supply and feed quality to understand what your cattle can and cannot handle. I think that the udder and teat scores that Herefords provide are going to be a great tool later on, but for now, I would rather see actual teats and udders to make sure we are going in the right direction.
Mature Weight is another EPD we keep a close eye on, and it can be deceptive. With this trait, I believe it needs to match the animal in its type and kind. We are looking for cattle that are moderate in frame and bold in muscle and rib shape, the type that command you to take a second look just to make sure you notice how feminine yet massive they are, and not the ones that have a tall and lanky body type.
In the carcass and terminal EPD’s, we’d like to see a good positive number on all the traits, but one in particular is Back Fat. In a maternal minded herd, back fat has a pretty important place, and I think it is often overlooked. If a female cannot store fat on her back, her ability to function as a low maintenance female is over. In order to be moderately framed, big ribbed, heavy muscled, and easy going low maintenance, they need to be able to keep fat on their backs.
Question 4: Where do you think the Hereford EPDs could improve?
One thing I have always told people that we have also seen in the Angus breed as well, is that Herefords just need a bigger base to pool the EPD results. As Hereford cattle are used more for their abilities, the EPD profiles become more stable.
Question 5: What kind of traits can we expect to see from your operation at your upcoming sale?
The traits that will be seen in our cattle are those balanced, modest type profiles. You are not going to see extreme numbers in any of the cattle that sell. Our cattle will be able to be used in a variety of ways, and I think that is what makes Herefords money making type cattle that work for you, not you work for them.
Thank you so much Tyson Hepworth of Hepworth Cattle, we appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us about Hereford EPDs!
The Hepworth Cattle Sale will be on October 19, 2019 in Auburn, Wyoming
To request a catalog when they come available, click here!
EPD’s in the cattle industry can be an incredible tool when used correctly, but I find that a lot of people allow themselves to get caught up in the numbers. When I first started livestock judging under my mentor, Mark King, I remember him emphasizing the importance of the numbers matching the cattle. That is something that has always been in the back of my mind whether I am picking out bulls for a customer or sending out recommendations. I believe that most of the time, we let the EPD’s be the deciding factor when they should just be a tool.
Lately I have been noticing a push towards single trait selection, which is concerning, especially when I am buying feeder calves in the fall. 8 out of 10 ranches that use low birth weight, shorter gestation heifer bulls are having calves that are getting cut off at shipping because they are simply not big enough to keep up with the group. If we decide to keep those cut back heifers and breed them, we are breeding those smaller framed, slower maturing, slower growing cattle to our herd. And after multiple generations, the entire atmosphere of your herd has changed.
When you are using EPD’s, it is so important to be able to look at your individual cow herd, identify the holes you see, and where you can improve. Keep in mind that adjusting your genetics needs to be a long and slow moving process. Think of a river--when a river bends, it doesn’t take a sharp turn suddenly. It’s going to slowly adapt and bend in the direction it needs to go, which is exactly what we have to do. When you see a hole in your cow herd, it is important to find bulls that will not only correct the issue, but will allow you to slowly correct it.
Let’s talk about accuracy. As someone that owns about 50 mother cows, I don’t have the opportunity to take as many risks when it comes to choosing a bull. It is extremely important to me that a bull has proven ability.
You have to be able to analyze your cows, identify the holes, and know which of those holes you can address across the board while continuing to emphasize the positives of your herd.
Depending on what your ranch’s focus is, your short term goals will be different. If you raise feeder calves, your goal is not the day you sell them, it is how they end up on a consumer’s plate. Say you sell breeding stock, the short term goal is always the next generation and striving for those future generations to perform at a higher level because of the breeding decisions you make. The genetics you choose need to reflect that goal and the steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Picking bulls is one of the most exciting and complicated things, in my opinion. As a commercial cattleman, I think it is imperative to have good mentorship on bulls. Ask your rep who markets your calves what some changes are that the feeder would like to see. I believe that knowledge is power, and the more information you have, the better chance you have at choosing the right herd bulls or registered females to add to your stock.
Let the EPD numbers complement the research you’ve done on your herd, and the accuracy will improve your herd in most aspects, not just one.
I hope this was helpful, and as always, let us know if there are any topics you want to hear my thoughts on or if you have any questions!
“The Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger, the key ingredient of which is a protein called soy leghemoglobin (SLH), derived from genetically modified yeast. SLH is the substance that gives the burger its meaty taste and makes it appear to bleed like meat when cut. The FDA initially refused to sign off on the safety of SLH when first approached. After a rat-feeding study was constructed, the results suggest that the agency’s concerns were justified. Rats that were fed the genetically modified yeast derived from SLH developed unexplained changes in weight gain, changes in the blood that can indicate the onset of inflammation or kidney disease, and possible signs of anemia.” GMO Science. “Rat Feeding Study Suggest the Impossible Burger May Not Be Safe to Eat”
One of my biggest concerns when it first came to the table of discussion was simply, who is going to be monitoring it? If the Impossible Burger is going to be used and marketed as a meat substitute, it should be abiding by the same rules and regulations as meat. USDA and FDA have very different regulations and I am concerned that if this is not regulated or monitored as closely as it should be, the safety of this product will be compromised.
Most of the people that I see being excited about this product are typically against GMOs. The vast majority of this product is genetically modified and has been developed in a laboratory. Those who stand against GMOs should heavily research this product and the ingredients that make up it’s chemistry. I find the ingredients list troubling if you are searching for a “healthy alternative”. I find it interesting that people are trying to replicate beef but don’t want to eat beef and that the alternative is something that has shown negative effects in the testing stages. Something to consider.
I have spoken to our senators and congressmen about the impossible burger and I want to be very clear that I did not speak against having alternatives. One of my biggest passions is finding ways to be able to feed the world through safe, healthy, and affordable food. I spent time in Uganda and saw a child die of starvation. I understand the severity of world hunger and I will always advocate towards finding solutions for it. I also believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and how they feel about certain topics. Just because I will refrain from buying or consuming an Impossible Burger does not mean that I think you are wrong for choosing to do so. I just want to see that the alternative is a safe one.
From a marketing perspective, they have done an incredible job marketing this product. But we all know how influential marketing can be. In the agriculture industry we have been saying for years that ranchers need to speak up about what is happening on our ranches and with our animals to really show people the truth behind the steaks they see at the grocery store. We have to advocate for ourselves rather than be reactive within our own industry. Our focus has to shift to really talk to the consumer directly and bridge that gap.
I will choose beef every time, and I will encourage you to choose beef every time.And if you have questions about the beef industry, please ask. The vast majority of us love explaining to people what we do and how we do it because it’s our family’s passion and we consume what we raise. We care for our animals like they are our family because they are what keep the lights on and what puts food on our table.
I hope this was helpful and as always please let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more of or have questions on that we can help you with!
To stay up to date with industry news and market breakdowns, we have launched our newsletter Chute From The Hip !
With everything that has been going on in the market the last couple of weeks, a good majority of us have been anxiously awaiting the Corn Market Report to come out, am I right?
As of August 12, 2019, Northern Ag Report released the crop report and it has been a surprise to many due to the increase of corn production to 13.9 million bushels, which raised the average national yield to 169.5 bushels per acre. According to the USDA’s planting survey, 76.7 million acres of soybeans were planted and is projected at 3.68 billion bushels. This brings us to a 19% drop from last year.
The pre-report estimates for corn were 13.164 billion bushels but the actual report came in at 13.9 billion bushels (bb) and the average farm price for corn is projected at $3.60 per bushel.
So, what does the corn market report mean for us?
I for one, am not that surprised to hear that there is more corn than anticipated. I know a lot of farmers that ran into more issues planting than usual, making corn come down in price. Naturally, we expected cattle to trend up however, this happened to hit at the exact same time as the Tyson Plant fire. We are seeing an inverse reaction between the two and as of Thursday morning, August 15, live and feeder cattle were up and so was corn. This is not a typical flow of the market and I believe it is a knee jerk reaction from the down that was slightly overplayed from the Tyson Plant fire. Corn is still up and I think we need to be cautious of that and a vast majority are still considering a .92 cost of gain, which is a little higher than in years past. In past years we have seen it hover around .85. When you feed cattle, a .92 cost of gain makes a big difference, especially when you consider all the factors we are facing today including the volatility of the board.
Another point I want to make is that a good portion of these northern cattle are headed to Canada and not only do we have to take into account the numbers for corn but for barley as well.
You know that saying, “Comparing apples to oranges”.... It applies to cattle too. Go Figure!
That being said, I want to emphasize that you need to really pay attention to those numbers that apply specifically to you and your operation based off your genetics, for example, where you are, where your cattle will be headed, etc. Make sure you are running break-evens on your cattle and really assessing what your cattle are actually worth being that we are getting pretty late in the season and that the corn report didn’t have the effect that a lot of us were hoping it would. Furthermore, it is still time to sell the calves and get a forward contract in sooner rather than later. We are launching our bi-weekly newsletter to bring you breakdowns of the cattle market and how to apply these trends to your operation. Chute From The Hip will help get you on the right foot to make the right decisions so don't miss out!
If you would like to read the report yourself, Click Here
How to Utilize Digital Marketing Efficiently
The technology boom of our generation has changed most businesses in a lot of ways. For some, it has completely altered how things used to be done. For production sale marketing, some of the old tricks are still useful, but they aren’t enough. It’s crucial to utilize digital marketing, and you will fall behind if you don’t catch up with technology.
Let’s talk about how to use online marketing, and how to better use some of the traditional methods like print.
You need to have an email list. Social media platforms are unstable. We’ve seen it just recently (again) when users couldn’t view images on Facebook and Instagram. You don’t want to rely on these platforms fully, even though they are very useful. Email is the third most influential source of information for biz to biz audiences. Colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders are the only two factors that are more influential.
Some quick stats:
86 percent of business professionals prefer email when communicating for business reasons.
Click through rates are 47 percent higher for business to business (B2B) email campaigns than business to consumer (B2C) email campaigns.
59 percent of B2B marketers cite email as their most effective channel for revenue generation.
56 percent of brands using an emoji in the email subject line had a higher open rate (according to an Experian report)
Tuesday is the best weekday to send emails according to 10 email marketing studies.
Clearly, email is essential for your business. If you don’t have an email list, start growing one today.
People prefer video to photos, it’s been proven time and again. About half our audience prefers digital catalogs because they like to download them on mobile and easily view them. The other half buy bulls in March because they need private treaty details ready by then and/or they have a private treaty catalog on their website to view videos.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly. 80 percent of website views are mobile. You need good video, which means muscle definition shots for cattle and showing how they walk. These videos should be 30 seconds without repeat, allowing the audience to view the bull.
Catalogs are not going out of style anytime soon. You should have an online strategy, but printed catalogs are also a must. We see a lot of catalogs being returned because of a wrong address. Here’s our tip: Send out a cheap postcard months in advance with a save the date, our sale is coming up and this is what we offer. When you get the “return to sender” pile, you can slim down your list and eliminate wasting catalogs.
You need a website, but more specifically you need a functional, user friendly website. The biggest problem we see with production sale websites is dysfunction. The videos or pictures aren’t there, or the links don’t send us to the right place. Either way, if the website isn’t easy to use, a consumer will move on to something easier.
Targeting the right audience is crucial on Facebook. Often when anti-agriculture comments are posted on production sale ads, it means the right people weren’t targeted. You can monitor your ads and specify who you want to see them through Facebook ads. You aren’t locked into an ad, either. If you let an ad run for 48 hours and it isn’t producing the results you want, you can just turn it off and try a different ad.
Use action language in your ads. You want viewers to comment, share, and message. Tell the viewer what you offer and what you want them to do (like, share, click on the link, etc.)
When you post videos on Facebook, upload the actual video rather than dropping a link.
If you missed it, make sure to check out our blog on the most common production sale mistakes.
Avoid These 3 Common Production Sale Marketing Mistakes
Do you ever feel lost trying to reach your audience? Whether you do private treaty or have a production sale, we have some insider tips on how to resolve mistakes we see in production sale marketing.
Not only do we have a team of creatives working at KRose who make catalogs and do videography, we also buy more than 30 thousand feeder calves each year. This field is where we got started, and it remains a major focus of our business. Everytime we see these mistakes, we wish we could swoop in and tell them where they’re going wrong. We’re glad you found this article so you don’t make the same errors.
Three Mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Sending traffic away from your own website
Google is smart. When another business is hosting your catalog and videos, you are sending them away and losing valuable traffic. You want people on your site for a long time, but if you aren’t hosting your own videos and catalog, you are losing that option.
It’s OK to have your catalog in multiple places, but your own site should be the primary spot.
YouTube is often our first thought when we think about video. But please, don’t host on YouTube or someone else’s website. YouTube will recommend your competitor’s videos after they’ve finished watching yours.
What to do instead:
We have a private account to control what videos are seen afterward. You can track which videos are being viewed the most and least. Plus, you can retarget everyone who came to a specific bull page when selling semen.
2. Relying on print ads and word of mouth
Word of mouth has it’s merit, but it’s not enough. Print will always be important, but it’s also not enough. It’s hard to break from “what we’ve always done.” However, times have changed, and it’s time to change your strategy. Although word of mouth and print are great methods, we have so many more options in this technology generation.
There is a lot of clutter in the marketplace. During the spring, there are often multiple bull sales on one day. We hear this all the time: “I forgot that sale was today.” Don’t let customers say this about your sale just because they didn’t read the daily paper.
What to do instead:
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket because you WILL miss out on a larger potential audience. You can track traffic with online ads, particularly Facebook ads. We want you to utilize all sources you can, and find your ideal customer on Facebook. Which leads us to our next common mistake…
3. Not utilizing digital marketing
Facebook is the world’s third most-visited website and Facebook messenger is the top mobile app. Almost 70 percent of Americans use Facebook and nearly the same amount use it daily. There are 80 million small and medium sized business pages, and nearly 80 percent of American consumers have discovered retail products they purchase through Facebook advertising.
When it comes to marketing on Facebook, the most important thing we can stress is do not ever hit the “Boost Post” button. It’s tempting, we know. Through boosting a post, you are only going to reach more people. You’ll reach more people, but not the people you want to reach. When you design an ad through Facebook Ads, you can target your demographic, age, gender, and location. Another great thing is you can pay for action. Rather than a lump sum, you are paying a specific amount for an action, like clicking a link and landing on your website.
There’s a lot more to be said about common production sale marketing mistakes, so check out our upcoming blog on utilizing digital marketing to its fullest potential.