We pulled aside Gary Wall of ORIgen to ask him a few questions on the trends in genetics for angus cattle and where he thinks the trends might move toward coming up. Big thank you to Gary because he is so knowledgable on the topic and we love bringing you guys perspectives from highly respected industry personnel! Check it out!
KRC: As far as genetics, what is the trend you’ve seen in the angus industry?
GW: The trend is still low birth weight, acceptable performance, balance trait, more moderate framed cattle, and I see more people backing off of growth. Another big one is reliable docility, that one will not go away. It used to be that calving ease was king and it seems that docility has surpassed that. Calving ease is still important but I believe that docility is becoming a trait people are after more so now.
Feed efficiency is a buzzword but efficiency can be used in different ways, for example, cow efficiency and feedlot efficiency are two very different things. Moderate framed cattle are now thought to be the most efficient but it’s kind of a perception on what size frame is most efficient.
KRC: How do you help people decide what bull to breed to?
GW: My first priority is to explain the story behind the story of various bulls and then I am able to get a feel for what type they may be looking for. I don’t try and tell them what they should do, I let them tell me what they are looking for and then I try to guide them to one or two bulls that I think will best suit their needs.
KRC: Do you recommend seeing the bulls in person prior to choosing to breed?
GW: If you can, always go look at them. Of course all bull studs do an impressive sire catalog and some times the bulls are not as impressive as their are in their pictures or vice versa. Some can be a lot better in person that just didn’t photograph well. We are pretty blessed because in Billings, MT you are able to see a lot of big name bulls.
KRC: How do you think calf prices are going to effect sale season?
GW: There are two sides to that. The seedstock marketing with the big time elite bulls and females are going to still bring in a lot of money but unfortunately, there’s not a lot of middle ground right now like there used to be. I think there will be some great buying opportunities for the buyer because of that middle ground having slipped into the lower tier.
KRC: Do you think there is going to be a trend that is going to come in the next few years toward a certain EPD?
GW: I think we are just on the verge of seeing it with $C. Strength and balance is what people are wanting. Cattle that are complete and practical that may not be homerun hitters in two or three traits but very good in a lot of others.
KRC: What do you think the MT Angus Tour does for the angus breed?
GW: I think it’s a very good showcase for different sire groups. Most times you can’t go see 20 different sires and the tour gives the opportunity to get a snapshot of different bulls that you’ve heard about but haven’t been able to see him or his progeny and then be able to access the strengths and possible weaknesses he may have when being applied to your operation.