Angus VNR: Genetic Demand Starts With Consumers

Great-tasting beef makes for good times and a desire to buy more of the best to celebrate with family and friends.

“That starts with us breeding the cattle that will increase marbling and increase the carcass qualities of those cattle so the consumer has customer satisfaction,” says Art Butler of Spring Cove Ranch in Bliss, Idaho.

The genetics of a bull and cow heavily influence marbling in their calves, and marbling is an easy trait for cattlemen to include.

“It's something that you can add to these cattle no matter what size and what your goals are as far as productivity, or if you want to maximize yearling growth or whatever. You can add marbling for, I mean it's a free addition basically. So, and if you want to keep the cows moderate, you can still add the marbling and have something that's satisfactory in the end and targets the brand,” Art says.

Seedstock producers keep quality in their breeding decisions to help increase profit for commercial ranchers and feeders.

“We wanted to create a bull that would create calves that would create a consistent higher market for our commercial customers. Because in the competitive bull market, our customers need to make money. The best way to do that would be to produce genetics that were going to please the ultimate customer, which is the consumer,” Stacy Butler says. “The premium that is paid by the consumer at the end needs to trickle down to the cow calf man that is actually producing that calf.”

To make that happen, the Butlers work to build relationships between their bull customers and feedyard operators.

“We have been able to instigate or encourage or begin communication between the different segments of the industry through the years. I had a newsletter that I sent out for years trying to connect the high-marbling feeder calves to the feeders who were feeding them. We've done seminars, we have done meetings here in the yard trying to connect those two groups of people. We actually feel like we're able to get some premiums back to our customers,” Stacy says.

The growing global demand for premium beef is a good sign there will be profits down the road for cattlemen who target quality.

“I think a lot of people are thinking that maybe we're going to saturate this market with high quality cattle, but I think the demand is only growing and worldwide I think a small part of this world eats the premium product like we do and the others are finding how tasty and how satisfactory it is. They're going to want that as well,” Art says.