Saying “yes” to a marketing opportunity can pay. Since 2017, the Millers have brought home premiums for selling finished cattle on the grid.
“We sent a couple of loads that had the quality breeding in them—went, we thought, extremely well: 77% Prime, 95% CAB on the first couple of loads that season. Things from there just went well that year, roughly 300 animals and over 70% were Prime. 2018 didn’t have quite as many animals, I think we had 230 head, but went 82% Prime and 99% CAB,” says Bill Miller.
Of course, C-A-B is the Certified Angus Beef brand, which includes Prime at a higher premium level… The route to 99 percent C-A-B started with a focus on quality, genomic testing and data on crossbreds. The comparisons still favor Angus.
“We have been working on some data on some cross breeds. A little in the Charolais and Red Angus side to extend the frame and get a larger carcass to see if we can keep the quality grade on key with that and make carcasses bigger. It seems like the stronger Angus side of it is still paying. Our straight Angus calves are showing at least twice as many Primes, two to three times the Prime, then what we get with the CAB premium. That’s what is helping pay,” Miller says.
Even in northeast Missouri, summers are hot and hard in the feedyard. So, the family went to find a solution.
“A couple of years ago we decided we wanted to add some spaces put it under roof, it seemed to be the thing to do. We wanted to try it on temperature in the summertime. That seems to be a big benefit–when cattle stay cool, they perform well, they convert, feeding efficiency has excelled and they are doing well,” he says. “What we calculate is the average daily gain feed efficiency will take care of most of the payment on the facility, so it is working.”
The benefits extend to cattle wellbeing and their greater comfort comes back to steady performance on feed year-round.
“That is part of the reason for building the building keep hard footing under these animals can’t miss many days all goes back to feed efficiency and if we lose a few days it takes a while to catch backup so that is part of the wintertime aspect of the barn and also to keep things moving forward,” Miller says.