The beef animal that has a high yielding carcass will not work in the feed lot system for the prescribed time of 150 days without becoming a yield grade 4-5 or greater. The high yielding carcass animal has multiple characteristics for utilization of feed stuffs through digestive abilities that the average animal does not possess today; this animal also has natural fat deposits that are requirements for grass performance; however the feed lot industry discriminates against that fat. Today no breeder I know of selects for this body type or fat, there are no market for these cattle except in the grass feeding industry.

High muscle mass is a process of selection and breeding management for the heavy muscle mass body type. The selection process requires using animals with a highly developed gland-system (pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, kidneys, testis & ovaries). Through breeding for these well developed muscle mass animals, you develop genetic lines that possess the heavy muscle mass and the process continues if nutrition is available.

Genetic expression is a process of nutrition, nutritional quality especially milk quality from mother as a baby calf. Mother’s milk must be a minimum of 4% milk fat for early development. You cannot develop the bovine into a profitable utilizer of food products on a marginal diet at any age from birth to 18 months. As we know all life begins in the womb and the quality of the uterine nutrition sits the foundation for a healthy vibrant animal with muscle mass.

Volume of muscle mass for the grass producer makes the difference between making a profit and loosing money on individual animals or the entire herd. First we are grass producers and our animals are the harvesters; how efficient are your grass harvesters.

The industry standard carcass yield is 60%. The grass finisher cannot make a profit with this percent. The grass producer that has a muscle mass volume of 70% or greater will receive another $4-500.00 per head over the 60% yield depending the selling price. 1100# steer X .60% yield = 660# X $4.00 = $2,640. 1100# X .70% yield = 770# X $4.00 = $3,080, there is a $440 difference per animal carcass. The 70% yield is much cheaper to produce because of his ability to digest your grass he consumes above the narrow shouldered 60% yielding calve.

How to select for high volume of muscle mass and how to consistently reproduce those animals. I use Linear Measuring standards for the selection methods. Research shows the cow should be a minimum of 40% as wide in her rump as her hip height to be a functional and profitable cow. Research shows the bull must be a minimum of 44% as wide in his rump as the hip height to be a profitable animal.

The cows I use are in the 44-48% range of rump width to rump height ratio to accomplish the 70%+ carcass yield. The bulls are in the 46-50% rump width to rump height ratio to accomplish the 70%+ carcass yield. Each of these animals are in the 68-70% carcass range and some even higher. This body type of animal carries a quarter inch of natural back fat at a year of age. A quarter inch of back fat or more is essential for proper utilization of grass, production and health; plus the animal has stored energy for the growth when needed. These animals have a highly functional gland system.

I keep the 70% consistent carcass yield through a controlled breeding program that keeps quality of meat, milk and volume of muscle mass in the 70% range. My favorite breeding method is a full brother and sister matting from the best cow on the farm. This type of breeding concentrates her qualities plus the digestibility of the sire, and I maintain the selected traits to the level I have selected and managed for. The next best breeding management is a half brother and sister matting; the dams are the determining factors. The father daughter matting is a very consistent breeding plan. I avoid breeding a virgin female outside of the paternal line she was created from.

If I have a bull calf born and I know he will be used as freezer meat I scrotom band him as a baby. I push one testical up in the belly and push the other testis down in the scrotal sack and put the rubber band around the one I push down. This gives me the testosterone production I need for accelerated gain and extra carcass volume over the steer. He does develop a head, neck (extra meat) and acts somewhat like a bull, I do build back fat and the meat is wonderful. Castrations greatly disrupt the digestive system of the animal neutered male or female, it should be avoided when possible; castrations reduces the volume of muscle mass on all castrates.

With all the selection and management traits mentioned this above allows me to produce quality milk, meat and fat from grass that is as good as can be expected of us to produce. It is good for human food and medicine. With proper selection and management our food becomes our medicine, it is our responsibility as food producers.

If you wish to discuss this further, contact me.

Gearld Fry