Southeast Brangus to Host Annual Field Day

By Kayla M. Wilkins, Agricultural Communications, Texas Tech University

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RSVP by Tuesday, August 19, to any of the following:
Include the number of people attending and the day(s) attending
Brittni Drennan: by email or 210-696-8231
John Milam: by email or 870-310-0781
Sharron McCreary: by email or 251-230-0276

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS–The Southeast Brangus Breeders Association (SBBA) will be hosting a field day at the Draggin’ M Ranch in El Dorado, Ark., Aug. 22-23, 2014. All SBBA and International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) members are encouraged to attend.

The event will kick off Friday, Aug. 22, with a social and dinner. Evon Crooks, president of the SBBA, said this will be the ideal opportunity for Brangus breeders to meet and exchange ideas on cattle programs.

“This is an opportunity to learn about other genetics that are available,” Crooks said. “It’s also an opportunity to network with other breeders, and an opportunity to look at other facilities. I would say those are the three primary things an attendee would get out of attending the field day.”

The Saturday program will give breeders the opportunity to listen to speakers discuss how to utilize EPDs more effectively, breeding programs, sire selection, and nutrition.

“Nutrition is one of the big issues that is always on the breeder’s mind,” Crooks said. “How can they get more pounds for the same amount of feed…because that is what it’s all about.”

In conjunction with educational material, the participants will have the opportunity to tour the Draggin’ M Ranch and evaluate seedstock, particularly sires.

“We’ll have calves by sire groups, so they will be able to see what those bulls can do,” said John Milam, owner of the Draggin’ M Ranch.

Milam and Crooks both agree this event will be beneficial for breeders to gain a social network and exchange management techniques to improve Brangus genetics as a whole.

Milam said he was looking forward to having the field day at his ranch. The Milams began utilizing Brangus genetics in 2004 and have since grown to 440 registered Brangus cows and 900 total cows in his commercial operation. Milam said he utilizes artificial insemination and embryo transplant to help him raise the best stock he can.

“I always strive to improve on techniques, management on any endeavor that I ever involve myself in,” Milam said.

The IBBA, located in San Antonio, Texas, strives to increase the demand for Brangus cattle domestically and internationally. It was founded as the American Brangus Breeders in 1949 and has since evolved into the IBBA. The purpose of the IBBA is to enable members to serve the commercial cattle industry. For more information, visit www.gobrangus.com.

West Coast Brangus Hosts Field Day in California

 

 

 

Provided by Pam Doiron, President of the West Coast Brangus Breeders Association

WCBBA Field Day Group_72On a beautiful spring day in Northern California, the West Coast Brangus Breeders Association (WCBBA) hosted their Spring 2014 Field Day May 3, 2014, at the University of California at Chico’s 800-acre Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center.

Jason Bates, IBBA’s Director of Field Services and Commercial Marketing, represented the association and introduced the expansion of IBBA programs. Of particular interest were reporting of genetic conditions. He also introduced the expansion of programs to increase premiums on commercial calves along with registered cattle. Everyone received samples of new ads, brochures, and pamphlets that are part of the newest promotional campaign. His participation and the support of IBBA was very much appreciated.

Dr. Patrick Doyle led the group through the Beef Unit, introducing his students who explained the various cattle research studies. Of particular interest was the study on feed efficiency using the Gro-Safe feed tracking system. WCBBA members peppered the students with questions — probably a great prep for finals! The group moved from the feed bunks to the computer analysis station where every aspect of the cattle and their feed could be viewed and analyzed.

The Meats Laboratory put the members to the test as Dr. Doyle had prepared two carcasses for evaluation. He led a lively — and cold in the freezer — discussion on yield and grade in light of the changing tastes and preferences of the American consumer. Dr. Doyle’s background in beef performance programs, animal breeding and genetics, and EPD development brought a broad appreciation for the “pasture to plate” concept as the group performed tenderness tests on meat samples.

Photographer Wes Schultz, the official photographer for WCBBA and volunteer photographer for CalFire, gave the luncheon presentation on ranch photography. He emphasized the need to use an easy point-and-shoot camera that you can carry in your pocket to capture special moments or to take “beauty shots” of bulls for sale. Not everyone has a professional photographer who can come to the ranch to take those spectacular pasture photos, and with a little planning the rancher can take some pretty good shots anyway. He recommends: take lots of shots and choose the best one, read the manual and make sure your camera is set for optimum use, turn off the flash and use the highest resolution possible.

Dr. Paul Mennick, owner of Pacific International Genetics, Los Molinos, CA entertained the group with stories about his work around the world. Dr. Mennick not only treats cattle, but horses and other large animals, as a specialist in reproduction and embryo transfer. He led an extensive discussion on the value and practicality of sexed semen in the nation’s cattle herd in anticipation of eventual herd expansion. Members appreciated his recommendations on maintaining fertility in the herd while enduring this extensive drought. Special attention to mineral supplementation topped his list of must-haves at a time when both the quantity and quality of feed is compromised.

With “sustainability” as the new buzzword, a group of WCBBA members continued the meeting at the 50-acre Sierra Nevada Brewery which sends its spent brewer’s grains to feed the CSU Chico cattle, and in turn, serves the CSU Chico beef in its restaurant. Virtually everything at the brewery is recycled or reused including the C02 from the brewing process and the cooking oil from the kitchen. It is a model of sustainability as the 90-minute tour demonstrated. By using solar energy, only 21% of the total power must be bought from outside. Sierra Nevada is a model for sustainability ideas from composting and biodiesel from its own facility, to tending its Estate Garden for kitchen herbs and landscape plants. All of that beef talk made everyone hungry, and the meeting concluded with — what else? Dinner!

 

For more information about the West Coast Association, visit the WCBBA website.

May “Brangus Babies” Photo Contest

 

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos to the May 2014 Brangus photo contest. With the theme of the contest being “Brangus Babies”, the winning photo was titled Draggin’ M ET Babies taken by Sara Green and submitted by Grady Green.

Congratulations to Sara Green

Draggin' M ET Babies by Sara Green

 

Check out the Honorable Mentions

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Brangus: The Breed Without Borders

By Brittni Drennan, IBBA Communications Coordinator

Dustin V_72Sit down for a minute and have a talk with an enthusiastic Dustin Valusek, and you will get excited about the future of the Brangus breed. Valusek has an energy that exudes from his undeniable passion for Brangus, and it is extremely contagious. Having worked in Brazil for several years, Valusek is seeing tremendous potential and is noticing an increase in the demand for Brangus genetics among Brazilian cattle operations.

“There is no other breed that has more opportunity than Brangus,” Valusek said. “Angus cannot thrive in most of the other places in the world, and there is only one breed that combines environmental adaptability and carcass quality, and that’s Brangus. Brangus can go out, walk, cover ground and breed cows in that kind of environment. Brangus is more versatile in that way.”

Valusek’s experience with Brangus stems from an early start growing up on the family farm in Rosharon near the Gulf Coast of Texas outside of Houston. He showed Brangus and Red Brangus cattle, sheep and pigs and competed in livestock judging through 4-H. He gained more hands on experience fitting cattle for Brangus breeders and travelling to stockshows evaluating and preparing cattle for showing. After graduating from high school, Valusek was recruited to judge livestock at Blinn Junior College in Bryan, Texas, where he won several honors including the All-American Junior Livestock Judging Team award. Brant Poe, Lecturer and Livestock Judging Team Coordinator at Texas A&M University, was Valusek’s judging coach at Blinn College and can attest to Valusek’s vivacious personality and determination.

DSC_0306_72

“He has always been a go-getter, and he has never met a stranger. He is a very resilient person with one of the best attitudes of anyone I’ve ever been around,” Poe said. “I tell him I wish I was half as fearless as he is. He’s never had any boundaries for what he could do.”

Valusek then attended Texas A&M University to judge livestock, and after an exciting, successful judging career there, Valusek graduated in December 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Just before graduating, Valusek took six months to study abroad at the University of São Paulo in Brazil where he worked on a nutritional research project at a feedlot. While studying in Brazil, he was forced to learn Portuguese while taking classes related to beef cattle, dairy cattle and the industry in Brazil where the professors only spoke Portuguese. With the help of friends and classmates, Valusek quickly caught on and was able to succeed and do well in his classes. Little did he know at the time, this chance is what would eventually lead Valusek to the opportunity of a lifetime.

Meirelles Brangus cowboys after tattoing calves

Meirelles Brangus cowboys after tattoing calves

Valusek said he knew the National Brangus Show was going on in Camp Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, and he wanted to attend. He stopped to ask someone directions to find the show, and as fate would have it, the man he asked for directions was Marcos Meirelles, owner of Meirelles Brangus. Now three years later, Valusek just completed his tenure at the ranch where he was in charge of overseeing the genetic selection and breeding decisions for the commercial and registered operation in Presidente Prudente, São Paulo. In some of the roughest cattle country in the world, Valusek can attest to the durability, endurance and quality of the cattle.

“That area is very wet during the rainy season, and the terrain is very rugged and rough. We have mosquitos, ticks, and insects are a major problem,” Valusek said. “The water is very salty, so the cattle have to drink from water pumped from the ground into a trough instead of from the natural water sources.”

In a hot, humid, tropical climate, Valusek said Brangus bulls are useful as clean up bulls after AI procedures due to the breed’s ability to adapt to the heat and humidity, resist parasites and diseases and travel well across the country. When making selections, cattlemen select for prepuce and sheath because of the rough terrain, and they select slick haired cattle to accommodate for the heat. Good skeleton and structural correctness is also critical when selecting cattle for Brazilian operations.

“We produced what Brazilians call ‘Brangus Tropical’, which is a 5/8 Brahman and 3/8 Angus cross,” Valusek said. “Environment dictates the percentage used in these areas.”

AI and In Vitro techniques are widely used amongst operations in South America. Valusek reported a 50 percent pregnancy rate last year on all fresh (not frozen) implanted, fertilized embryos after implanting 600 cows in which all implants were Brangus genetics. At Meirelles Brangus, approximately 15,000 straws of semen are collected per year and sent to the commercial operation to incorporate Brangus genetics on Nelor cattle. All the genetics at the operation trace back to the early 2000s when Meirelles was in partnership with Camp Cooley, so all the genetics produced at Meirelles Brangus originated from U.S. lines.

Brazilian operations market their cattle primarily through video, TV and digital sales. Without the availability of auctions or sale barns, producers have to market cattle themselves using different techniques. Cattlemen frequently make purchases by private treaty and buy in bulk. South Americans heavily rely on strong relationships with their suppliers, which is why Valusek encourages U.S. producers to get acquainted with the owners and their operations when marketing their product internationally.

Marcos Borges, Marcos Meirelles, Dr. Fernando Lamarca, Me in Argentina_72

“U.S. Brangus breeders need to take an interest and go visit operations in Brazil. How do you know what their needs are if you have not seen it?” You have to take a genuine interest in their operations and goals,” Valusek said. “The International Show in Houston and the Brangus Global Roundup are two opportunities in which U.S. breeders can take advantage to meet international producers, build relationships and get to know the breeders.

With the demand for Brangus genetics growing outside domestic borders, Valusek sees a tremendous opportunity for the Brangus breed and challenges U.S. breeders to step up to the plate.

Sundance daughter in the donor program at Meirelles Brangus_72

A Sundance daughter in the donor program at Meirelles Brangus.

“Brangus, we all know, combines environmental adaptability without sacrificing carcass quality,” Valusek said. “In Brazil, with the cowherd almost all Nelor cattle, they widely use Brangus as clean up bulls because they can thrive in that environment. The cross between Bos taurus and Bos indicus cattle brings out added benefits like heterosis and hybrid vigor.”

Valusek realizes the potential that lies before Brangus producers, and said it is just waiting for us to take hold and jump on this opportunity to expand the market and provide producers with what they need – functional cattle that thrive in the roughest environments to produce a quality product profiting commercial cattlemen in order to feed the world.