Dykes Joins Brangus Team as Commercial Marketing Coordinator

Kyle Dykes_72

IBBA Commercial Marketing Coordinator Kyle Dykes

SAN ANTONIO, TX– Kyle Dykes joined the staff at the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. As the Commercial Marketing Coordinator, Dykes will oversee IBBA’s commercial marketing programs while engaging with members and Brangus producers across the country. Dykes will be integral in expanding the breed’s global market share, promoting Brangus genetics to the commercial sector, and ultimately increasing demand for Brangus cattle.

“I am very honored and excited to go to work for our members,” Dykes said. “I look forward to helping them meet their needs in the purebred cattle business, advancing and promoting the Brangus breed, and building relationships all over the world.”

A native of Killeen, Texas, Dykes grew up on a small farm raising commercial cattle. Agriculture has always been a passion of his, and he has been actively trying to help make a difference and be a part of the growth of agriculture in Texas. Previously, Dykes worked as the Natural Resources County Extension Agent for McLennan County. This allowed him the opportunity to work with some of the finest 4-H youth in Texas and help them get more involved in the 4-H program. In addition to 4-H activities, Kyle managed the Master Gardener program and worked with agricultural producers in McLennan County to help educate and provide assistance to better meet their production goals.

“Kyle has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and we are proud to have him as a member of the Brangus team,” said IBBA Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins. “He will engage with our members at sales and visit producers’ operations across the country to bridge the gap between the association and our members. Kyle will be essential in advancing IBBA programs, and I know he will be a great asset to the breed.”

Dykes received his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in 2013. He also received his certificate in Auctioneering from the Texas Auction Academy and has been licensed with the state of Texas since 2011. In 2013 Dykes won the Texas State Champion Rookie Auctioneer title and has gained experience in livestock, equipment and estate sales and is an active member of the Texas Auctioneers Association.

Due to his travel requirements and necessary visibility, Dykes will continue to reside in College Station, Texas, and will work as a remote staff member. Dykes can be contacted directly by email at kdykes@int-brangus.org or on his cell at 254-371-9388. For more information about Brangus cattle and the IBBA, visit www.GoBrangus.com.

Ranchers weigh options on replacement heifers amid historic high prices

COLLEGE STATION – When it comes to replacement heifers in beef cattle operations, producers are faced with a dilemma: Raise them, buy them or sell them and “take the money and run,” said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

It’s becoming an all too familiar situation among Texas ranchers, said Stan Bevers, an AgriLife Extension economist at Vernon who recently presented a study at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.

“We looked at what the market is right now for replacement heifers,” he said. “We were targeting heavy bred heifers, and they were anywhere from $1,650 to $2,300 a head. The second number was what it was costing the rancher to raise them themselves.

When it comes to replacement heifers in beef cattle operations, producers are faced with a dilemma: Raise them, buy them or sell them and “take the money and run.”

“One operation we tracked were heifers weaned in 2010 and 2011, what those heifers were and what their accumulated expenses were over the two years to the point where they were heavy bred. Their expenses totaled $1,100 to $1,400 a head. That ranch was pretty efficient and did a good job of reducing their expenses.”

Bevers said since this ranch was located in Oklahoma, one would need to add $300-$400 a head to that for Texas ranchers and regional market prices to develop replacement heifers.

“That comes out to $1,400 to $1,800 to develop replacement heifers in Texas,” Bevers said.

He said if you look at the current market price, it shows it’s cheaper to “raise them yourself if you are a pretty efficient, cost-reducing type operator.”

“The final number we looked at is if I have to pay much over market cost for them or if I choose to raise a heifer on my own, what is she going to return me over her life?” he said. “We started with a two-year-old heifer that’s going to be having her first calf and added eight years to that. That means we’ve gone out 10 years into the future, so now she is 10 years old,and we came up with what I can pay for her, which was $2,301 a head.”

Bevers said that leaves three numbers to consider.

“We know the market is $1,650 to $2,300, and it takes $1,400 to $1,500 to raise her, and now she is worth $2,300 in my herd economically.

“What do you do with those numbers? Well, if nothing else, it illustrates how complex this decision is right now,” he said. “It’s not right or wrong. It’s based on what type of operation you have and your costs. You finally have to decide to pull the trigger and say this is what we are going to have to do.”

Bevers threw in a fourth number – what feedlots are paying for commercial heifers destined for the beef market. Right now, it’s about $1.93 to $2.03 a pound, he said.

“You are talking about a heifer in the 750-pound range that’s worth $1,500 on the market and that’s for beef,” he said. “So, if you don’t keep her as a replacement heifer, you now have a floor price of about $1,500 a head. If you don’t want to take her and put her back in your operation, the feedlot is going to take her for $1,500 and turn her into beef later down the road.”

Bates Represents Brangus on Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance

Jason Bates, Director of Field Services and Commercial Marketing

Jason Bates, Director of Field Services and Commercial Marketing

SAN ANTONIO, TX- Jason Bates representing the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) was elected first vice president of the Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance (TPCA). The TPCA was organized to form an alliance of all purebred breeders and purebred associations to promote and protect the seedstock cattle industry in the State of Texas and to improve production techniques and the conditions of persons engaged in the purebred cattle industry.

“I look forward to working with this progressive group,” said Bates, IBBA’s Director of Field Services and Commercial Marketing. “As a representative of purebred breeders, I welcome your feedback and ideas on how we can advance purebred beef cattle.”

The TPCA promotes marketing ideas, international and domestic trade, and encourages better communication among the purebred cattle breeders and their associations. The TPCA works closely with the Texas Animal Health Commission, the Texas Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture and their representatives on animal health issues and marketing seedstock cattle. The TPCA also cooperates with the Texas Beef Council, United States Beef Breeds Council and the American Dairy Council in efforts to improve the purebred cattle industry.

The 2014-2015 TPCA officers include: President Radale Tiner, American Angus Association; First Vice President Jason Bates, International Brangus Breeders Association; Second Vice President John Ford, Santa Gertrudis Breeders International; and Secretary/Treasurer Collin Osbourn, Beefmaster Breeders United.

Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance Officers

Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance Officers (L to R):
President Radale Tiner, First Vice President Jason Bates, Second Vice President John Ford, and Secretary/Treasurer Collin Osbourn

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.


“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.