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Schuler-Olson Ranch wins Red Angus GridMaster Award


Butch and Darrell Schuler, Schuler-Olson Ranch of Bridgeport, Neb., earned the prestigious GridMaster Award at the National Red Angus Convention in Mahnomen, Minn., Sept. 16 to 19. The Red Angus Association of America presents the GridMaster Award to producers and feeders owning cattle that meet and exceed strict carcass quality specifications.

Schulers turned in the largest number of GridMaster head this year. Three different lots totaling 199 head harvested on the Angus America grid at the Cargill plant in Fort Morgan, Colo. The cattle averaged 60 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s and over 90 percent Choice and Prime. They fed the cattle in their own yard. Grid scores: 127.87, 126.59 and 100.09.

In order to achieve GridMaster status, Red Angus or Red Angus-influenced cattle enrolled in the Feeder Calf Certification Program must achieve a specified level of carcass excellence. Both conventional- and natural-fed cattle are eligible for GridMaster consideration.

"We used all four major packers this year," said Myron Edelman, director of value-added programs, regarding the diversity of environments and harvest facilities associated with the program. "We're excited for the growth of the program and the number of cattle reaching GridMaster status." This year, GridMaster winners fed over 1,000 head that met the program's criteria.

Four of the 17 load lots graded 100 percent Choice, four lots had zero Yield Grade 4s and 5s, and six lots harvested 50 percent or greater Yield Grade 1s and 2s. "That's an incredible accomplishment," said Edelman. "We don't see cattle grade like that very often."

Conventional-fed lots

Thirteen load lots of conventionally fed cattle achieved GridMaster status. They were harvested at the Cargill plant at Schuyler, Neb., on either the Angus America or Tyson grid; the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America grid; JBS plants at Grand Island, Neb., and Greeley, Colo., on the 70/70 or GeneNet grids; and National Beef plant at Liberal, Kan., on the U.S. Premium Beef grid.

The conventional-fed lots graded 93 percent Choice or better with only 4 percent averaging Yield Grade 4s.

Conventional-fed cattle must meet the following requirements:

--Minimum of 30-head lot size

--Minimum 80 percent Choice or higher

--Maximum 7.5 percent Yield Grade 4s and 5s

--Minimum Grid Score of 100

Natural-fed lots

Four load lots of natural cattle earned GridMaster awards. They were harvested at the Greater Omaha Packing Plant of Omaha, Neb., and Tyson's plant at Pasco, Wash. The natural cattle qualified on the Meyer Natural Angus and Painted Hills Natural grids.

The natural lots averaged 96 percent Choice or better with only 5.25 percent Yield Grade 4s.

To account for the different finishing characteristics of natural-fed cattle, they must meet the following criteria:

--Minimum of 30-head lot size

--Minimum 85 percent Choice or higher

--Maximum 15 percent Yield Grade 4s or 5s

--Minimum Grid Score of 100

The Grid Score on either conventional- or natural-fed cattle balances high percentages of Premium Products, Yield Grade 1s and 2s and USDA Choice-Grade cattle with minimal percentages of Yield Grade 4s.

or higher, maximum 15 percent Yield Grade 4 and minimum Grid Score of 100.

"These are the cream of the crop--the elite percentile--of Red Angus FCCP yellow-tagged cattle that set the standard in carcass quality," said Berry.

For more information about the Feeder Calf Certification Program, contact the RAAA office at 940-387-3502, Clint Berry, commercial marketing director, clint@redangus.org; Mikalena Randazzo, commercial marketing specialist, mikalena@redangus.org; or Myron Edelman, director of value-added programs, 307-351-6032, myron@redangus.org.

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