Gelbvieh genetics meeting commercial demands
At just two months into the bull sale season, the demand is high for Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls, reports the American Gelbvieh Association. Sales held in the past few weeks were better than expected considering the tough winter, the reduced cow herd numbers and the still recovering economy.
Cedar Top Ranch, Stapleton, Neb., and Johnson Gelbvieh, Tilden, Neb., reported an average of $3,497 on 155 Balancer, Angus and Red Angus bulls for their annual production sale held Feb. 16, with a high percentage of new buyers.
In the 2010 Red Bluff Bull Sale held Jan. 30 in Red Bluff, Calif., 20 Balancer bulls averaged $2,953, which was the highest average of all the breeds represented in the sale. The seven Gelbvieh bulls sold for an average of $2,314.
The 20th annual Taubenheim Gelbvieh production sale held in Amherst, Neb. in early February saw a higher bull sale average when compared to last year. The 88 Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls averaged $3,010 in the 2010 sale.
"About 60 percent of the bulls we sold this year were Balancers. The genetic combination of the Gelbvieh-Angus cross to make Balancers is one of the best composite breeds in the industry," commented Jeannette Taubenheim. However she was quick to point out that for producers with mostly a British-based cow herd, using a purebred Gelbvieh bull will give the calves the most hybrid vigor.
The North Dakota Golden Rule sale also averaged above the previous year's sale, at $2,996, despite rescheduling the sale due to winter weather. The sale was sponsored by the North Dakota Gelbvieh Association and was held in Mandan, N.D., at the end of January. The bulls were purchased by both purebred breeders and commercial cattlemen from North Dakota and surrounding states. The heifer consignments were also highly sought after as buyers were looking to add fertility, milk, longevity and moderate cow size to their cow herds.
"There is an increasing demand for Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls in North Dakota with sales averaging equal to or better than last year across the board," said Dennis Gustin, Diamond D Gelbvieh, Mandan, N.D., whose February 18 production sale averaged $2,791 on 60 bulls.
A similar case can be made for sales in the southeast.
Seedstock Plus, LLC., a member cooperative full-service seedstock provider, held their first Tennessee Bull and Female Sale in February in Columbia, Tenn. John Burbank, Seedstock Plus, LLC CEO, was encouraged by the results. The 47 bulls averaged just shy of $2,300.
"With a new sale we weren't sure what to expect, but the demand for Gelbvieh in the southeast is growing and there was a solid market for red bulls," Burbank said. "We are continuing to see increased interest in Gelbvieh and Balancer genetics. Some of that interest is coming from producers who in the past have used primarily British breeds and are now looking for bulls they can use for crossbreeding and to add pounds to their calves."
Still, producers are looking for quality--bulls that offer performance, calving ease and maternal traits--and Gelbvieh and Balancer seedstock breeders have worked to provide those quality genetics for commercial producers, commented Susan Knights Willmon, director of Breed Improvement for the American Gelbvieh Association. Data from the Meat Animal Research Center shows that Gelbvieh genetics add pounds, in higher weaning weights and percent retail yield, while maintaining excellent maternal performance.
"Bull buyers are embracing the concept of crossbreeding as the most economical means of adding value to their calves. Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls produce calves with added growth and feedlot performance, replacement heifers that make fertile, functional cows and genetics can be selected for calving ease and birth weights that fit any management environment," said Willmon. "Plus, the added value of hybrid vigor makes the purchase of Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls a smart decision for today's commercial cow-calf producer."