MU introduces Quality Beef by the Numbers program
By Doug Rich
The University of Missouri introduced its Quality Beef by the Numbers program at a meeting in Columbia, Mo., on Aug. 30. Partnering with MU in this endeavor are Accelerated Genetics, Cooperative Resources International, Select Sires, Irsik & Doll Feedyards, Pratt Feeders Inc., and Certified Angus Beef.
Mike Kasten, a cattleman from Millersville, Mo., was named the QB program director. Kasten uses timed artificial insemination, high accuracy bulls and stacked genetics in his operation to produce a very high percentage of prime carcasses. Kasten has been keeping Total Performance Records on his Angus herd for well over 30 years and using that data to make breeding decisions.
The QB mission statement states that it wants "to improve the profitability of beef cow-calf operations by facilitating the adoption of applied reproductive and genetic technologies that will add value to beef cattle produced and marketed in the U.S and contribute to improvement in beef quality to satisfy increasing domestic and global demand for high-quality beef."
"When it comes to quality grade we need to be at the level that consumers demand," Kasten said.
Dave Patterson, MU Extension livestock specialist, said there is a lot of proven technology out there for beef producers. The QB program encourages beef producers to use this technology, such as time-AI and genetic selection, to improve their herds and to produce quality beef. Scott Brown, MU Extension Economist, said the sale of high quality beef is where growth has occurred for U.S. beef exports.
"We can't compete long term by producing a commodity product," Patterson said.
Robert Turbow, vice president of the Specialty Meat Group for Sysco, said growth in the restaurant business is primarily in the high quality beef sector. Turbow said his customers are facing a serious supply issue when it comes to high quality beef.
Jerry Taylor, MU professor of animal science, said they want to use genetics to move the mean of total beef production to increase the total amount of high quality beef produced.
The objectives of the QB program are to support the adoption of reproductive and genetic technologies that will add value to beef cattle produced and marketed in the U.S.; to provide access to marketing grids that reward producers of high-quality cattle and; to provide beef producers with access to a comprehensive data base that will support improvements in management and marketing of cattle from conception to harvest.
There is a $300 annual fee for farms and ranches participating in the program. This fee is due prior to the time cattle are shipped to participating feed yards. There also will be a per head fee to ensure data retrieval and it will be based on term of ownership. The QB program is designed primarily as a cattle producer retained ownership program
An important component of the QB program is the flow of information from the producer to the finisher, to the packer and back to the producer. Feeding performance and close out information can be very useful to producers when it is time to cull cows and select AI sires. The database will be maintained at the University of Missouri.
All cattle in the program must meet weaning, receiving and nutrition criteria established by the University of Missouri before the cattle are placed in participating feed yards.
Doug Rich can be reached by phone at 785-749-5304 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.