PA Program Recognizes Data Reporting
The Performance Advocate (PA) program has been in place for a decade and is as strong as ever. The 2020 program will follow new guidelines but still focuses on top-notch data reporting to fuel ASA’s genetic evaluation. To learn about these exciting changes, see page 20. For the fall 2017 and spring 2018 calf crops, the program required whole herd records on the follow ing six traits: calving ease, birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, yearling hip height, and ultrasound. The maximum score for each of the six traits is 100, with the PA score calculated as the sum of the scores for each trait. The following programs were at the top of this year’s PA list. PA scores listed in this issue are for the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 calf crops.
Massey Farms & Circle M Cattle, Burlington, NC
Johnny and Jonathan Massey are a father and son who agree on raising quality cattle and putting them to the test through measuring performance traits to prove their quality. They are currently planning their eleventh annual performance tested SimAngus™ Solution Bull and Female Sale in Burlington, NC. They evaluate each calf for quality and disposition and cull any that don’t make the grade. The bulls are run on fescue pasture and supplements, with hay and a custom feed blend to help them utilize forage. This keeps the bulls in good condition and they won’t melt down when they are put to work, says Jonathan. The Masseys require every bull that is sold to pass a breeding soundness exam. The bulls are also tested to see if they are homozygous black and homozygous polled. This year will be the first year they have done genomic testing on all the bulls so they will have genomically-enhanced EPDs. The Massey’s took advantage of the Cow Herd DNA Roundup testing a total of 68 cows. Due to the extensive record keeping on six different traits, their farm has qualified as a Performance Advocate for five years. Jonathan says, “There are a lot of producers in the area that are going together and shipping trailer loads of cattle and they get paid more if their cattle grade well. I want to be able to sell them a bull that will help their carcasses grade which will increase their profits.” The Masseys also are working toward their own future program which will specifically help their customers market their truckload lots.
Gard Beef Cattle, Lynn, IN
Gard Beef Cattle is a small cattle operation run by Dale and Amy Gard. They are progressive breeders of Simmental cattle, with an emphasis on calving ease, performance, phenotype, and disposition. Their goal is to produce cattle that are fault free with high carcass values. The Gard’s participate in Total Herd Enrollment program, and genomic testing is performed on all replacement heifers as well as sale bulls. Gard Beef has participated in the Ohio Beef Expo and The Right Kind Sale in Richmond, Indiana on the second Tuesday of April for the last several years, selling bulls and females.
Chattahoochee Ridge Cattle, Headland, AL
Chattahoochee Ridge Cattle Company in southeast Alabama merged in 2017 with Stephens Farms in Troy to produce performance tested SimAngus and Simmental cattle. They firmly believe ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’. With that guiding principle, they measure everything they feel is important to their commercial bull customers as well as information to help them be more profitable and competitive in the seedstock business. Not only does Chattahoochee Ridge measure birth, wean, and yearling weight measurements, but they DNA test every animal. Scores for disposition, hair, feet, frame size, and udder quality are taken on every animal. They also strive to gather ultrasound carcass measurements and feed efficiency data on every animal as well.
While performance is very important to the operation, profitability for their commercial bull customers as well as in their own herd is of utmost importance. Therefore, performance measurements and real-world practicality and phenotype are all considered. The cattle must fit the southeast Alabama environment, stay in good flesh, raise a calf with no creep feed, and breed back. We feel that this will translate into profitability for all our customers, Mobley explains. We are commercial cow-calf and stocker cattle producers as well, so we feel we have a great understanding of the kind of cattle we need to produce for our commercial customers. To achieve all these things, we employ extensive A.I. and ET programs coupled with a focus on forage management.
Classic Simmental Farm, Fairmont, WV
Classic Farms is owned by Chris and Kellee Brown and their children: Mollee, Tyler, and Carter. Established in 1993, Classic Farms was named after the 1987 AJSA National Classic in Springfield, MO, where Chris and Kellee met. They calve about 140 Simmentals and Simmental-influenced females each year, utilizing artificial insemination, embryo transplant, and herd bulls to focus on maternal traits, soundness, structure, and marketability. Their cattle remain outside through most weather conditions on their north-central West Virginia farm — therefore, these traits are essential. Classic Farms’ cattle are marketed at regional sales, through private treaty, and performance bull tests. On April 18, 2020, they will be having their first annual Classic Farms Spring Fever Sale in Waynesburg, PA, along with guest consignors.
The Simmental breed is not just the breed they own — the whole family has been involved in advocating for Simmentals. Not only did Chris and Kellee attend AJSA events throughout their childhoods, but all three of the Brown children have been very active AJSA members, too. Mollee was an AJSA Trustee for two terms, Tyler participated in many AJSA Regional and National Classics before aging out this year, and Carter still has several years left in the program. While owning her own business, Mollee helps in the marketing aspects of the farm. Tyler is the primary herdsman of the operation. And although school and athletics take some of his time, Carter works closely with the cattle and daily chores.
Angel Hill Angus Farm, Ward, SC
Angel Hill Angus Farm is located in the Midlands of South Carolina. Although it mainly consists of registered Angus cattle, a few years ago they decided to add a few head of Simmental cows to the mix. Artificial Insemination has been a standard breeding practice for many years as they strive to create quality animals that can serve as replacement heifers and herd bulls with superior genetics, not only for themselves but for their customers too.
Angel Hill serves as a consignor for Yon Family Farms also in South Carolina, where bulls go when weaned to be a part of their annual Spring and Fall Sales. The bulls and heifers are all genomic and parentage tested, as they believe the more data on the animal the better for the breeder and the buyer. Although small in quantity, Angel Hill aims for quality now and for the future.
Hicks Beef, Holbrook, Australia
Hicks Beef is located near Holbrook, Australia, and utilizes Simmental genetics in their Australian Beef Composite seedstock. Each year, they provide around 200 bulls to commercial producers, which are genetically and phenotypically set up to thrive in their environment. Andrew, Anne, Tom, and Kate Hicks team up to operate a detail-oriented management program, with data collection at the forefront. Six years ago, the Hicks team chose to become a part of ASA’s THE program and start utilizing genomic testing and data generated by the genetic evaluation. They have also taken full advantage of ASA’s indexes —especially $API. Each measurement they take is used to analyze the cow herd’s performance, and due to the environment their commercial customers live in, efficiency and hardiness are critical components.. Customer satisfaction is used to measure the success of the program, as well as the performance of their own cattle, and they have continued to see improvement with detailed data collection and genomic testing. Their sale is held annually in September.
Performance Advocate Scores