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2016-17 National Hereford Feedout Results

The View From My Saddle

The results are back from the 2016-2017 National Hereford Feedout. The steers from our ranch and those of our bull customers did quite well in our opinion. This is our 24th year of retaining ownership on a set of home raised steers. We also pay the cost of obtaining the data and the trucking for any of our customers that want to participate. This past year we sent all of our steers (32 head) that were at least 50% Hereford. Fifteen of these were straight Herefords that we did not want to save as bulls.

Our steers were 75% choice with an average fat thickness of 0.56 inches. The average ribeye area was 13.3 sq. in. on 852 lb. carcasses. The average yield grade was 3.3 and the dressing percent was 63.2%. Three groups of steers tied for the top average daily gain at 3.8 lbs./day. Our steers were in that trio. We had the second best estimate of feed efficiency with a conversion rate of 4.95 to 1. We ended up with the third best net income per head at $481.57.

We are very happy with these numbers from a herd of 1,200 lb., low maintenance cows.

One of our customers uses our bulls on a set of small Angus, “cake and range” cows. He does not calve until April and sells his steers under an “all natural” program. This year he sent five head to the NHF that had been doctored and did not qualify for the natural program. These steers were the most efficient steers in the test. They were 100% choice with a yield grade of 3.2. Because of the younger age on these calves they were not finished in time to go with the first draft. The next draft of fats sold in a market that had dropped $20/CWT. These steers had a net income of $255.04 even with a $250/ head drop in the price.

Another customer sent steers that were from the first set of calves that they weaned. These were some odds and ends, but were the only ones weaned in time to go to the NHF. They were 2nd for fat thickness, 2nd for yield grade, 3rd for dressing % and 5th for feed efficiency. This customer also runs a smaller frame size cow.

I want to make a comment here about the American Hereford Association’s program to promote the purchase of calves sired by bulls with a CHB index of 28 or better. Three bulls sired all but two of our calves. They had CHB indexes of 23, 26 and 31. The bull with the index of 23 turned out to have the poorest sire group. The bull with the 31 index had numbers somewhat better, but the 26 indexing bull was by far the best sire of the three. This makes me think that we need far more real feedlot and carcass data going into these index calculations. Over the past 24 years our steers have consistently been at or very near the top of wherever we have tested them. We have always been above the yard averages by a noticeable margin. Still, we will only have two bulls for sale next year with a CHB index above 28. It just doesn’t seem right.

Enough of my rambling for this blog. Will catch you later.


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