$ST: Simplified Selection For Beef On Dairy Calves

Establishing value of Beef on Dairy calves in the beef supply chain

The dairy industry is creating more Beef on Dairy cross calves than ever before because Beef on Dairy calves consistently outperform Holstein bull calves. However, profitability differences exist between progeny from various beef bulls despite the best beef genetics being used on dairy females today. As the industry works to solidify the Beef on Dairy calf’s place and value in the marketplace, it has become painstakingly apparent that not all black hided calves have the same terminal merit. In a discount-driven Establishing value of Beef on Dairy calves in the beef supply chain market, Beef on Dairy programs need to create a consistent, value-added product to maintain long-term profitability which has not yet been accomplished by simply selecting the most elite beef sires. Instead, producers can now utilize $ST, a profitability index for terminal Beef on Dairy calves developed directly from Beef on Dairy progeny to more accurately identify which elite beef sires truly optimize profitability in dairy crossbreeding strategies.

What is $ST? 

$ST is a terminal feeder profit index expressed in dollars per head used to rank beef sires for dairy crossbreeding. $ST utilizes genomic breeding values for growth, Feed Conversion Efficiency, and carcass traits from STgenetics® comprehensive Beef on Dairy progeny testing program to represent the expected dollar-perhead difference in profit potential of Beef on Dairy calves from 400 lbs to finish.

Why is $ST divided into $STsteer and $STheifer? 

The beef industry understands that profitability differences exist between steers and heifers in terminal beef systems. While Beef on Dairy calves have improved efficiency over the alternative Holstein steer calf, sizeable profitability differences still exist between steers and heifers. Such differences stem from steers being larger in mature size than heifers, which gives them a greater lean growth potential and subsequent carcass weight and Feed Conversion advantages. While heifers do maintain greater fatness and subsequently have a slight quality grade advantage over steers, they have a greater cost of gain resulting from inferior Feed Conversion Efficiency. These tradeoffs have long been accounted for in calf and feeder markets with heifers being discounted compared to steers. STgenetics® Beef on Dairy progeny data indicates that the profitability spread between steer and heifer progeny is not the same for every sire which is based largely on the sire’s potential to increase carcass weight and marbling. Accordingly, $ST is published on every Beef Add On™ bull for both steers and heifers.

What sets $ST apart?

To improve the accuracy of genomic predictions and establish an internal breeding program to identify elite beef genetics for dairy crossbreeding, STgenetics® created an extensive progeny testing program. Through the collection of accurate phenotypes linked with each animal’s DNA profile, this progeny testing program enables STgenetics® to provide reliable genomic estimates for key economic traits such as growth, Feed Conversion Efficiency, and carcass value. $ST simplifies selection by combining the traits that are most impactful for terminal profitability to precisely rank sires based on their ability to create profitable Beef on Dairy calves. By utilizing $ST, producers can more accurately identify within the most elite beef genetics, which sires will excel in Beef on Dairy strategies.

Although these Angus bulls all rank within the top 2% of the Angus breed for terminal beef indexes, Bull C’s $STsteer of $285 indicates that on average, steer progeny of Bull C would have a $132 ($285 - $153) per head profit advantage across the feeding period compared to steer progeny of Bull A. $ST enables producers to more accurately identify, within the most elite beef genetics, the best sires to maximize profitability in their Beef on Dairy strategies.