P U R E   G E N E T I C S   A N G U S

A Road Seldom Traveled...

The Pure Genetics Angus Strategy.


In an era when more seedstock producers are using the “Bull of the Month” or random matings with no goals other than numbers, and no resemblance of any structured breeding program, Pure Genetics Angus has taken a different approach.

Pure Genetics Angus purposely has sought out intensely line-bred individuals from breeding programs designed with a goal in mind and structured to make progress towards those goals. Than these animals are mated to related animals to continue the line-breeding program.

Only by line breeding and inbreeding can a breeder concentrate the “genes” responsible for superior growth, carcass, fertility, soundness and the will to live. A comparable analysis to this type of breeding program is to look at the seed corn industry or the poultry industry. Without line breeding or inbreeding, these industries would not have the uniformity and predictability along with the performance and efficiencies that they now have. This can and is being done in the Angus cattle industry.

If you want more uniformity and predictability in your calf crop, it will pay you great dividends to search out the handful of breeders that are applying this type of breeding discipline to their herd.

Breeding Goals

Birth Weight - 75 to 95 pound calves.
Mother nature has designed the Angus cow to have between 6 ½ to 8% of their body weight in live calf. That means a 1200# heifer should be able to have a calf weighing 78 to 96 # and a 1350# cow should be able to have a calf weighing 87 to 104#. The closer you come to maximizing the cows potential, the stronger and faster growing the calf is.

Pure Genetics Angus strives to produce heifers that weigh 1200# at calving and cows that weigh 1350 to 1400# at maturity.

If your cows and heifers can’t achieve the above averages, perhaps you have neglected keeping things in balance and have used too many so called “heifer bulls” in succession and have lost the ability to calve and have calves that will grow.

Weaning Weight - 550# to 800# calves at 205 days.
We want calves that can get out and grow. Experience has taught us that calves that start fast do the following.

  1. They don’t get sick.
  2. They are most efficient. The younger an animal is, the more efficient. i.e. gain put on at a younger age takes less feed.
  3. The faster they start, the faster they finish.
  4. The younger an animal is at harvest, the more favorable the eating experience.

Milk - Breed average plus or minus one standard deviation.
It is our feeling that the milk EPDs are highly over rated. To put on 1# of gain on a calf thru milk takes approximately 28# of dry matter fed to the mother. How efficient is that?

It would be great if we could measure butterfat production. It is my observation that the higher the butterfat the faster the calf starts and the higher the marbling potential at harvest.

Our goal is to produce high butterfat, moderate milk production cows that enhance rebreeding and fleshing ability and yet get their calves off to a flying start.

Yearling Weight - 1000 to 1350#
Simple - 3.5 ADG after weaning will give you a 1000 to 1350# calf at yearling if they weigh 550 to 800# at weaning.

Carcass Traits

Marbling (%IMF) - Average Choice Quality grade.
We believe that Average Choice at 12 to 15 month harvest age will provide a favorable eating experience.

Ribeye Area - 11 to 14 inches at 12 months of age.
Much larger than 14 sq inches, will result in steaks that are cut too thin to create a desirable eating experience.

Rib Fat and Rump Fat - .35 plus or minus one standard deviation.
Feed level can influence this, however if we ignore fat content, we will eventually be penalized at slaughter time.

% Retail Product - Great prediction of carcass profitability.
Caution - Many high retail product bulls are extremely small framed and can tend to be shallow and narrow to the point of being hard keepers or slow doing feedlot cattle. Pure Genetics Angus will not tolerate this, as most of our cattle are very fast growing, thick cattle that are 6 to 7 ¼ frame score.

Frame Size and Mature Weight

Lately I've been involved in numerous discussions on the ideal frame size and weight for cows. Most of the animal science people will tell you that 5 ½ to 6 ½ frame score cow that weighs 1050# to 1250# is ideal. I'm not real sure that I want to go and select cows by this method.

My thoughts are as follows - The most efficient animal is one that is totally balanced and comfortable within itself. This is the cow that I want walking in my pastures.

The Angus breed if allowed to breed within itself will produce cows as follows. 80% will be frame score 5 ½ to 7 ½ with mature cows weighing 1150# to 1500# with an additional 10% on either side of this. It is my observation that as we select for Angus cattle that exceed or go beyond these parameters, we tend to produce animals that are increasingly uncomfortable within themselves and at that point they start to eliminate themselves through:

  1. Shorter Life span
  2. Less calves produced in a lifetime - less cows bred in a lifetime.
  3. Reduced fertility - Not calving every year - Bull not staying fertile
  4. Chronic unsoundness
The Horned Hereford breed if allowed to breed within itself will produce cows as follows. 80% will be frame score 6 ½ to 8 ½ with cows weighing 1150# to 1700# with an additional 10% on either side of this, so you can see that there are distinct breed differences in frame size and body composition. If we try to make these two breeds the same, we will ultimately ruin and destroy one, while the other will survive and prosper.

My point is this - I'm not going to select for a specific frame score or weight. I'm going to try and produce a cow that is totally comfortable and balanced and by doing so, I'll have those that are the most reproductively efficient and long lived. After I get a large group of these cows, I'll measure and weigh them and at that point, maybe I can give more insight on the best frame size and ideal weight of an Angus cow. Until then, I'm going to continue to measure and record their differences and observe which ones get the job done year after year and produce calves that grow and measure the best.

Hopefully I can continue to raise females that are within their natural parameters and can continue to exert selection pressure on the following traits:
  1. Increased birth to weaning and to yearling growth.
  2. Improved feed efficiency on a high fiber diet preferably one that is void of any corn starch (Remember, these are cattle, not pigs!)
  3. Superior carcass
    • Yield grade 1 & 2 with 700 to 850# carcasses
    • Ribeye Area of 12 to 15 sq. inches (.85 to 1.1 sq in/100# body weight at 12 months of age.)
    • Choice or better Quality Grade
    • Achieve this with steers that are 15 months of age or younger at harvest and heifers that are 16 months of age or younger with no implants or antibiotics. Remember - The consumer would rather have a natural product - We can produce it - I think it's time!!

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This page was last updated May 1, 2006.