Beef Cattle Browsing – November 2020

Dr. Molly McAdams New Executive Vice President for Texas Beef Council
Dr. McAdams has been selected by the Texas Beef Council (TBC) as their new executive vice president. McAdams replaces Richard Wortham, who will retire at the end of this year after 30 years of leadership. McAdams will be responsible for providing vision and strategic planning, ensuring fiscal health, optimizing staff recruitment and development, overseeing programs, and serving as a staff liaison to several committees among other duties.

Dr. McAdams has in-depth knowledge of food and animal science, marketing and manufacturing that has aided small to mid-sized meat producers grow their businesses. Prior to that, she was with HEB for 13 years, starting out as the cooked meats business development manager, then moving on to the director of business management role before eventually becoming vice president of the company’s “Own Brand” and its corporate health and wellness officer. McAdams is a former member of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Board, as well as a former member, vice chair and committee chair for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Product Enhancement Committee.

Retail Beef Market Embraces Changes, New Meat Cuts
Chuck flap, rib-eye filet, tomahawk steak, Denver or Sierra cuts, flat irons and tri tips – the landscape of the local grocery meat case is changing when it comes to beef cuts, according to a Dr. Davey Griffin, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Meat Specialist. As the COVID-19 pandemic brought beef shortages, consumers may have noticed some different cuts of beef when their traditional selections were sold out. Some were even hesitant to purchase because they were unfamiliar with how to prepare them. The recent pandemic has spotlighted changing supermarket offerings, but these newer beef cuts have been available for some time and are starting to gain popularity with chefs and others across the nation due to their reasonable cost and flavorful eating experience.

The chuck, rib, loin, and round along with the brisket are some of the major primal cuts familiar to consumers. Separating a beef carcass yields about 33% trimmable fat and bone and another 20%-25% in trimmings for sausage, ground beef, and pizza toppings. The middle meats (loin and rib), where the higher-value steaks come from, account for only 10%-12% of the carcass but over one-third of the value of the whole carcass. “The rest of it is the other muscles, and those are the ones we are trying to utilize more – enhance the value because they are the lower-cost muscles that still provide an excellent quality beef cut for consumers,” Dr. Griffin said.

Over the past 10-15 years, the industry and Texas A&M started identifying those muscles that could be used to produce other affordable cuts. “Enhancing the value of cuts from the chuck and round not only helps consumers have a great moderately priced eating experience, it also increases the overall value of the carcass,” Dr. Griffin said. “That also has potential to add to the value of live cattle.”

“We know these cuts are changing to meet the changes of consumers,” Griffin said. “Over the years the size of families has grown smaller. They aren’t cooking a great big roast or porterhouse steak anymore.” The chuck is being broken down very differently, providing new cuts more targeted for different cooking and eating experiences, he said. “The second most tender muscle in the beef carcass comes from the chuck and is now being merchandised as a mid-priced flat iron steak,” Griffin said. “It was just in a chuck roast. Now it is pulled out, and it is a menu item at restaurants. It has enhanced the whole value of the carcass and provided the consumer an affordable eating experience.

The petite shoulder tender also has become overwhelmingly popular with chefs, and ranch steaks have a nutritional value close to a boneless, skinless chicken breast, he said. Other new cuts – ribeye filets, ribeye caps and sirloin caps – also provide some new opportunities for retailers and consumers. “There was a while in there that some of this was attempted and retailers couldn’t get much movement on some of the newer cuts,” Dr. Griffin said. “Now, with newer customers and those willing to try new things, they are starting to get movement, and customers are having good experiences and are willing to try them again.”

The full article can be accessed at

Supplementing Grazing Steers with DDGS
Bos taurus X Bos taurus-Bos indicus crossbred steers were grazed on Tifton-85 bermudagrass pastures in two successive years to evaluate effect of varying levels of supplementing with dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS).  In a research trial conducted at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, Dr. Jason Banta, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, and his colleagues used four treatment groups that had ad libitum access to a pasture-formula mineral-vitamin mix and were fed supplement daily in bunks at approximately 8 a. m. as follows:

  • No supplement.
  • 25% body weight daily.
  • 50% body weight daily.
  • 0% body weight daily.

Steers averaged approximately 15 months of age at start of study. Initial weights averaged 876 lb. the first year and 744 lb. the second. All received an anthelmintic (Cydectin Injectable), an anti-insecticidal ear tag (Gard Star), and a growth-promoting implant (Revalor-G). Steers were weighed and body condition score (BCS) was visually assessed every 21 days and supplement was adjusted to provide rates listed above. Grazing ceased in mid- to late-September resulting in grazing periods of 112 days in Year 1 and 110 days in Year 2.  All steers were then transported to a commercial feedyard and placed into several small pens on a typical high concentrate finishing ration. Feeding ceased when steers in a pen were visibly estimated to have reached external rib fat cover averaging 0.5 inch. All steers in a pen were then sent to a commercial slaughtering plant where carcass characteristics were measured. Results are shown in the following table:

Item / Treatment Group 0% 0.25% 0.5% 1.0%
Avg. amount of supplement offered lb.                    0.0 2.4 4.6 9.7
ADG, lb./d                                                            1.34c 1.96b 2.11b 2.42a
Gain per acre, lb.                                                344c 499b 545b 756a
Additional ADG from supplement, lb.*              0.0c 0.59b 0.75b 1.06a
Change in BCS -0.14c 0.31b 0.63a 0.83a

a, b, c, d Means within a row differ p<0.05

*Indicator of efficiency of supplement use. Lower value = higher efficiency

ADG increased as level of supplement increased. But efficiency of use of supplement was lower; efficiency was highest and cost per added pound of gain lowest for the 0.25% level of supplementation. Gain per acre was lowest with no supplement, intermediate with low to medium supplement, and greatest with highest supplement. Body condition decreased with no supplement and increased more with the two highest levels.

In the feedyard, steers were on feed for an average of 157 days to average of 1590 lb. final weight. ADG declined as pasture level of supplement increased, being significantly higher for no supplement (3.96 lb./day) and no difference between 0.25 % (3.61 lb./day) and 0.5% (3.54 lb./day); 1.0% level (3.23 lb./day) gained significantly lower. Carcass characteristics did not significantly differ, except for dressing percent and rib fat thickness (but without significant effects on USDA Yield Grade) where there were some differences but with no clear pattern across pasture supplement levels.

Implications and Applications
The authors concluded that, “Supplementation of beef stocker cattle with DDGS while grazing Tifton 85 bermudagrass may be a viable management strategy to enhance gain per animal and per land area”.

Editor’s Note: Restricted gain rate during an early period is often reversed in a later period. This phenomenon of “compensatory gain” was demonstrated here. The decision to supplement grazing stockers may depend on such things as cost of supplement, desire to stock grazed pastures at a higher rate, and whether ownership is retained through finishing.

(App. Anim. Sci. 36:308; Texas A&M Univ.)

Virtual Applied Reproductive Strategies Workshop Planned
Registration is open for the Virtual 2020 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop (ARSBC) that will be Nov. 4 and 5. The program targets commercial and seedstock producers, the artificial insemination (AI) and allied industries and veterinarians interested in using or improving implementation of reproductive management tools and associated genetic tools.

This year’s virtual program contains three segments utilizing a host of nationally recognized speakers.   The first segment focuses on cows and heifers and includes a presentation by Matt Perrier of Dalebanks Angus, Eureka, Kansas, who will discuss how reproductive technologies have changed the ranch.  Texas A&M’S Dr. Reinaldo Cooke will discuss nutritional management and Dr. Cliff Lamb will discuss using sexed semen in AI and ET programs.

On the second day, Dr. Tom Geary, USDA-ARS, Miles City, Montana, will share research on bull fertility: nutritional effects and new measures as part of the bull segment and A&M’s Dr. George Perry will discuss bull breeding soundness exams.  In the animal health and management segment, investigating conception failures and pregnancy loss in beef cowswill be discussed by Dr. Lee Jones, DVM, University of Georgia, who will help listeners optimize pregnancy rates.  The complete program schedule can be found on the newly updated website  Free continuing education credits for veterinarians will be available, see the website for details.

The two-day program will go from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 4 and Thursday Nov. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 5:15 to 8 p.m.  The program is free with prior registration. Register using these links:

November 4 – Cow & Heifer session –

November 5 – Bull session –

November 5 – Veterinary Continuing Education session –

There is no cost to attend, however registration is required.  Detailed information on the schedule, speakers, and continuing education credits for veterinarians is available at

BQA Tip for November
Dr. Jason Banta, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Overton

Do Not Mix Vaccines
When giving injections of vaccines, dewormers, vitamins, etc., it is important to never mix any products together unless they are specifically designed and labeled to be mixed. The only vaccines that should be mixed together are products that come in the same box and the label states they should be mixed together. In most cases the box will contain two bottles: one with a freeze-dried component and one with a liquid diluent. These products should be mixed according to label directions and used within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Mixing vaccines that are not designed mixed together can reduce the efficacy (immune response) of the vaccine.


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