American Aberdeen Advantage Breed’s Suite of Traits Appeals to all Production Schemes BY THE LEDGER STAFF T he popularity of American Aberdeen genetics in com mercial, purebred and breed up production schemes is ing density since adding American Aberdeen genetics to his cow herd. Duff’s half-blood American Aberdeen cattle have reduced his dry matter consumption by at least 25 percent. American Aberdeen cattle to their operation, the couple and their ranch

manager/daughter, Lynn Watkins, have been able to consistently pro duce more beef on fewer acres. “The way we are heading, we are going to be more efficient and pro duce more pounds per acre,” Lynn says. “We can run 1.5 animals on the traditional stock per acre, and we can do it quicker.” The Watkins family credits part of their success to the introduction of the American Aberdeen Association’s Moderator ® program. The program was instituted to designate percent age American Aberdeen cattle of high genetic quality as Moderators. The purpose of these animals is to moderate a commercial herd in the first generation while improving beef quality. “Whatever works in your part of the country, Moderator cattle can be bred to fit your environment,” Larry says. “The added value you get is built-in calving ease from the maternal and paternal side, along with the ability to reduce your mature cow size to some thing that fits your program.” American Aberdeen’s ability to moderate frame size is the driving force behind the Esser family’s deci sion to continue raising this breed of cattle on their Bloomington, Wis., operation. “We wanted a breed that we could expand with on our small acreage, and American Aberdeens fit the bill,” Shea Esser explains. “Their docility, easy fleshing ability, functionality, stocking rates and beef quality were what really made us consider the breed.” Over the course of the last 15 years, the Essers’ program has made great strides and evolved from the hobby it started as, incorporating a

increasing as commercial producers are seeing the benefits American Ab erdeen can provide, including predict ability and quality; docility and longev ity; calving ease and efficiency. The cattle are good natured, feed efficient and maintain themselves on grass. They are ideal show animals for bringing in the next generation of cattlemen and women. Their input costs are less and they exhibit excel lent texture, taste and tenderness beef characteristics. This is no secret to American Aberdeen breeders who have known this for years. But the trend is finally catching on with breeders across the country. Fewer Inputs, Maximum Efficiency Neil Effertz’ ties to the American Aberdeen breed can be traced back to 1996 when he brought the first Ab erdeen female to the United States. American Aberdeen cattle thrive on smaller amounts of feed because of their efficient conversion of grass to meat, so the use of American Aber deen cattle on his Bismarck, N.D., ranch has reduced much of Effertz’ labor, feed and management costs. “The No. 1 variable cost in Amer ica’s beef cattle industry is mainte nance and feed,” Effertz says. “These are incredibly low input cost cattle that take a lot of the expense out of beef cattle production.” Since switching to the lower maintenance American Aberdeen and implementing a better rotational graz ing management system, Effertz has doubled his stocking rate. Longtime Hobart, Okla., cattleman Kirk Duff has also improved his stock

With cattle in three states – Colo rado, Wyoming and Oklahoma – Ft. Lupton, Colo., producer Brian Walters encounters a considerable variation in environments, so having more optimum cattle that will perform on less feed and minerals in drought prone areas has been beneficial for his operation. “We have seen a considerable difference in stocking rates with the use of the more moderate Aberdeen genetics,” Walters says. Previously, it could take Walters as much as 35 acres per cow-calf unit, but with the use of American Aber deens, he has seen that number drop as low as 23-28 acres per cow-calf unit. “The savings in seven acres may not seem like a lot, but for every four cows, we can now add a fifth cow,” Walters explains. The breed’s efficiency is what got Colorado cattleman Shane Goss, who ranches near Calhan, Colo., interested in adding the cattle to his operation. “After learning about the benefits that Aberdeen cattle could have on my herd, it led me to start thinking about adding the feed efficiency and moderate size of these cattle to our bigger cattle in order to cut feed input costs,” Goss says. “By adding Aber deen genetics to my cattle, I could establish a cow herd that could func tion on fewer acres per year per pair, which would allow me to produce more beef on fewer acres.” Like Goss, Groesbeck, Texas, ranchers Larry and Kim Watkins of Flying J&L Ranch were also attracted to the breed’s efficiency. Since adding


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