more rigorous breeding program that includes Moderator and fullblood American Aberdeen females. Like the Essers, the breed’s frame size and efficiency appealed to Cody, Neb., rancher Jerry Adamson and his son, Todd. “Our cows were too big and they weren’t paying their way on this grass,” Todd says. “We couldn’t ex pect a 1,400-pound cow to eat grass and wean 50 percent of her body weight. “We knew we had to get back to the smaller-framed cow, bred to a crossbred bull of some sort,” he adds. “We needed to get back to that efficiency to best sell our grass.” Initially, the Adamsons crossed fullblood Aberdeen bulls with their first-calf heifers, a win-win for calving ease and delivering a smaller-framed cow. The best heifers were kept as replacements, and the process con tinued as they worked to cycle the cow herd. Eventually, they switched to half-blood Aberdeen-Angus bulls to keep the resulting calves from getting too small to fit their end goal. “Our intent from the get-go was to create a more efficient herd that would fit into the commercial indus try,” Todd says. “The [Aberdeen-influ enced] cattle are easier fleshing and, in general, they will wean a higher percentage of their body weight than the average cow.” Sound Reproduction, Elite Mothers While more beef per acre is a prior ity for many producers, the longev ity and reproductive success of the American Aberdeen breed is another attractive quality. The Watkinses are no exception. “We are really trying to produce for the commercial cattlemen, so we need animals that can consistently re produce, year after year,” Larry says. “As beef producers, we see the dol lars in each cow. She has to produce a sizeable calf each year to pay for the amount of pasture and feed she consumes.” Due to the smaller size of an American Aberdeen newborn calf, assistance is not generally required at calving. American Aberdeen cows are also known for being excellent mothers, a trait that appeals to many breeders, including Effertz and Goss. Effertz calves all his first-calf heif ers on open range and notes his death loss and calving problems have

significantly decreased since raising American Aberdeen cattle. “A 78-year-old friend tried my Aberdeen bulls on 140 heifers. He called me later and told me this is the first year he will wean 100 percent of his first-calf heifer crop,” Effertz says. The cattle’s docility and vigor has also re

duced the labor required to handle Effertz’ herd. “It’s taken so much work out of the cattle business for us,” he says. Upon adding American Aberdeen genetics to his herd, Goss soon learned there were numerous reasons why breeding American Aberdeen to other cattle breeds could add value to the beef cattle industry. “True low birth weights,” he says. “You can’t argue this point when we can consistently crank out 40-pound fullblood calves. I can put a percent age bull on a set of commercial first-calf heifers and can sleep at night during calving season.” Like Goss, Duff is also enjoy ing increased calving ease since he started breeding all of his Angus and Red Angus females to Aberdeen bulls. Most of his calves fall within a 60- to 70-pound birth weight. Quality Cattle, Quality Beef Producers who add the breed’s ge netics to their herds also experience success in the feedyard. American Aberdeen cattle are praised for their excellent taste, texture and tender ness characteristics and exceptional ribeye area per hundred pounds of body weight, which translate to high yielding, high-quality, high-value beef carcasses. “Your calves can go from weaning to stockers to feedyards to packers. Moderator cattle can be tailor-made for grass-fed beef operations, short fed programs or totally forage-based operations. They will work in any situation,” Larry says. “Moderators will have more meat and muscle; they will be better at converting grass or feed to red meat than other breeds of cattle. You can have more calves to sell on a set number of acres with few inputs.” Walters has also noticed a dif ference in the end product. When his Aberdeen-cross cattle were fed

through the feedlot and sold on the grid, he noticed improvements in feed efficiency and pounds of gain. “The Aberdeen cattle outperformed our larger cattle in consistency of Quality Grade and the amount of primal produced per pounds fed,” Walters says. Duff has found that his Ameri can Aberdeen calves have added marketability over other low birth weight breed options as replacement females or as feeder cattle because they will grow, finish and grade well. “The other thing I’m seeing as we feed out Aberdeens is they are finish ing with fewer days on feed because they reach a mature finishing point more quickly,” Duff says. Profitable Alternative These breeders all agree, regard less of production scheme or opera tion size, American Aberdeen cattle offer a profitable alternative to cattle producers across the country. “With the changing needs of the agriculture industry, we believe that cattle producers must start thinking outside the box in order to produce quality cattle, be competitive and turn a profit,” Larry says. “The way the industry is headed, we have to be more efficient, and that is what our breeding program is proving can be done with the American Aberdeens and Moderators.” “We’ve never been prejudiced to ward any one breed,” Jerry says. “We think a lot of breeds are good, but we are definitely of the opinion and it is well documented that with [cross breeding], whether it be cattle or hogs or flowers or vegetables, nobody can argue with hybrid vigor.” Goss shares the same sentiments. “I firmly believe that Aberdeen cattle can fill a void in the commercial cow herd of America.” TL

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