Functionality, and Heterosis
These three words represent the objectives and core values of the Rousey SimAngus breeding program. While each has a different meaning they all three are very cohesive in nature and blend themselves to produce real world, problem free, no-nonsense cattle that are productive and profitable through all sectors of the beef industry.
When thinking about practicality in terms of raising beef cattle we consider a balanced trait, no-nonsense approach that takes into consideration cow sense, cowboy logic, sound science, individual resources, and an understanding of cause and effect. It’s natural human behavior to continually want to raise the bar but more times than not it comes at the expense of something else. Genomics, EPD’s, Indexes, and Phenotypes, are all very valid and useful tools we have at our disposal and certainly tools we use here on the ranch. Unfortunately, problems arise when these tools are taken and pushed to extremes or used singularly rather than in a balanced approach that takes into consideration a ranch’s given resources and what is functional and profitable. Practicality and common sense will never get you into trouble.
Functionality as we define it and will outline below is an absolute must in our program and is honestly something I really feel the Seedstock industry has lost sight of while chasing EPD’s and Genomics. While some may label them as convenience traits I fully see the following as necessary traits: structural soundness including feet and legs, fleshing ability, appropriate mature cow size, sound teat and udder quality, and mothering ability. None of us have the extra time, money, and labor resources to deal with problem cattle. Cattle that require added feed to stay in adequate condition cost money. Cattle that require antibiotic treatments as a result of poor immunity caused by insufficient colostrum consumption due to big teats and poor udders cost money. Cattle with poor structure or bad feet don’t have longevity and cost money. During the spring calving blizzard, the cow that doesn’t get her calf up and moving costs money and the silly cow that won’t mother up and follow the calf sled to the barn costs time and money. I assure you Functionality will remain a top priority in our herd and we will continue to select and cull hard for these traits.
Heterosis is one of the easiest, lowest cost tools that a commercial cattle producer can utilize to improve the profitability of their operation. Countless bodies of research have documented the advantages of the composite female and include greater calf survivability, increased fertility and longevity, and more total pounds of calf weaned over the course of a cow’s lifetime. Simmental and Angus/Red Angus complement each other so perfectly and it’s no surprise that the SimAngus steer has become one of the most sought after animals in the feeding sector as well. Using SimAngus bulls on SimAngus cows is an easy way to manage and maintain an advantageous level of heterosis in a cowherd.