For more than 40 years the Gelbvieh breed has built a successful track record in the U.S. cattle industry for one reason: No other breed is as commercially focused as Gelbvieh. We've consistently been focused on satisfying the demands of not only commercial cow-calf producers, but also of the feed yard, packer and consumer. Second, we've produced cattle that are trouble-free, that enable commercial producers to raise more pounds per cow exposed with fewer inputs. The Gelbvieh cow is iconic in all aspects of productivity, and more importantly, profitability when compared to other breeds.
Gelbvieh has come to represent a reliable choice for heterosis – the lifeblood of every cow-calf operation. Through increased hybrid vigor from Gelbvieh and Balancer® genetics, our commercial customers have increased cow longevity, livability and overall performance as well added efficiency of production. The packer has gained by getting more carcass weight and retail yield. The consumer has received a tender and marbled product that results in a satisfying eating experience.
The cow-calf segment of the U.S. beef industry lost about 175,000 producers over the past 20 years, which equates to a loss of nearly 9,000 producers per year. Increasing costs, greater risk, and a nationwide push to increase grain production at the expense of the forage base will continue to make it difficult for producers who are not efficient in their production practices in order to remain profitable in the beef business.
With the decline in producers so has come the decline in the U.S. beef cow herd numbers. It has driven prices received in all segments of the beef industry to historic highs. This reduced cattle supply has greatly benefited most cow-calf operations that have their genetic and management practices in order. As well, it creates great opportunity for profitability in the cow-calf sector of our industry in the years to come, as herd rebuilding has just began in some areas where much needed moisture has returned.
Pioneers of our industry and of our breed have given producers the tools to take advantage of the unique opportunity that presents itself. Small supply with big demand means profit for most in any business. We have a tool box full of genetic evaluation and management tools to use to tailor a product that best suits the needs of our customers and ultimately, the consumer. The American Gelbvieh Association offers several ways to assist in marketing and promoting these products. Innovative pioneers take advantage of all.
The AGA's multi-breed EPDs, developed and first published in January 2013, continues the commitment that Gelbvieh breeders have to commercial customers. With the exception of calving ease and stayability, EPDs for all traits are directly comparable across Gelbvieh, Balancer®, Red Angus, Simmental and SimAngus®.
The fact that three of the six largest beef breed associations in the U.S. are sharing the same national cattle evaluation is a great asset for the beef business, especially for commercial producers. It simplifies genetic selection across breeds and sends a clear message that Gelbvieh breeders are committed to doing what is best for commercial producers. It makes the process of evaluating genetic merit between breeds easier. The multi-breed evaluation also provides more robust EPDs because of the combined data of millions of additional animals. The collaboration of these breed associations creates the largest multi-breed genetic evaluation in the world.
The opportunities that lie on the horizon are only as good as our preparation to capitalize on them. That is why the Gelbvieh breed will never waiver in doing what is needed for the best interest of the commercial producer and beef industry as a whole. As Yogi Berra once said, "The future ain't what it used to be."