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Author Topic: Am I seeing things or not?  (Read 7476 times)

Offline justintime

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Am I seeing things or not?
« on: May 28, 2011, 09:45:49 AM »
We just arrived home from a trip to Billings, MT, where we brought Touchdown home from Genex Hawkeye West. This was the third trip I have made in the past 3 weeks with the stock trailer on the truck. We have been delivering bulls and picking our herd bulls up from studs and we logged just short of 5000 miles and were in 8 states and 2 provinces. I'm down to 3 bulls left to deliver and they are going within 100 miles of home, so they will be short day trips.

On  our first trip to Southern Illinois, I told my wife Chris, that she would see mostly black cattle on the trip. We did see lots of black cattle in pastures, however, I was thinking that I did not see as many as I normally have seen. I thought it might just be my imagination. When we left here for Billings a couple days ago, I again mentioned this to Chris, that it will be wall to wall black cattle to Billings and back. By the time we had made a couple hundred miles, Chris said " I thought you said that all we would see was black cattle?"  I had noticed it as well, as we were seeing lots of red herds, some Hereford herds, and some Charolais herds, and even one herd that had obvious Shorthorn influence by the numbers of roans in the herd. By the time we got back to the Canadian border, I was a bit surprised by the numbers of non black cattle we had seen. ( Of course, we were only seeing a small fraction of the American cow herds on these trips, and they were all along some major highways).I have made this trip many times over the years, and I would say there has been a major shift to more non black cattle,  Chris said that she thought that over half the herds we saw were non black on the trip to Billings. I'm thinking she was high on her estimation,but I would guess the non black herds would have been in the 35-40 % range. Another observation was that I saw more Hereford herd bulls on this trip than on any trip through this part of Montana ever before. We also saw lots of Red Angus, polled Hereford, Gelbvieh, Charolais as well as quite a few Longhorn bulls ( obviously for use on heifers)

I know we have beat this color issue almost to death on SP previously, but I have been wondering about our observations since getting back home. If the black hide color is worth such a premium in the US marketplace, why are we seeing so many herds of non black cattle? Why did we see so many pastures with lots of non black herd sires? ( don't take me wrong, as we saw lots of black bulls on grass as well, but my point is that we saw what I estimate to be a huge increase in non black herd sires)  Maybe someone can answer another question that popped into my pea brain as we were driving, that being, do all cattle that qualify for the CAB program have to be solid black or would black baldys fit the program as well? I seem to think that they need to be solid black, but I am not 100% sure of this. Are some of larger ranchers in this business starting to look past the color barrier and if so, why would they do this if thre are such huge discounts on non  black cattle?

One more observation was that we had dinner at a high end steak establishment in Billings on Thursday evening, and they proudly proclaimed on their menu that they only served Certified Angus beef. I understand fully that some mistakes will happen, but the steak I was served was without any doubt the worst piece of fried shoe leather I have experienced in  a few decades. Seriously, I could have held the CAB program at ransom with it. Chris said her steak was fine but the one I had was far worse than ordinary. It was almost impossible to chew and if it had not been covered in steak spice, it would have had no flavour at all. I am not a person who complains about food placed in front of me, and I would normally suffer through a poor meal before I would make a scene, but I did comment on this steak. I told them that I felt that they should know that my steak was extremely poor quality and that I did not want them to cook me another one, nor did I want  a discount. When i got the bill they had not charged me for my meal.
I just thought I would toss out my observations and see if others are seeing similar things . All I know, is  that I have not seen as many non black cattle in the state of Montana in several decades.
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Offline knabe

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2011, 10:10:57 AM »
something labeled CAB is insufficient to guarantee hanging a carcass for more than 2-3 days or a higher degree of marbling than the minimum for CAB.  at those "higher" end steak houses, they have no idea how to change.  they serve the same stale iceberg lettuce salads with thousand island dressing, shredded carrots and kidney beans as they have for 50 years.  on the other hand, if they changed, they would lose clientele.  many patrons are simply incapable of trying something different.  they will refuse to eat a steak with a reduction sauce from wine, shallots and butter because they want A-1 and don't want to sin by drinking wine.  when those people are gone, there will be a transition in the restaurant business.  it's getting pretty close as most young people would never dream of ordering a steak the old way.  this is borne out by survey after survey and the closing of steak house after steak house in larger metro areas, but not in rural or semi rural areas.   the consistency of quality is much better if not excellent in the fast food hamburger business, which is why they have expanded far beyond the local hamburger joint, as they have a familiar predictable quality.

maybe the restaurants stopped buying higher quality meat and started buying CAB as a marketing tool and the quality went down?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 12:15:24 PM by knabe »
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Offline HiddenCreekCattle

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2011, 12:14:30 PM »
Well as for CAB, the animals have to grade average choice or better and have a 10-16in ribeye. Now for color we had a guy come in and talk in one of my classes about dairy cattle and genomics. Long story short in order to be CAB they have to be 50% angus and at least 51% black so they can have some white on them

Offline knabe

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 12:18:11 PM »
Well as for CAB, the animals have to grade average choice or better and have a 10-16in ribeye. Now for color we had a guy come in and talk in one of my classes about dairy cattle and genomics. Long story short in order to be CAB they have to be 50% angus and at least 51% black so they can have some white on them

grading choice is not traditionally higher end restaurant quality.  i guess it would be at the top end if it was grass fed and i've never had a grassfed steak that resembled choice, though they are out there, but are older carcasses, and need to be hung for a while.
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Offline TJ

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 02:27:42 PM »
Long story short in order to be CAB they have to be 50% angus and at least 51% black so they can have some white on them

It has to be 51% black, but I would guess that not all CAB is at least 50% Angus.   
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Offline knabe

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 02:30:12 PM »
Long story short in order to be CAB they have to be 50% angus and at least 51% black so they can have some white on them

It has to be 51% black, but I would guess that not all CAB is at least 50% Angus.   

it's dna verified, right?
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Offline TJ

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 02:44:10 PM »
i guess it would be at the top end if it was grass fed and i've never had a grassfed steak that resembled choice, though they are out there, but are older carcasses, and need to be hung for a while.

You are probably correct, as a whole lot of cattle will not grade on grass  a whole lot of grass finishers haven't learned the trade well enough to deliver a quality product.  However, I can tell you that all of the grass fed steak that I've ever seen either has graded USDA choice or it probably would've graded USDA Choice if it had been graded.  I've also heard that some grass fed beef is a bit "gamey" tasting and/or tough, but I have yet to encounter either.  I can tell you that by far the best steak that I have eaten in a long, long, long time, was grass fed steak.  I simply almost can't eat steak at a resturant anymore because as JIT said... "it's tasteless".  I've got a customer in Henderson, KY who can't say enough good things about the grass fed heart & liver that he's gotten from me.  He's eaten lots of it over the years & he claims that this is by far the best that he's ever had.  I can say with 100% certainty, the difference between quality beef & junk totally depends upon the genetics being used & what those genetics consume.  That will hold true whether you are talking about grain fed or grass fed.          
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Offline TJ

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 02:47:41 PM »
Long story short in order to be CAB they have to be 50% angus and at least 51% black so they can have some white on them

It has to be 51% black, but I would guess that not all CAB is at least 50% Angus.   

it's dna verified, right?

I didn't think so, but with DNA technology becoming more advanced & more common in recent years, I may be wrong.   
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Offline TJ

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 02:54:01 PM »
Color of the hide is only a personal perference thing.  It means absolutely nothing when it comes to measuring quality.  I raise Lowline Black Angus & crosses, but to say that black cattle are superior to everything else, is nothing more than a bunch of silly marketing hype.  JMHO.      
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 03:51:28 PM by TJ »
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Offline outlawcattlecompany

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 11:09:21 PM »
CAB is one of the biggest conspiracies today. When American consumers see the "CAB" brand plastered on something they are led to believe that piece of beef is Angus (not that it truly makes a difference), when in fact it maybe just a little Angus. A typical consumer ordering an Angus burger at mcdonalds is NOT going to know they aren't in fact getting an ANGUS burger. I am extremely disturbed by this corruption of the consumer. Knowingly marketing and promoting a product for profit that misleads consumers....sounds sketchy folks.

Offline TJR

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 06:30:23 AM »
In regards to quality of eating experience, the packing companies are encouraging cattle feeders to use the beta-agonists prior to slaughter.  This surely does not enhance the tenderness of the meat. 

Offline knabe

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2011, 10:20:42 AM »
In regards to quality of eating experience, the packing companies are encouraging cattle feeders to use the beta-agonists prior to slaughter.  This surely does not enhance the tenderness of the meat. 


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Offline TJR

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2011, 11:46:31 AM »
My comment on beta-agonist deals with (I believe) their effect on tenderness of beef.  The line that the manufacturers use is that beta-agonists do have a detectable, yet "not statistically significant" effect on tenderness and consumer acceptance.  Beta-agonists do have a great effect on lean meat yield.  It appears that Zilmax has a greater lean muscle response than Optaflex, and it also appears to have more (negative) effect on tenderness.  In the past, when fed cattle numbers were more plentiful, packers generally poo pooed these products, as well as more aggressive implant programs.  Today, they actively encourage their use in this part of the world. 

Offline itk

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 11:18:55 AM »
Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of non black cows showing up in pastures. For the most part they are Charolais and can be directly contributed to Finks getting in to the breed. Fifteen years ago you never saw a Charla's cow but as soon as Galen started breeding them everybody got a couple Charolais cows. I think the logic is if you are a step behind Galen you are still probally two steps ahead of everyone else. My little corner of Kansas is loaded with angus breeders: Finks, Lyons, Lafflin and Ohlde to name a few are all within 40 minutes of where I grew up. The success of these people might also be a bit of their down fall(trust me none of them are suffering though). As the area is so saturated with angus genetics commercial producers have ran out of places to diversify their gene pools and or going to other breeds to get the only free thing in the cattle business; heterosis. I'm sure this can be said about most of the country. I remember about six years ago that one of the goals for the Kansas Angus Association was to have 80% of the cattle in Kansas be black hided. I thought this was interesting because they said black hided and not angus. I don't know if they ever reached the goal.

As far as steaks go Galen Fink is again looking out for the good folks of NE Kansas. IMO he is the owner of 2 of the 3 top steak houses in the area. Though they are CAB establishments, it pains a shorthorn guy to say the steak at both of them is pretty good. I think Galen lends a little "cow sense" to the end product that is missing from so many steak houses.
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Offline nate53

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Re: Am I seeing things or not?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 10:42:12 PM »
To be CAB the hide has to be at least 51% black as previoulsy posted, however it doesn't have to be angus! :o  The fact is the whole program is based around the 51% black and certain quality and yield grades for each animal to meet.  So soon as a animal meets these color and grade requirements it is CAB no matter what it was before.  We have hauled a few trailers of holsteins out to U.S. Premium in Dodge CIty and a chunk went CAB, we've had longhorn cross calves that went CAB although they didn't have horns but they were white with black spots.  I think CAB started out with the idea of being strictly Angus based and more of a quality program that would bring more customers to the angus breed but it seems to have lost its way?

I will agree with the heterosis comment, it seems everybody has a breed of cattle they like and are just looking for another breed to compliment it with.

The answer to your ? Justintime, is yes you are seeing things! ;D
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 10:43:57 PM by nate53 »
My post are just my opinion.

 

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