Feeding Efficiency – Change in the Beef Industry
by Bob Strong
“If we take new information and adjust our methods of operation, we have changed.” This is not a direct quote from Henry Gardiner but it is exactly what Gardiner Angus Ranch, Ashland, Kansas has done. In a 17 year period prior to 1977, Gardiner Angus bulls on feed for 140 – 150 days on a feedyard #4 ration were gaining 2.7lb/day and consuming 7.48lb of feed per pound of gain. Since 1977 their bulls on test for 85 days have been gaining 5.5-5.8 pounds on 40 percent less feed on a feedyard #3 ration.
According to Henry Gardiner, the improvement in genetic tools since 1977 in selecting sires and females has led to this change. Out of their 1,000 registered cow herd Gardiner Angus Ranch (GAR) selects the top four to five percent of their heifers for replacements to end up with 50 females who produce 70 – 75 percent of their registered calves by embryo transfer. In this manner they bring 50 new heifers, after their first calf, into the embryo transfer program each year to amplify genetic improvements. All of the GAR registered cow herd is sold within five years because of their rapid change in genetics. They also have 1,000 commercial Angus females, including yearling heifers. Around 60 percent of those females will produce registered calves from the donor herd using embryo transfer.