In the beef industry, Angus genetics have been the equivalent to Holsteins in the dairy world. When crossed, they can fetch a nice premium for dairy producers who plan on selling calves.
This has been the case at D & D Dairy in Rushford, Minn., where co-owner Dean Smith has been utilizing Angus semen on approximately 40 percent of his cows.
Because of sexed semen technology, Smith has been able to breed the top half of his virgin heifers to produce new heifer calves, but he didn’t see the need in breeding everything to Holstein sires with sexed semen.
“With today’s feed cost, you probably have $1,900 cost in some of these heifers. You don’t really need them all,” says Smith.
Because of the influx of top genetics coming into the herd, Smith could then focus on the calves at the bottom half. Cows with mastitis problems, high somatic cell counts, poor feet or reproduction problems are then bred to Angus bulls to produce calves that are more valued at the auction barn.
The half-Angus calves have been getting a $50 premium over their dairy counterparts.
He relates that calves at just a few days old were bringing $300 per head when sold directly to beef producers, and at $4 per straw for Angus semen that’s not a bad investment.