The inherent advantages of using Limousin cattle in a crossbreeding program have never been more important than during a time of record-low cow numbers and declining beef production. With beef cow numbers below 30 million head and total cattle numbers less than 90 million head for the first time since the 1950s, feed efficiency, muscle and maternal ability remain critical to efficient beef production. The advantage of using Limousin in a crossbreeding program to capture the benefits of heterosis has never been more important.
The Lim-Flex® segment of our breed has many traits that add value for commercial cow-calf producers utilizing a rotational crossbreeding program. Traits of economic importance, including the combination of muscling, maternal superiority and the ability to marble sufficiently, make a very marketable product in today’s cattle business.
As many of you are aware, Japan has opened their export market to include cattle up to 30 months of age versus the 20-month age limit the United States was limited to the past several years. This will make many yearling-age slaughter cattle eligible for export to Japan, which will further boost export demand. Japan typically seeks cattle that are the upper end of the USDA grading system. Feeder cattle produced out of Lim-Flex sires and many of our purebreds will work well in these programs.
An exciting prospect for our purebred and fullblood cattle will be the usage of the Limousin Profiler that provides breeders the ability to have increased accuracy on traits of economic importance. It’s no secret these cattle excel in terms of muscling and superior cutability. The additional advantage of feed efficient, moderate-sized cows that excel in longevity will have increased value given the importance of these traits. These traits will be key components for producers to remain profitable over the next decade. Over time, the usage of the profiler will identify cattle with the genetic potential to marble in combination with the direct dollar impact traits that coincide with increased muscling. These individuals will have increased value almost overnight.
Flexible marketing options will remain in place for Limousin cattle. Given the continuation and popularity of branded beef programs in the U.S. marketing system, our diversity within the breed is an advantage we can capitalize on. Our higher percentage cattle will have homes within markets like Laura’s Lean that want a leaner type of product that excel in terms of muscling. Yet, it is exciting to see how many of our cattle now fit higher grading programs that are hitting mainstream markets. Credit this to our producers reacting to market signals sent directly down the production chain and adapting to provide the industry with cattle that are in demand.
With a growing world population that will require a doubling in food production levels by the year 2050, not all advancements will be made solely with technology. Continued improvements in genetics will remain critical to feeding the growing population. This fact translates to a great opportunity for seedstock producers over the next several years. Those that utilize the tools available to them when making mating decisions, while concentrating on continued improvement in the corresponding production traits, will have a bright future.
Remember to have your customers utilize the services available at NALF to help them market their cattle. They can contact Joe Epperly or myself at the office here in Denver to take advantage of our commercial marketing programs. They can also contact us for assistance in marketing their feeder cattle to producers looking for the traits Limousin cattle excel in.
NALF also has new promotional materials available for use at events or seminars throughout the country. To inquire about these materials, contact Brooke Bennett at the NALF office. The NALF staff is also happy to welcome Kaye Weaber on board as our director of activities. Many of you are familiar with Kaye and we are excited to have her experience and enthusiasm on our staff.
By the time you read this, the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress (NJLSC) and regional shows will be fast approaching. The North American Limousin Junior Association (NALJA) continues to grow, along with participation at the annual events held throughout the summer. Having been involved with Limousin breed the last couple of years, it is apparent the breed possesses some of the finest and brightest juniors in the cattle business. If you haven’t made plans to attend, please do so. The future of our breed will be gathered at this event and they need your support.
Have a great summer and remember to utilize the services offered by your staff at NALF.