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The Survey Says: Angus Genetics Provide Value Through Supply Chain

What do commercial cattlemen pay for bulls, and how does that correlate to calf value? Are commercial herds planning to rebuild? What incentivizes feedlots to buy — and to pay a premium — on a set of calves?

The short answers are $4,467, and it increases; yes; and everything from feed conversion to genetic merit. But the detailed answers are available by reading Industry Insights powered by Angus MediaSM and CattleFax.

The report is an executive summary of two industrywide surveys conducted to gauge industry sentiment toward Angus genetics and to gain insight into the future structure of the industry.
Clay Zwilling, Angus Media president, shared the results Nov. 5, during an Angus University session at the 2023 Angus Convention in Orlando, Fla.

“Ultimately, the goal is to prepare and meet the needs of Angus members as we go on into the future of the business,” said Zwilling, adding that this first effort provides benchmark data. Future iterations will identify trends.

CattleFax administered the surveys to ensure an industrywide sampling and to prevent any breed bias. The cow-calf portion was conducted as part of CattleFax’s 2023 Annual Cow-Calf Survey and found a majority of producers believe genetics have improved in the last decade for multiple traits, such as carcass, growth, calving ease, maternal traits, and structure and function.

CattleFax analysts conducted phone interviews to complete the extensive feedlot survey, where respondents represent 3.32 million head of cattle on feed. Almost 60% of those feedyard owners are 60 or older, indicating significant turnover in management in that sector in the coming years.

“As that demographic changes, we may see shifts in cattle procurement and what they place value on,” Zwilling says.

Some of the results aren’t surprising, Zwilling acknowledged, offering as example the preference for black Angus genetics at both the cow-calf and feedlot levels. Industry Insights data also gets at some intriguing details as to why.

A lot of times, we make assumptions based on our perceptions, he said. “It’s always good to back it up with research like this.”

Asked what role genetics play in purchasing decisions, 37% of feeders responded they pay attention to hide color, while 35% said breed composition, 11% noted sires and nearly 9% said they pay attention to genetic merit predictors.

“This is an opportunity to know and look for what our folks are interested in purchasing, and how we can grow that,” he said.

Zwilling shares more from the Industry Insights surveys and how cattlemen can use the results to inform their decisions in the Dec. 13 episode of Angus at Work, a podcast for profit-minded cattlemen. Produced by the Angus Beef Bulletin, the podcast features information on health, nutrition, genetics, management and marketing, and is available on most popular podcast platforms.

To view the full 52-page Industry Insights report, find the “Marketing Materials” tab at or pick up a copy at the Angus booth (#1835) at CattleCon24.

Watch for the Industry Insights logo in the Angus Journal®, Angus Beef Bulletin®, Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA and social platforms as the Angus team helps break down the data throughout the coming year.

– Written by Shauna Hermel, editor, Angus Beef Bulletin
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