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Breed trends in beef calf lots marketed through video auctions from 1995 through 2018

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      Our overall objective was to characterize potential changes in breed composition of lots of beef calves marketed through video auctions. Specific objectives of the study were to (1) assess trends in percentage of lots marketed with Brahman influence nationally and regionally within the United States and (2) characterize trends in percentage of beef calf lots sired by a single breed.

      Materials and Methods

      Data were available on 93,081 lots marketed through 189 summer video auctions from 1995 to 2018. The Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to determine presence of an increasing or decreasing trend, with P ≤ 0.05 considered significant.

      Results and Discussion

      Nationally, the percentage of Brahman-influenced lots decreased (P < 0.0001). The percentage of lots with Brahman influence decreased (P < 0.0001) in the West Coast, Rocky Mountain/North Central, South Central, and Texas regions. No change occurred in percentage of lots with Brahman influence in Coastal or Subcoastal regions. There was a decrease over time (P < 0.0001) in percentage of lots sired by Angus bulls; an increase (P < 0.01) in Brangus-, Charolais-, Red Angus-, and SimAngus-sired lots; and no change in Hereford-sired lots.

      Implications and Applications

      Nationally, percentage of Brahman-influenced lots decreased, but it remained static in regions with a relatively hot and humid climate. Market signals from packers may influence decisions, and commercial beef producers should appropriately consider environment, buyer demands, and available resources when making breed composition and trait selection decisions.

      Key words

      INTRODUCTION

      The first Brahman cattle in the United States were imported from India to South Carolina in 1849 (
      • Lasley J.F.
      Beef Cattle Production.
      ; ). The American Brahman was developed to tolerate subtropical environments (
      • Minish G.L.
      • Fox D.G.
      Beef Production and Management.
      ), and an estimated 40% of all United States beef cows are in the southern region of the United States (
      • Cundiff L.V.
      • Thallman R.M.
      • Kuehn L.A.
      Impact of Bos indicus genetics on the global beef industry.
      ;
      • Spangler M.L.
      Utilizing Brahman germplasm in crossbreeding systems.
      ). Brahman crossbred cattle improved beef production in the southern region because of their natural heat tolerance and insect resistance (
      • Lasley J.F.
      Beef Cattle Production.
      ; ;
      • Cundiff L.V.
      • Thallman R.M.
      • Kuehn L.A.
      Impact of Bos indicus genetics on the global beef industry.
      ;
      • Spangler M.L.
      Utilizing Brahman germplasm in crossbreeding systems.
      ).
      The Hereford breed was the predominant British breed used in the late 1800s through early 1970s (). Hereford cattle were used because of their hardiness, their efficient grazing, and the distinct color marking of the calves, which indicated evidence of cattle improvement and uniformity (
      • Grundy J.E.
      The Hereford bull: His contribution to New World and domestic beef supplies..
      ). By the mid 1970s, however, the number of registered Angus cattle in the United States surpassed registered Hereford cattle ().
      Exotic breeds of cattle were imported from Europe to the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s (
      • Minish G.L.
      • Fox D.G.
      Beef Production and Management.
      ). These breeds were generally larger framed, heavier muscled, and produced higher cutability carcasses (
      • Minish G.L.
      • Fox D.G.
      Beef Production and Management.
      ). Exotic breeds were crossed with existing British cattle in attempt to produce high quality, lean carcasses; exotic crossbred cattle topped the market in 1984 (
      • Evans K.
      A Historic Angus Journey—The American Angus Association 1883–2000.
      ). As the beef industry evolved, more emphasis was placed on carcass traits and the US cowherd shifted to a predominantly British-breed, black-hided herd (
      • Rutherford B.
      US beef herd is mostly black but changing slightly.
      ).
      The opportunity to evaluate potential changes in the influence of the Brahman breed on beef calves was available through sale lots of beef calves marketed via a video auction service. Specific objectives were (1) to assess potential trends in percentage of lots marketed with Brahman influence nationally and regionally within the United States and (2) to characterize trends in percentage of beef calf lots sired by a single breed. As a potential explanation for the changes in the influence of the Brahman breed nationally and regionally, trends of English, English crossed, and English–Continental crossed lots were also evaluated. Additionally, sale price differences among breed categories were evaluated as possible explanation for changes in breed composition.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS

      Data Collection

      Approval for this research by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee was not needed given the nature of the records and data used for analyses.
      Information describing factors about lots of beef calves marketed through a livestock video auction service (Superior Livestock Auction, Fort Worth, TX) was obtained from the auction service in an electronic format. Data obtained included descriptions of the lots of calves provided by the seller and a representative of the livestock auction service. These data were collected for sale lots of beef calves marketed during summer sales from 1995 through 2018. In all years of the study, the 6 to 8 largest calf sales were used. These sales occurred during the summer months, typically from late May through September. In all years of the study, the summer sales are the consistent data source and represent approximately 69% of the lots marketed during the year. Mixed-sex lots were not included in the database until 2010, so they were excluded from the analysis.
      Descriptive information available for each lot of calves included date of the video auction; number of calves; sex of the calves (steers, heifers, or both steers and heifers); the base weight; whether the calves had been weaned before shipment by the current owner; geographical region of the United States where the lot originated; breed description of the calves; frame score of the calves; flesh score of the calves; calf health program used; base weight variation within the lot; whether the calves had horns; whether the calves had been implanted with a growth-promoting implant; whether heifers were Bang’s vaccinated; whether the calves tested bovine viral diarrhea persistently-infected free; whether the lot qualified for a USDA approved Age and Source Verification program; the number of days between the date of the auction and the forecasted delivery date; whether the lot was delivered in an oversized truck load (since 2016); whether the lot qualified for one or more of the video auction service’s programs: Value Added Calf, Certified Natural (since 2004), Certified Natural Plus (since 2014), Non-Hormone Treated Cattle, Superior Progressive Genetics (since 2009), Superior RightSlide (since 2015), 2 Way Slide (since 2016), VitaFerm Raised (since 2016), or GainSmart (since 2017); whether the lot qualified for programs initiated by other groups but only identified by Superior in lot description: Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (since 2008), Verified Natural Beef (since 2010), Global Animal Partnership (since 2014), Reputation Feeder Cattle (since 2015), Top Dollar Angus (since 2015), AngusLink (since 2018), Hereford Advantage (since 2017) or Beef Quality Assurance (since 2018); and the sale price of the lot ($/45.36 kg). Even though data were available on these Superior Livestock Auction and other independent programs, some of the programs had too few lots to be included in the analyses.

      General Breed Description Categories—National and Regional Analyses

      Data provided by the livestock auction market included breed description of each lot of calves. Breed composition of each lot was described by the seller working with the livestock auction service representative for each lot of calves. Each lot of calves was categorized into 1 of 3 breed-description groups: (1) Brahman influenced, (2) English–Continental crossed with no Brahman influence, and (3) English and English crossed with no Brahman influence.
      Percentage of lots marketed for each of the 3 breed descriptions were analyzed to determine national and regional trends. The United States was divided into 7 regions: West Coast (AK, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, UT, and WA), Rocky Mountain/North Central (CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, SD, WI, and WY), South Central (AZ, KS, MO, NM, and OK), Texas (TX), Coastal (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, and SC), Subcoastal (AR, KY, NC, TN, VA, and WV), and Northeast (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT). Texas was assigned a separate region because of the large number of lots originating from that state. The Northeast region was excluded from the analysis because few calf lots originated from this region.

      Single-Sire Breed Categories

      Beginning in 2010, the specific breed that sired each lot of beef calves was recorded in the database when provided by the seller. Since 2010, all sales were recorded in the database; thus, in this portion of the analysis, all sales during each year were included. There are numerous sire breeds recorded in the database; however, not all the sire breeds had a sufficient number of lots for a valid statistical analysis. The sire breed of a lot was determined based on lot description information provided by the seller and sales representative. For a lot of beef calves to be included in a sire breed category, all calves in a lot must have been sired by a single breed. Lots of calves sired by multiple breeds were categorized in a separate group from single-breed sires and were not included in this analysis. A minimum of 50 lots of calves were required for a single-sire breed to be included in this analysis. The single-sire breed categories included in this analysis were Angus, Brangus, Charolais, Hereford, Red Angus, and SimAngus. Lots included in the single-sire breed portion of the analysis were marketed from 2010 through 2018.

      Statistical Analysis

      The Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to determine the presence of an increasing or decreasing trend in percentage of lots of beef calves categorized in a specific breed or sire-breed description, with P ≤ 0.05 considered significant (). The Cochran-Armitage trend test determines trends in binomial proportions for levels of a single variable (). Presence of potential trends was assessed nationally as well as within the 6 regions for Brahman-influenced, English–Continental-crossed, and English and English-crossed lots of beef calves. A potential national trend from 2010 through 2018 for the specific single-sire breed categories of Angus, Brangus, Charolais, Red Angus, and SimAngus was investigated.
      A multiple-regression model was developed using a backward selection procedure to quantify the effects of factors on the sale price of beef calves (
      • Kleinbaum D.G.
      • Kupper L.L.
      • Muller K.E.
      Multiple regression analysis.
      ). At each step of the backward selection procedure, the variable with the largest nonsignificant P-value was eliminated from the model. The MIXED procedure of SAS (version 9.3, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC) was used for the analyses. The model was adjusted for the random effect of auction date nested within auction year. A value of P < 0.05 was required for a fixed effect to remain in the model. To prevent multicollinearity between the linear and quadratic terms (base weight and number of calves), each of these 2 factors was centered at zero by subtracting the overall mean of the factor from the value of that factor for each lot (
      • King M.E.
      • Salman M.D.
      • Wittum T.E.
      • Odde K.G.
      • Seeger J.T.
      • Grotelueschen D.M.
      • Rogers G.M.
      • Quakenbush G.A.
      Effect of certified health programs in the sale price of beef calves marketed through a livestock video auction service from 1995 through 2005..
      ).

      RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

      National General Breed Description Trends

      Data analyzed for the trends of Brahman-influenced, English–Continental-crossed, and English and English-crossed lots were collected from 189 summer livestock video auctions from 1995 through 2018. There were 93,081 lots included in the analyses. The percentage of Brahman-influenced lots decreased (P < 0.0001) in the United States during the 24 yr (Figure 1). The percentage of lots of English–Continental crossed with no Brahman influence also decreased (P < 0.0001) from 1995 through 2018. There was an increase (P < 0.0001), however, in the percentage of English and English-crossed lots with no Brahman influence.
      Figure 1
      Figure 1National trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction in the United States from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The Northeast region was excluded from the study because few marketed calf lots originated from this region. The Northeast region included the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
      The decrease in the percentage of lots of beef calves with Brahman influence marketed via this video auction service in the United States could be a result of several factors. A potential explanation for the change in breed composition of lots of beef calves is price differences between the breed categories. Of the 93,081 lots of beef calves marketed via these video auctions from 1995 through 2018, 82,598 lots were included in the price analysis. Price differences for breed descriptions were evaluated each year using a multiple regression with backward selection analysis that adjusted for all factors significantly influencing price each year. Of the sold lots, Brahman-influenced lots had average price discounts of $4.49 and $3.65 per 45.36 kg of BW when compared with lots of English and English-crossed and English–Continental crossed with no Brahman influence, respectively (Table 1). Over the 24 yr analyzed, the smallest discount for Brahman-influenced lots compared with English and English-crossed lots was in 1996 at $1.93/45.36 kg of BW, and when compared with English–Continental crossed with no Brahman influence calves, the smallest discount was in 1997 at $1.45/45.36 kg of BW. The greatest price discounts for Brahman-influenced lots was in 2018 at $7.61 and $6.74 per 45.36 kg of BW when compared with English and English-crossed and English–Continental crossed lots, respectively.
      Table 1Price discounts of lots of Brahman-influenced beef calves sold through 189 summer video auctions from 1995 through 2018 compared with lots of English and English-crossed or English–Continental-crossed calves
      Year and breed description of the lotNumber

      of lots
      LSM of sale price

      ($/45.36 kg of BW)
      Price discount

      ($/45.36 kg of BW)
      Percentage

      of price discount
      1995
       English and English crossed33666.271.932.91
       English–Continental crossed91866.001.662.52
       Brahman influenced32264.340.00
      1996
       English and English crossed42660.672.323.82
       English–Continental crossed1,00660.051.702.83
       Brahman influenced36158.350.00
      1997
       English and English crossed36088.702.572.90
       English–Continental crossed96287.581.451.66
       Brahman influenced40186.130.00
      1998
       English and English crossed43572.442.623.62
       English–Continental crossed92371.872.052.85
       Brahman influenced34869.820.00
      1999
       English and English crossed60185.303.073.60
       English–Continental crossed1,20084.221.992.36
       Brahman influenced47982.230.00
      2000
       English and English crossed64097.303.513.61
       English–Continental crossed1,18695.892.102.19
       Brahman influenced58093.790.00
      2001
       English and English crossed81998.483.183.23
       English–Continental crossed1,21097.682.382.44
       Brahman influenced38595.300.00
      2002
       English and English crossed86883.513.464.14
       English–Continental crossed1,12182.232.182.65
       Brahman influenced45080.050.00
      2003
       English and English crossed1,19798.363.984.05
       English–Continental crossed1,46796.932.552.63
       Brahman influenced48694.380.00
      2004
       English and English crossed1,348121.214.974.10
       English–Continental crossed1,552119.763.522.94
       Brahman influenced531116.240.00
      2005
       English and English crossed1,498117.983.623.07
       English–Continental crossed1,566116.912.552.18
       Brahman influenced520114.360.00
      2006
       English and English crossed1,521123.026.225.06
       English–Continental crossed1,368121.454.653.83
       Brahman influenced628116.800.00
      2007
       English and English crossed1,874118.304.503.80
       English–Continental crossed1,558117.073.272.79
       Brahman influenced659113.800.00
      2008
       English and English crossed1,763111.365.785.19
       English–Continental crossed1,365110.004.424.02
       Brahman influenced613105.580.00
      2009
       English and English crossed1,844100.384.394.37
       English–Continental crossed1,38199.243.253.27
       Brahman influenced58195.990.00
      2010
       English and English crossed2,533117.394.063.46
       English–Continental crossed1,937116.373.042.61
       Brahman influenced835113.330.00
      2011
       English and English crossed2,296141.695.994.23
       English–Continental crossed1,519140.694.993.55
       Brahman influenced820135.700.00
      2012
       English and English crossed1,978160.264.572.85
       English–Continental crossed1,285158.723.031.91
       Brahman influenced560155.690.00
      2013
       English and English crossed2,247162.805.343.28
       English–Continental crossed1,441161.504.042.50
       Brahman influenced1,040157.460.00
      2014
       English and English crossed2,068246.717.012.84
       English–Continental crossed1,448244.815.112.09
       Brahman influenced728239.700.00
      2015
       English and English crossed2,271239.426.862.87
       English–Continental crossed1,523237.434.872.05
       Brahman influenced684232.560.00
      2016
       English and English crossed2,386142.394.603.23
       English–Continental crossed1,547141.844.052.86
       Brahman influenced642137.790.00
      2017
       English and English crossed2,569157.495.623.57
       English–Continental crossed1,691156.384.512.88
       Brahman influenced522151.870.00
      2018
       English and English crossed2,318162.847.614.67
       English–Continental crossed1,490161.976.744.16
       Brahman influenced563155.230.00
      Although the decrease in Brahman-influenced lots of beef calves is likely a result of price discounts when compared with other breed descriptions, these price discounts are likely driven by the beef industry’s emphasis on carcass traits. It is well documented that Brahman cattle produce less tender, lesser marbled meat than non-Brahman cattle (
      • Damon Jr., R.A.
      • Crown R.M.
      • Singletary C.B.
      • McCraine S.E.
      Carcass characteristics of purebred and crossbred beef steers in the gulf coast region..
      ;
      • Wheeler T.L.
      • Cundiff L.V.
      • Shackelford S.D.
      • Koohmaraie M.
      Characterization of biological types of cattle (Cycle V): Carcass traits and longissimus palatability..
      ).
      • Bidner T.D.
      • Wyatt W.E.
      • Humes P.E.
      • Franke D.E.
      • Blouin D.C.
      Influence of Brahman-derivative breeds and Angus on carcass traits, physical composition, and palatability..
      reported Angus-sired carcasses had greater (P < 0.05) marbling scores than the Brahman-influenced carcasses.
      • Williams G.S.
      • Raper K.C.
      • DeVuyst E.A.
      • Peel D.
      • McKinney D.
      Determinants of price differentials in Oklahoma value-added feeder cattle auctions..
      suggested that some producers appear to be using more English breeds, potentially to target specific breed-influenced branded beef programs, in attempt to gain premiums. The use of English breeds, specially the Angus breed, has been widely adopted in the beef industry to meet the predominantly black-hided requirement of many branded beef programs while maintaining or increasing quality grade. The first branded beef program was introduced in 1978, and since then, there have been more than 130 branded beef programs developed (
      • Speer N.
      Industry at a glance: Growth of USDA-Certified beef programs.
      ). Many of the branded beef programs require a QG of upper two-thirds USDA Choice or higher (
      • USDA, AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service)
      United States standards for grades of carcass beef.
      ). It is speculated Select grade beef will be phased out (). The value of Select grade beef is less than Choice, whereas the cost of production is almost equivalent, and US consumers demand higher quality beef (). From 2006 through 2017, Select grade beef decreased from 40% of all graded beef to approximately 18% (). This decrease could partially be a result of the decrease in Brahman influence on beef calves produced in the United States.
      The decrease in percentage of Brahman-influenced lots was in agreement with a decrease of Bos indicus–derivative registrations. “The four largest Bos indicus breeds declined from a combined total of 16% of top 15 breed registrations in 1984 to only 8% in 2016” (). The increase in percentage of lots of beef calves described as English and English crossed is represented by the vast influence of Angus genetics in the cowherd. The stated that combined, Angus and Red Angus influence approximately 80% of the nation’s cowherd and of the most common breeds used, Angus and Red Angus rank the highest for marbling, contributing to the decrease of Select grade beef. The widespread use of English breeds is further supported in the regional and single-sire breed results.
      Numerous studies showed that black-hided cattle sold for a greater price compared with other hide colors. Often, hide color along with other phenotypic characteristics are used by buyers as an indicator of potential breeds influencing a lot of beef calves (
      • Parish J.A.
      • Williams B.R.
      • Coatney K.T.
      • Best T.F.
      • Stewart C.O.
      A hedonic analysis of sale lot traits affecting calf prices in Mississippi auction markets..
      ). Other studies commonly use phenotypic characteristics when describing a lot of beef calves, particularly in a sale barn auction venue. A difference in the present analysis compared with many other studies is this analysis used written lot descriptions provided by the seller to determine the breed composition of a lot, not the physical appearance or hide color.
      The National Beef Quality Audit recorded the predominant hide color or apparent breed type for cattle slaughtered in each audit since 2000 (
      • Eastwood L.C.
      • Boykin C.A.
      • Harris M.K.
      • Arnold A.N.
      • Hale D.S.
      • Kerth C.R.
      • Griffin D.B.
      • Savell J.W.
      • Belk K.E.
      • Woerner D.R.
      • Hasty J.D.
      • Delmore R.J.
      • Martin J.N.
      • Lawrence T.E.
      • McEvers T.J.
      • VanOberbeke D.L.
      • Mafi G.G.
      • Pfeiffer M.M.
      • Schmidt T.B.
      • Maddock R.J.
      • Johnson D.D.
      • Carr C.C.
      • Scheffler J.M.
      • Pringle T.D.
      • Stelzleni A.M.
      National Beef Quality Audit-2016: Transportation, mobility, and harvest-floor assessments of targeted characteristics that affect quality and value of cattle, carcasses, and by-products..
      ). Predominantly black-hided beef cattle peaked in 2011 at 61.1% and decreased to 57.8% in 2016 (
      • Eastwood L.C.
      • Boykin C.A.
      • Harris M.K.
      • Arnold A.N.
      • Hale D.S.
      • Kerth C.R.
      • Griffin D.B.
      • Savell J.W.
      • Belk K.E.
      • Woerner D.R.
      • Hasty J.D.
      • Delmore R.J.
      • Martin J.N.
      • Lawrence T.E.
      • McEvers T.J.
      • VanOberbeke D.L.
      • Mafi G.G.
      • Pfeiffer M.M.
      • Schmidt T.B.
      • Maddock R.J.
      • Johnson D.D.
      • Carr C.C.
      • Scheffler J.M.
      • Pringle T.D.
      • Stelzleni A.M.
      National Beef Quality Audit-2016: Transportation, mobility, and harvest-floor assessments of targeted characteristics that affect quality and value of cattle, carcasses, and by-products..
      ). All other hide colors (red, yellow, gray, brown, and white) decreased since the 2011 audit (
      • Eastwood L.C.
      • Boykin C.A.
      • Harris M.K.
      • Arnold A.N.
      • Hale D.S.
      • Kerth C.R.
      • Griffin D.B.
      • Savell J.W.
      • Belk K.E.
      • Woerner D.R.
      • Hasty J.D.
      • Delmore R.J.
      • Martin J.N.
      • Lawrence T.E.
      • McEvers T.J.
      • VanOberbeke D.L.
      • Mafi G.G.
      • Pfeiffer M.M.
      • Schmidt T.B.
      • Maddock R.J.
      • Johnson D.D.
      • Carr C.C.
      • Scheffler J.M.
      • Pringle T.D.
      • Stelzleni A.M.
      National Beef Quality Audit-2016: Transportation, mobility, and harvest-floor assessments of targeted characteristics that affect quality and value of cattle, carcasses, and by-products..
      ).

      Regional General Breed Description Trends

      Brahman-influenced and English–Continental-crossed lots decreased (P < 0.001) in the following 4 regions: West Coast, Rocky Mountain/North Central, South Central, and Texas (Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5). In these same regions, the percentage of English and English-crossed lots increased (P < 0.0001). These are the largest 4 regions represented in this analysis, totaling 95% of lots. The Rocky Mountain/North Central region represented 48% of all lots. The second largest region, West Coast, comprised 23% of total lots.
      Figure 2
      Figure 2West Coast regional trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The West Coast region included the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
      Figure 3
      Figure 3Rocky Mountain/North Central regional trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The Rocky Mountain/North Central region included the states of Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
      Figure 4
      Figure 4South Central regional trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The South Central region included the states of Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
      Figure 5
      Figure 5Texas trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. Texas was a separate region because of the large number of lots originating from the state.
      In the Coastal region, the percentage of Brahman-influenced lots remained unchanged (P = 0.11; Figure 6). On average, 94% of lots originating from the Coastal region were Brahman-influenced. The percentage of English–Continental-crossed lots remained unchanged (P = 0.48), whereas English and English-crossed lots increased (P < 0.01) in the Coastal region. The Coastal region represented 5% of lots in this analysis.
      Figure 6
      Figure 6Coastal regional trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The Coastal region included the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
      In the Subcoastal region, the percentage of lots characterized as Brahman influenced did not change (P = 0.06; Figure 7). The percentage of English and English-crossed lots increased (P < 0.0001). The percentage of English–Continental-crossed lots of beef calves decreased (P < 0.001). The Subcoastal region represented 1% of total lots. In this region, one lot of beef calves can have a large effect on the trend because of the few numbers of lots. Although 40% of the US cowherd is in the southern part of the United States (
      • Cundiff L.V.
      • Thallman R.M.
      • Kuehn L.A.
      Impact of Bos indicus genetics on the global beef industry.
      ;
      • Spangler M.L.
      Utilizing Brahman germplasm in crossbreeding systems.
      ), fewer producers seem to market their calves via this video auction service compared with other regions, which could be a result of smaller cowherds within the Southeast region.
      Figure 7
      Figure 7Subcoastal regional trends in breed composition of the percentage of beef calf lots marketed via summer video auction from 1995 through 2018. Percent of total lots represents the percentage of lots categorized as the breed description. The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each breed description. The Subcoastal region included the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
      The Coastal and Subcoastal regions have a more subtropical environment relative to other regions of the United States. Producers in these regions use breeds that are efficient in the hot and humid environment, which was evident based on the breed descriptions provided for the lots of beef calves in this analysis. Many producers in the Southern region of the United States maintain a cowherd with some Brahman influence because of the breed’s enhanced heat tolerance and parasite resistance (
      • Cundiff L.V.
      • Thallman R.M.
      • Kuehn L.A.
      Impact of Bos indicus genetics on the global beef industry.
      ;
      • Riley D.
      Brahman crossbred performance in distinct segments of the United States beef industry.
      ;
      • Spangler M.L.
      Utilizing Brahman germplasm in crossbreeding systems.
      ). It is well documented that Brahman-influenced calves are commonly discounted when sold (
      • King M.E.
      • Salman M.D.
      • Wittum T.E.
      • Odde K.G.
      • Seeger J.T.
      • Grotelueschen D.M.
      • Rogers G.M.
      • Quakenbush G.A.
      Effect of certified health programs in the sale price of beef calves marketed through a livestock video auction service from 1995 through 2005..
      ;
      • Riley D.
      Brahman crossbred performance in distinct segments of the United States beef industry.
      ), even though approximately 35 to 40% of calves in the beef production chain have some Brahman influence (
      • Riley D.
      Brahman crossbred performance in distinct segments of the United States beef industry.
      ). In the present analyses, Brahman-influenced lots of beef calves were discounted compared with English–Continental-crossed and English and English-crossed lots.
      The Coastal and Subcoastal regions increased in the percentage of English and English-crossed lots marketed. Whereas these regions, specifically the Subcoastal region, have the fewest lots compared with the other regions in the analysis, there appears to be some shift in the breed composition of lots originating from these regions. Producers in these regions continue to use the strengths of Brahman influence in their calves, while also increasing the use of English breeds, likely in attempt to increase value of the calves.

      Single-Sire Breed General Breed Description Trends

      The specific sire breed of a lot of beef calves was recorded in the database starting in 2010. To have a single-sire breed categorized, the breed description of the lot as provided by the seller must have stated the specific breed of the bull or bulls siring the lot. Lots of beef calves sired by multiple breeds were categorized separately from single-sire breed lots. This proportioning allowed the opportunity to assess other potential breed trends, specifically breeds of bulls being used by those who marketed their calves through the video auction service. Sire breed class could not be determined for approximately 9.5% of the lots of beef calves in this study. There were 35,483 lots of beef calves marketed via 211 video auctions from 2010 through 2018 included in the single-sire breed analysis (Table 2).
      Table 2The number of beef calf lots described as from a single-sire breed marketed via 211 video auctions from 2010 through 2018
      Sire breed201020112012201320142015201620172018
      Angus3,4803,1872,9833,1212,6562,7623,1673,0142,759
      Red Angus320327323362315364474464461
      Charolais294277273276252317375322285
      Brangus557375756794977797
      Hereford545854586055615374
      SimAngus3068637975128201191201
      Total lots4,2333,9903,7713,9713,4253,7204,3754,1213,877
      The percentage of lots of beef calves sired by Angus bulls decreased (P < 0.0001) from 2010 through 2018 (Table 3). Angus-sired lots, however, comprised the greatest percentage of single-sire breed lots, ranging from 71 to 82%. The percentage of lots of beef calves sired by Red Angus and SimAngus bulls increased (P < 0.0001). The percentage of lots sired by Brangus and Charolais bulls also increased (P = 0.0002 and P = 0.004, respectively). There was no change (P = 0.10) in percentage of lots of beef calves sired by Hereford bulls.
      Table 3The percentage of beef calf lots described as from a single-sire breed marketed via 211 video auctions from 2010 through 2018
      Sire breed201020112012201320142015201620172018P-value
      The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each single-sire breed.
      Angus82.279.979.178.677.674.372.473.171.2<0.0001
      Red Angus7.68.28.69.19.29.810.811.311.9<0.0001
      Charolais7.06.97.27.07.48.58.67.87.40.004
      Brangus1.31.82.01.92.02.52.21.92.50.0002
      Hereford1.31.51.41.51.81.51.41.31.90.10
      SimAngus0.71.71.72.02.23.44.64.65.2<0.0001
      1 The P-value represents an increasing or decreasing trend within each single-sire breed.
      The decrease in the percentage of lots sired by Angus bulls is likely due to the Angus influence in the cowherd. Commercial beef producers may be using other sire breeds on a predominantly Angus-based cowherd, which is indicated by the increase of lots sired by Brangus, Charolais, Red Angus, and SimAngus bulls. Whereas there was no change in the percentage of lots sired by Hereford bulls, these lots are most likely described by producers as black baldies without stating the specific sire breed.
      The average lot size from 1995 through 2018 was 121 head, indicating representation of relatively large beef producers (300+ cows) to fill a load size lot. These results should not be directly compared with other venues of marketing lots of beef calves due to average lot size and the national market they represent. An advantage of using data from a livestock video auction service is the large of number of lots from coast to coast, representing the nation’s cowherd.

      APPLICATIONS

      Breed composition of the US beef cattle industry has changed significantly in the past 50 yr with importation and use of different breeds and selection emphases placed on traits affecting calf growth and carcass value having profound influence. These analyses spanning several years and reflecting beef producers nationally revealed key trends: (1) a national decrease existed in percentage of Brahman-influenced lots marketed from 1995 through 2018 but no change existed in the hot and humid Coastal and Subcoastal regions, to which Brahman-influenced cattle are readily adapted, and (2) the percentage of Angus-sired lots remained the largest single-sire breed group but percentage of these lots decreased from 2010 through 2018, presumably influenced by shifting producer mating decisions on an already predominantly Angus-influenced cowherd. Changes in market signals from packers may drive shifts in the cowherd. Commercial beef producers should consider cowherd breed composition and trait selection decisions comprehensively such that environmental constraints, buyer demands, and resource inputs are appropriately weighted for maximal enterprise profitability.

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