Feedlot Test Shows 21% Higher Efficiency

© Copyright Diamond H Livestock

This 2012 performance data proves the efficiency Irish Black® genetics can bring to a cow herd. Half-blood Irish Black cattle are 21% more efficient than other beef cattle – a trait that’s positively impacting Irish Black producers’ bottom lines.

In January 2012, Diamond H Livestock, Saint Ignatius, MT, bought 106 half-blood Irish Black steer calves from 3 of its Irish Black bull customers. The calves, out of Angus-based cows, were weaned for 45 days, vaccinated with a modified live vaccine series and shipped to a commercial feedlot. The calves averaged 542 lbs. when they arrived at the feedlot (including a 5% shrink). The entire pen was harvested during a 3-week period, at which time the steers were 12-14 months of age with an average gross out-weight of 1,326 lbs.

The Results

Diamond H Half-Blood Irish Blacks Average U.S. Feedlot Steer
Average Daily Gain 3.96 lbs. 3.30 lbs.
*pounds of feed required for 1 pound of gain
4.79 6.09
Feed Cost/Pound of Gain $0.83 $1.08

Diamond H Half-Blood Irish Blacks

Average In-Weight: 542 lbs.
Average Out-Weight: 1,260 lbs. with 5% shrink (1,326 pounds gross average out-weight)

Carcass Information for Entire Diamond H Pen

105 Head Harvested (1 Death Loss)

Yield Percentage: 64.51%
Carcass Grades: 60% Choice (63 head) | 40% Select (42) | 9 head met Certified Angus Beef criteria
Yield Grades: #1-16 head | #2-55 head | #3-33 head | #4-1 head

Impressively, these Irish Black steers cost $115 less per head to feed compared to the national average steer finished in June 2012. In fact, the Diamond H steers saw $66 per head of profit even though they were purchased at a premium. The national average feedlot steer lost nearly $50 per head in the feedlot during the same timeframe.

Irish Black® & Irish Red® Bulls: The Financial Pay-Off

The unmatched fertility traits of Irish Black and Irish Red cattle are hard to beat. Consider these benefits when choosing your next herd sire.

Producers interested in Irish Black and Irish Red genetics may be surprised to realize the monumental benefits this breed has to offer in terms of fertility traits. Not only do females mature and reach puberty at a younger age, but they also have a shorter gestation of only 277 days.

What’s more, Irish Black and Irish Red bulls are known for having large scrotal circumferences and high fertility, which allows a 2-year-old bull to cover 60-75 cows during the breeding season. With the added benefit of longevity, these bulls are proficient breeders that will stay in production for years to come.

Putting a pencil to paper, the cost benefit of these proficient breeders is incredible!

The following bull cost analysis developed by Lisa Hendrickson with Diamond H Livestock, compares the average purchase price, feed costs, vet costs, etc., of an Angus bull compared to an Irish Black (or Irish Red) bull. The resulting data clearly demonstrates the potential cost savings and return on investment when purchasing Irish Black genetics.

These calculations do NOT include:

  1. Longevity of bull performance. Here, cost per cow drops even more with IB bull working 5 years ($24.36) or 6 years ($20.89).
  2. Value of uniformity in calves at sale time.
  3. Weaning weight averages increasing for herd.
  4. Fast maturity and fast finish.
  5. Value of replacements.
  6. Fertility of percentage females when held or sold as replacements.
  7. Mothering ability of percentage females when held or sold as replacements.

You are probably wondering if this can be true. We had the same skepticism but after diving into breed data we put only 3 newly purchased Irish Black bulls with our 200+ cows in 2008. That was half our normal bull stocking rate. The next spring, we were absolute believers.

At Long Pines Land & Livestock, we have seen these proficient breeders and have benefited tremendously from Irish Black and Irish Red bulls who cover more cows and remain productive in the herd longer than your typical Angus bull can.

The investment of a herd bull is critical for the success of any cattle operation. Cheap genetics ultimately end up costing producers more in the long run when considering maintenance costs, number of cows covered, frequency of replacement and the introduction of unintended genetic issues.

Simply stated, an Irish Black or Irish Red bull can cover more than double the cows that an Angus bull can. Plus, these bulls stay on the job longer, which is a greater return on your investment.
LP Irish Royalty BE11Y successfully settled more than 50 cows/season for 6 seasons for Long Pines and for a Colorado Irish Black ranch

LP Smart Choice 55Z, a 2012 born Long Pines bull, is still going strong, now at Diamond H Irish Blacks in Montana.