It’s pretty hard to make Beef Magazine’s “Beef Seedstock 100” list, but Jorgensen Land & Cattle near Ideal, SD, was at the top of the 2020 list with 3,901 Angus bulls sold last year.
Chief Livestock Operations manager, Cody Jorgensen, said in an interview that all of the bulls the farm sells are tested for performance and genomics for a variety of factors. The information is provided to every buyer so they know the facts behind their purchase decision and not just that the bull looks good.
Jorgensen said the testing and detailed records of family line and genomics testing through Zoetis doesn’t provide a great deal of extra money to the individual sale, but it builds customer relationships and fosters repeat customers.
HOW IT WORKS
Currently, the Jorgensen farm has about 1,000 mother cows, a “genetic parent stock” in addition to 15 cooperating herds of Jorgensen-bred bulls that the family farm buys at weaning.
From birth, the bulls are measured for a variety of quantitative, or measurable, data. In addition, the bulls are tested with the Zoetis HD 50K program that increases the accuracy of GE-EPDs and indexes them for carcass information. The test expands the scope of genetic predictions.
All cows also are tested genomically by Zoetis, he said.
In general, the Zoetis tests cut years off the necessary record keeping needed to produce calves that will yield quality carcasses at the packing plant. Without such genetic predictors, a cow/calf operator could waste years and money on what was thought to be quality breeding that only produced so-so calves.
The tests give the buyer predictability, Jorgensen said. They also weed out calves that don’t have the right stuff. About 15% to 20% of calves don’t measure up to the Jorgensen standards genetically.
The Jorgensen web site said their breeding program is composed primarily of five separate foundational sire lines, each making their own set of genetic contributions to the breeding program. They use these lines to make their breeding program better.
LINKING CROPS AND LIVESTOCK
On the 20,000-acre ranch, about 13,000 are devoted to crop land where they grow wheat, corn, soybeans, sorghum and alfalfa, Jorgensen said. Much of the rest is taken up with grazing crops and wildlife habitat.
The habitat is to provide space for the pheasant hunting lodge they have operated since 2012, he said.
In addition to producing feed for the cattle, the farming operations produce certified seed, meeting the standards set by the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, the web site said.
The farm also works to preserve and improve the land, soil and other resources, the web site said. This includes cattle grazing. The family wants to continue to improve the land for many years to come.
But the primary focus is on Angus cattle genetics and improving the herd.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cattle were sold in the Plains this week at $100 to $105 per cwt on a live basis, down $2 to $5 from last week’s $102 to $108 range. Dressed-basis trading was reported at $160 to $167 per cwt steady to down $12 from last week with some in Iowa at $158.
The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.72 per cwt at $227.89, while select was off $1.18 at $213,17. The choice/select spread widened to $14.72 from $14.26 with 130 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
No deliveries were tendered for delivery against the Aug live cattle contract Tuesday.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $128.78 per cwt, up $0.27. This compares with Tuesday’s Aug contract settlement of $132.87, up $1.70.