Braunvieh Dominates 35th Beef Empire Steer Test

June 14, 2003

By Keith Carmichael of Cutting-Edge Genetics - Garden City, Kansas - Beef Empire Days, now in its 35th year, is recognized as one of the oldest and largest beef events in the country. The centerpiece of this weeklong program is the Beef Empire Steer Test. The BEST actually has a steer and heifer division and is recognized as the industry's largest and most complete carcass competition. This year, 228 entries from over 30 feed yards were evaluated- both live and on the rail.

In unprecedented fashion, Braunvieh-cross calves from Alexander Ranch, Appleton City, Missouri nearly swept the carcass competition. In the two divisions, Alexander's Braunvieh calves placed 1st–Heifer, 3rd-Steer, 5th-Steer, and 6th-Steer. In short, of the top 12 carcasses scored, in a field of 228 entries, one third were from one ranch and all Braunvieh influenced.

Alexander's Grand Champion Heifer weighed 1202 lbs. live, and had a 757 lb. Prime – YG 1.53 carcass with a 15.78 rib eye and .28 fat.

"People involved with the test are going to remember this for a long time," says Tim Stone of Heritage Cattle Company and 2003 chairman of the Beef Empire Steer Test. "Especially the 'live' judge, he'll be watching for those cattle next time." None of the Braunvieh-cross calves were placed in the live show, but dominated the carcass division. "This is indicative of what is happening in the industry today", says Stone, "people look right past these cattle, but I think any commercial producer who is serious about carcass quality really has to take a look at Braunvieh cattle."

Dr. Keith Belk, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, judged the BEST carcass show. "I was extremely impressed with the overall quality of carcasses," he says, "but it was quite easy to make that carcass our champion as it reflected a type of carcass that is rather rare – a U.S. Prime, Yield Grade 1. She also generated the best index value. After the competition I learned that the champion heifer was a Braunvieh-cross and that the owner/breeder was involved with a pen of carcasses that also won the National Western Stock Show Fed Beef Contest several years ago." (Belk was the superintendent for that show for five years).

The Alexander cattle were fed at Irsik & Doll Feedyard, Garden City, Kansas. According to Ron Kramer of Irsik & Doll, "It will be hard for folks to realize just what kind of accomplishment this is for Matt and for the Braunvieh breed. Most of the participants in this contest are feedyards that may pick one or two animals out of 20-30,000 head. I know one just down the road that picked 2 out of 27,00 head. Some may have twice that and only select one animal –trying to win this competition—and this is a big deal to them! This says a lot about the potential of Braunvieh cattle in our industry."

The breed's repeated success in major, independent tests over the last decade have turned heads in every segment of the industry. Throughout the industry, the best known and the most respected quality stamp is the coveted Max Fulscher Award given to top pens in the Great Western Beef Expo at Sterling, Colorado. These cattle must grade 100% choice and 100% yield grade 1 or 2. To date, Braunvieh-influence calves have won this title three times as often as the nearest competitor; in fact, calves sired by Braunvieh bulls have won well over a third of all the Max Fulscher Awards given in the last decade. Their advantage in carcass merit and performance stands undisputed.

View the complete results from 2003 Beef Empire Test

This article supplied by the Braunvieh Association of America. For more information contact the Braunvieh Association of America at 402-466-3292.

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