New horizons for the Angus breed

Farm Forum

The first quarter of fiscal year 2015 spells unlimited possibilities for Angus breeders.

The nearly 25,000 members who comprise the American Angus Association came off of an outstanding 2014 fiscal year (FY) this fall. Fiscal performance exceeded all expectations on nearly every front, from an increase in registrations, to record-breaking sales of Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand product, to the most sales revenue ever reported for Angus seedstock: $326 million.

The organization is now reporting that these trends have accelerated in the first quarter of FY 2015, which began Oct. 1, 2014, and the breed is on an early pace to potentially exceed last year’s performance.

“It was an excellent year for our breed as demand outpaced supply and consumers continued to ask for quality Angus beef,” says Bryce Schumann, Association CEO. “And now we look forward to even more opportunities on the horizon to advance high-quality Angus genetics.”

Registrations submitted to the American Angus Association in December totaled 44,194, the eighth best month in history and the best December on record. Year to date, total registrations for registered Angus seedstock grew 10%; that’s an increase of 10,000 more animals in the registry. And these numbers were achieved with more people raising registered Angus genetics.

Since October, memberships have grown 31%, and junior memberships have increased by more than 9%.

Last year, Angus breeders saw more revenue for their registered Angus seedstock than at any other time in history — except, that is, for FY 2015.

In FY 2014, breeders earned $61.5 million more in revenue than the year prior, doubling revenue per sale since 2010.

Encouragingly, breeders show no signs of slowing down. Sales gross topped $114,712,900 from October through December, up 40% from the same time period last year. Registered Angus bulls averaged $6,445, up more than $1,700 per head on nearly 8,000 bulls sold in that time period, representing an increase in volume of more than 1,100 head.

Female sales also reflected increased demand. Females averaged $5,385 per head, up more than $1,600 per head in value — a whopping 46% increase.

Technology and demand

Angus cattlemen continue to reap the rewards of genomic technology. In FY 2014, genomic testing increased by 32%, and the fourth recalibration last September was conducted on 57,000 animals, an increase of 47%. That indicated increased emphasis on genomic information that offers increased reliability and predictability for performance testing, parentage verification and genetic defect testing.

It’s an emphasis that’s seeing significant growth thus far this year. Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) reports genomic testing in the first quarter grew by more than 56%.

Meanwhile, breeders and their commercial customers continue to rely on Angus Productions Inc. (API) to access the latest news and information from Angus headquarters and an expansive marketing platform for Angus genetics. The upcoming February Angus Journal, for example, is the largest ever produced for this particular month.

Coming off a banner year that generated sales of more than 882 million pounds of CAB brand product, the Association’s branded beef company continues to perform well in the first quarter, despite lower overall cattle inventories.

Likewise, the Angus Foundation reports continued investment from Angus breeders, friends and allied industry as it raises funds for youth, education and research initiatives. Last year, the 501(c)3 entity raised nearly $2.5 million in revenue and distributed more than $254,000 in scholarships.

“All told, the future is bright for our breed. The fiscal year is off to a fantastic start, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds for our members,” Schumann says.