Consistent, predictable genetics.
When our customers turn out Manzano Angus bulls, they should have confidence in their future results. Nothing is more frustrating than using a high powered AI sire, getting 10 calves, and no two of them looking alike. Uniformity and predictability are major drivers of a commercial cattleman’s bottom line, so we strive to breed cattle that our customers can rely on to produce high-quality offspring, year after year and calf after calf.
Focused line-breeding builds more consistent and predictable genetics for us and our customers. Our goal, through line-breeding, is to produce a closely related cowherd that displays a high degree of desired traits. At Manzano Angus, these “desired traits” are well documented but worth repeating. We strive for a moderate sized, moderate milking, efficient cow that will maintain her flesh and breed back on dry grass while weaning around 50 percent of her body weight. We select for visually appealing, structurally sound cattle with excellent teat and udder quality. We prefer below average birth weights, strong early growth and balanced carcass EPD’s. Line-breeding enables our bulls to more consistently pass on these traits to their offspring.
Universities and breed associations have pushed heterosis to the max in recent years. The positive aspects of crossbreeding have been well documented, such as increased feedlot performance. However, with added growth also comes added mature size and heavier birth weights. In a recent BEEF Magazine article, it was reported that the average Angus and Hereford cow both weigh over 1400 pounds. Certainly most western cattle producers would agree that a 1400 pound cow is simply too big!
In programs that crossbreed, using a line-bred Manzano Angus bull, bred to be moderate sized and below average for birth weight, is a great way to consistently manage mature cow size and birth weight, while taking advantage of the positives of crossbreeding. Furthermore, crossbreeding usually results in less uniformity… primarily because the parents aren’t line-bred and thus breed with less consistency. For producers looking to increase hybrid vigor in their herds, using a line-bred bull will actually increase heterosis when used on cattle of different bloodlines, while still providing more consistency. We strongly believe our cattle complement many other types of cattle within the industry; especially in the arid southwest where a 1400 pound cow is too big and both heifers and cows are expected to calve unassisted.
We have and will continue to use line-breeding extensively, but not exclusively. There is no perfect bull or perfect line of cattle. Therefore, we continue to search for outcrosses that fit our program. We are also thankful to have many repeat customers and realize finding outcrosses may be beneficial to their programs. Focusing on breeding practical cattle which work well for commercial cattlemen has and will continue to be our primary goal. Line-breeding is a tool to help us consistently meet this goal. We believe this will result in profitability for our operation and for our customers even in the toughest times.