MSU Feedlot Educational Series: Introduction to Crossbred Dairy Beef Production

February 1, 2021

In session 1 of the MSU Feedlot Educational Series, Dr. Jerad Jaborek discusses crossbred dairy beef production. Raising purebred dairy steers for beef production results in some challenges compared with native beef cattle. Additionally, implementing a crossbreeding program on dairy farms where a terminal beef sire is bred to the dairy cows is becoming increasingly popular across the U.S as an option to increase the value of male dairy calves. Research implementing this crossbreeding strategy with Jersey cattle is presented. Along with sire selection considerations and management practices to help make crossbred dairy beef production a success.

Video Transcript

Jaborek, Jerad
Fri 1/29/2021 4:09 PM
  •  Fischer, Torey
  •  Tape, Mindy

Hello Torey,


I have two videos I would like to upload to the MSU Extension website, so I will try to break them down as such. 


Video #1

MSU Feedlot Educational Series: Introduction to Crossbred Dairy Beef Production


In session 1 of the MSU Feedlot Educational Series, Dr. Jerad Jaborek discusses crossbred dairy beef production.  Raising purebred dairy steers for beef production results in some challenges compared with native beef cattle.  Additionally, implementing a crossbreeding program on dairy farms where a terminal beef sire is bred to the dairy cows is becoming increasingly popular across the U.S as an option to increase the value of male dairy calves.  Research implementing this crossbreeding strategy with Jersey cattle is presented.  Along with sire selection considerations and management practices to help make crossbred dairy beef production a success.


Jerad Jaborek (speaker) Jeannine Schweihofer (co-host)


Additional information regarding the summary of the Jersey crossbred study can be found here:

Additional information regarding terminal beef sire selection for producing crossbred dairy beef cattle from dairy cows can be found here:


[Jeannine Schweihofer] Good evening. Welcome to the first session in the MSU feedlot educational series for the winter season of 2020/2021. I'm Jeanine Schweihofer and I'm serving as our host tonight. And we're excited to have our new feedlot, beef feedlot educator, Dr. Jerad Jaborek with us. He will be our speaker tonight, talking about an introduction to crossbred dairy beef production. And Jerad, I'm going to turn it over to you to give a little background on yourself and go ahead with the topic. [Jerad Jaborek] Okay, thanks Jeannine. Just to give you guys a little introduction about myself. I grew up in central Wisconsin. From there I will in central Wisconsin, I grew up on a dairy farm that my grandparents had and my parents also had beef farm as well. And then from there I did my undergraduate degree at University of Wisconsin River-Falls and continued on with my education at The Ohio State University. Where I did some of this research that I'll be talking about tonight on dairy beef production with Jersey cattle and then also, and studying the development and growth of marbling in cattle as well. So with that, let's get into our topic tonight on the introduction of crossbred dairy production. Before we get started. I'd just like to say that Michigan State University Extension programming is open to all. So since I've been here in Michigan, one thing that I've quickly learned is there's a lot of people feeding Holstein steers. And if we look at the USDA National Ag Statistics Service report on total cattle inventory for the State of Michigan. We can see that there's far more dairy cows compared to beef cows at 37% compared to 8%. This means that we have approximately four times as many dairy steers available to feed compared to our native cattle or beef type steers. Additionally, the National Beef Quality Audit reported that there was an increase in dairy type carcasses at 16% compared to roughly 10% more recently in 2016 compared to 2012. So across the country we're also seeing an increase in the number of dairy cattle being fed. So as we get started, I want to lay a little background and show some comparisons of how dairy cattle compare to beef cattle for feeding these cattle in the feedlot and then also on a carcass basis. So this is some research done by Abney in 2004 at Michigan State University, where they compared calf fed Holsteins and Angus cattle. So both were kind of raised in their conventional systems where we see calf-fed Holsteins entering the feedlot around three hundred and fifty to four hundred pounds. So these cattle are typically around 32 weeks of age. Whereas on the Angus side or the beef side, these calves are entering the feedlot after seven months of age or roughly seven months of age after they've been weaned. So they're a little bit heavier at five hundred and fifty, five hundred seventy five in this study. So the reason I have two numbers here is because in this study they raise cattle to two different back fat thickness endpoints being 0.2 inches back fat, or a quarter inch back fat for the Holsteins. And then for our Angus cattle, quarter-inch or a half-inch back fat. So that's why we have two numbers. It kinda gives you a nice representation of how these cattle perform at different harvest endpoints. Additionally, we'll see in this study that the Holstein calves reached heavier final weights for when they met those back fat thicknesses, they were at heavier final weights compared to the Angus cattle. In order to reach these heavier weights though, or the back fat thicknesses, the Holstein cattle required more days on feed compared to the Angus cattle. And this is in part due to their lesser average daily gain. You can see here, if you follow my cursor, the Holstein steers were gaining, are about three pounds a day compared to four pounds a day. For the Angus, steers. Interestingly, in this study, the Angus steers consumed more dry matter intake or had a greater feed intake compared to Holsteins. I say this is interesting as we typically think of Holstein steers because of their genetic base. Dairy Holstein cows have been designed with a large rumen for a large intake to increase milk production. And additionally, we saw greater feed efficiency or more desirable feed efficiency. Meaning we had a lesser amount of feed required to produce a pound of gain for Angus cattle in this study compared to our Holstein steers in this study. Now moving parts, the carcass characteristics of the study. They found that Angus steershad a greater dressing percentage and this can be in part due to greater amount of fat deposition or muscling that is going to stay on that carcass once that animal is harvested. And like I said, by design, we had differences in our backfat thickness. So that can contribute to dressing percentage. And then like I said, muscling can also contribute to differences in dressing percentage. And here we saw that the Angus steers had a greater ribeye area compared to the Holstein steers on this study. At the lighter or the smaller back fat thickness endpoint, Holstein and Angus steers were hovering around yield grade three and then a little bit higher on the yield grade three at the fatter end point. And then in this study, estimated kidney pelvic and heart fat was greater for the Angus cattle compared to the Holstein cattle. This will be an interesting discussion point a little later on in this talk. And then no differences were seen in marbling scored between Holstein and Angus cattle on this study. So based on some of these results that I've shown, there's challenges and opportunities to working with dairy beef. Starting with the challenges. We saw that in the previous study, dairy cattle typically have a lesser average daily gain and lesser feed efficiency compared to our beef type cattle. This means that they typically require more days on feed. So based on these two things, we also we would have a greater feed cost of gain for our dairy cattle and also greater totally yardage costs because those dairy type cattle require more days on feed compared to our beef cattle. Dairy type cattle are also more lightly muscled. Like I showed in the previous slide. They had a lesser ribeye area compared to beef type cattle. Additionally, the shape of the ribeye is also different in dairy type cattle compared to beef type cattle. If I can draw your attention to the picture on the right. For dairy cattle, their ribeye area appears more flattened out or triangular compared to conventional beef type ribeye, which would appear more round, or oval in shape. Additionally, we also have challenges with carcass size, being that with Holsteins, carcass can be too long at times. And then with, when working with jerseys, we can have troubles with carcasses that are too light weight. However, there are also benefits to working with dairy beef. One of those benefits being that dairy type cattle deposit, adequate marbling. And in the recent 2016 National Beef Quality Audit it was reported that of the cattle grading prime, 32% of those cattle were dairy type. Additionally, dairy cattle produce a uniform product. Recent research has shown that all Holstein artificial insemination bulls are descendants from two bulls that can date back all the way to 1880, one of the nice things about this is, as the cattle perform uniformly, they also produce a uniform product in their retail cuts as well. So that means that those cuts are able to fit the package or fit the box for the packer. Meaning that also at the food service or at the restaurant, those products all appear uniform in size as well to the consumer. Additionally, when we're working with dairy type cattle, we have the opportunity for product traceability and data transfer. That's also interesting point. In Michigan as cattle are transferred, they have RFID tags. That also increases our ability for traceability of those animals and also inputting data into that tag where the next person in the production chain can see how that animal was raised, possibly. So that brings us to considering cross breeding strategy. And with the use of reproductive technologies such as sex semen, and embryo transfer, that is making this a possibility. And with the use of these technologies we're seeing, we're able to have a more rapid turnover to add elite genetics into the dairy herd. And one of the reasons we would consider cross breeding strategy is that we know that it adds value through heterosis. And the figure on the right here shows the breeding service for the insemination Holsteins. And this is from some Canadian data, paints the picture of what we're seeing in the US as well. More recently we're seeing a decline in the use of Holstein sires breeding to Holstein cows. And while we're not seeing a change really at all in other dairy breeds, What we're seeing is the use of beef sires being bred to our Holstein cows. So today I want to take some time to talk about some of the research I did during my PhD where we implemented a cross breeding strategy with Jersey cattle. So we evaluated feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, retail yield, tenderness and fatty acid composition of purebred Jersey steers as well as the crossbreds from that mating, steers and heifers. And today I will only be focusing on the steers. If you have questions about heifers, there's also a publication comparing steers and heifers as well. So the idea behind the cross breeding strategy is that from the Jersey dairy herd, we would be able to separate our cows. Being that are genetically superior, cows are higher producing cows. We'd still be able to breed those animals to a Jersey bull using female sexed Jersey semen. And this will guarantee us or result in the replacement females that would come back into the herd, this will allow for the genetic turnover to add elite genetics. Whereas with our genetically inferior cows or the cows that are on the lower portion of their herd. Production wise, genetic wise. We will be able to breed these animals to beef semen or conventional beef semen, meaning that we would get steers and heifers from that cross. And that's the approach that we took in this study we're talking about today. So for the purpose of the study was the utilise crossbreeding between a terminal beef sire, and a Jersey cow to produce offspring that are capable of producing a high quality and high value beef product. So taking this little calf here and ultimately producing high-quality beef product that people are going to be happy to consume. So the approach for this study was to evaluate these cattle throughout the production chain. And unfortunately, we weren't able to evaluate these animals as calves. We were able to evaluate them at the feedlot level for production and efficiency traits, as well as monitoring costs. And then also at the packer level where we were looking at carcass retail yield, and quality grade of those animals. And then we took it one step further and evaluated it at the consumer level, where we look at traits that affect eating satisfaction and possibly the healthiness of that product as well. So for this study, we took a niche oriented approach. One being that the breed of cattle we were working with was jerseys and not necessarily Holsteins, which make up the majority of the dairy cattle across the country. Next, being that we selected the sires, the beef sires that we use in the study based on marbling criteria rather than other traits. So we're really focusing on producing a high quality, highly marbled beef product. Additionally, we looked to capture extra value in these cattle by raising them to meet a never ever program. Meaning that these cattle received no implants. They were not fed a beta-agonist or ionophores. We also looked to see, are there other possible claims that we can make with these cattle as its related tenderness or the fatty acid profile and possible health effects that may have there. So here's a slide that shows a few of the beef sires that we used in this study. We used a Angus sire. We also use SimAngus sires. And then we also had Red Wagyu sires. So in total, over the course of two years, we had 92 cattle that were fed. 21 purebred Jersey steers, 34 crossbred steers, and then 37 crossbred heifers. And like I said, we'll be focusing on the steers tonight for the data I'll be showing. And across their time in the feedlot, these cattle were transitioned through four different diets. Upon feedlot entry, they were placed on receiving diet and that lasted for about four to five weeks. Then they transitioned to a growing diet for ten weeks and then a finishing diet that was corn silage based. And one of the challenges we faced was keeping silage fresh during the summer months due to the small number of cattle we had on feed. So we had to design a dry finishing diet. And this saw the replacement of corn silage with soy hulls for the remainder of the finishing period for cattle for both years. And this slide shows those four diets that I was just recently talking about. And you can see as these cattle came on the receiving diet, both the receiving and growing diet were primarily made of corn silage. And then as we stepped these cattle up on to a more energy dense diet, we added more whole shell corn. And you can see as those cattle moved from the growing to finishing diet, we stepped up the energy density of that diet. So as cattle were selected for harvest, they were transported to the Ohio State University meat laboratory in groups of six to eight cattle. And then a week after cattle were harvested, they were graded and fabricated so that we're able to do a carcass cut out and determine carcass yield. Additionally ribeye steaks for saved so that we were able to determine instrumental tenderness at four different time points at 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after harvest. Some of the things that we're looking for when we're grading these animals are the quality grade and also yield grade. So quality grade is based upon two things. Being marbling score, which is a visual appraisal of marbling or the deposition of intramuscular fat. And you can see here, on the bottom here, we have select, choice and prime quality grades. And you can see the amount of marbling or intramuscular fat deposition in each of those grades. So as all cattle were relatively young or A maturity, we focused in this box here. And cattle would have, in this study, were typically from modest to slightly abundant in quality grade, as you'll see later. Or in marble score, as you will see little later. Then we also assign a yield grade, which is a representation of the amount of product that we will get back from that carcass on a percentage basis. So BCTRC is the percent boneless closely trimmed retail cuts. So after we break down this carcass into these cuts, remove the bones, how much product is left? That's what yield grade is accounting. You can see yield grade is on a one-to-five scale. And I have some pictures down on the bottom right here to kind of show what those differences are. And you can see that for yield grade one, we have a relatively trim animal and more muscling that's going to give us more retail yield. Additionally, on the flip side, or on the opposite end of the scale, yield grade five would be extremely fat animal, relative to the amount of muscle that carcass is producing. So we're going to get into the feedlot performance results here in a second. Take a moment to look at some of these pictures of the cattle that we had on study. I believe the one on the left and the right, these are Red Wagyu crosses and the one in the middle is a representation of one of the Angus Jersey crosses. So in this study, just to orientate everyone to the tables here we have our sire breeds across the top. And then P value, a value that's less than 0.05 means that it was significant. And then the traits that we were measuring will be over here on the left. So prior management was uncontrolled in our situation. These calves were raised at a calf ranch and then brought to us and entered our feedlot. And they came from or were raised at various locations. So we have a little variation of age on these cattle when they came to us and also the way in which they entered the feedlot. So here you can see that if we look at our purebred Jerseys, they were a little bit older, as well as a little bit heavier, along with the Angus sired cattle compared to our SimAngus and Red Wagyu sired steers when they enter the feedlot. Additionally, our purebred Jersey steers required the most time on feed to reach similar off-test weight in this situation, with the Angus sired steers requiring the fewest amount of days on feed. For dry matter intake or feed intake, in this case, Angus sired cattle had the greatest feed intake. While, the purebred Jerseys and the Wagyu sired steers had the lowest dry matter intake for this study. And based on the number of days on feed, we can calculate our total dry matter intake. We didn't see significant differences here or we can see that we're starting to approach a significant difference with, while Angus cattle consumed the most on a daily basis, they also had the greatest total, and even though Jersey steers and one of the lowest daily intakes, they also produced one of the greatest total feed intakes over the course of the study. For average daily gain, we saw that our terminal crosses, so all the beef sired crosses, Angus, SimAngus, and Wagyu, had a greater average daily gain compared to our purebred Jersey steers. And then our Red Wagyu sired steers and SimAngus sired steers had greater feed efficiency or a more desirable feed efficiency, meaning that they had a greater amount of gain relative to the amount of feed that they consumed compared to our purebred Jersey steers. And then because of this, we saw lesser or lower feed cost of gain for our SimAngus and Red Wagyu sired steers compared to the Angus sired steers, which was then also lesser than the feed cost of gain for our purebred Jersey steers. Next, we're going to move onto some of the carcass results. But before we do a kinda wanna point out to where we collect some of these measurements from. So when we're trying to determine yield grade, we have a few components that go into an equation that help us estimate yield grade. One of those being hot carcass weight. So we'll use the weight that we get right after we harvest that animal. And we also use back fat thickness, which is measured at the 12th, 13th split. So that's between the 12th, 13th rib. We'll measure it three-quarters of the way down the ribeye. And then we also measure ribeye area. So we'll put a grid, that has a bunch of dots on it, and then determine ribeye area. And we also use an estimate of kidney, pelvic, and heart fat. So that's all the fat that you can see that sits along this pelvis. That kidney knob fat, and then any fat that also lines the thoracic cavity or the area around the heart and lungs. So as we previously saw, Live weight was relatively similar for the cattle in the study. However, we did start to see difference carcass weight once these animals were harvested. With greater hot carcass weights for the Angus and SimAngus sired cattle. They had a slightly, or numerically greater live weight, which helps contribute to this difference, with Wagyu and the Jersey steers having the lesser hot carcass weight. So this can be influenced by a variety of factors or things that are not going to stay on that carcass once the animal's harvested, whether it's the hide, or how clean that hide is, the removal of the gastrointestinal track, or other factors such as muscle or fat. And that's kind of what dressing percent gives us an idea of, and we saw a greater dressing percentage for our beef sire crosses compared to our purebred Jersey steers in this study. Additionally, for fat thickness, we saw that Angus sired cattle were the fattest cattle on the study compared to SimAngus, Red Wagyu, and Jersey sired cattle. And then our terminal sired crossbreds. Angus, SimAngus, and Red Wagyu sired steers had a greater ribeye area compared to our purebred Jersey steers. And then we didn't see a difference in our calculated yield grade. So once we took all those parameters and we put them in the equation that estimated yield grade, we didn't see any difference. So I have a few pictures here to kind of give everyone a representation or an idea of what these cattle kind of look like when we were measuring them. So on the upper left we have an example of a purebred Jersey steer. So I tried to find one that was representative of the mean or the average of the data I just showed you previously. So you can see here that these guys had less back fat compared to our Angus sired steers. Additionally, the ribeye area was a little smaller for our purebred jerseys as well. And then if you look at the fat flecks, this is what we call marbling in the ribeye area or in the area of the ribeye. And we saw that we had greater marbling deposition for our beef sire crosses compared to our purebred Jersey crosses. So you can see that we have more flecks of fat or marbling deposition in the beef crosses compared to the purebred Jersey steers. Additionally, we saw big differences in kidney fat deposition. Because we did a cutout of retail yield on these cattle, we also got an actual measurement of the weight of the kidney fat. We're able to determine what percent that actually contributed to the carcass of these animals. And what we saw was that purebred Jersey steers, we're almost at 8%. So of all this fat right here, that sits on the outside of the tenderloin, made up 8% of the weight of that carcass. Now that's a lot compared to our Angus sired cattle, which had the least amount of kidney fat at roughly 5%. And then SimAngus and Red Wagyu were sitting around just over 6%. So like I said, calculated yield grade wasn't really different. And you can see here that we had a little bit of difference in yield grade distribution across a study with a lot of the cattle being under yield grade or at yield grade three or less. However, we did have a problem with because we were only able to harvest cattle in groups of 6 to 8. With the Angus sired cattle. They all kind of wanted to get fat at the same time and it made it really difficult to get them all in for harvest. So we did have a few. Angus sired cattle, that fell into Yield Grade 4s because they started to really lay down the back fat. So this picture here gives us a little idea reminder of the cuts that we can get from a beef carcass from the different primals we have. We have the chuck, which is the shoulder. We have the brisket, rib, and then I'll be talking about the loin together. That's the shortloin and sirloin cuts, we have the round. So with that, it'll kind of orientate everyone to some of the data I'll be showing you here on the next slide. So when we balanced are compared all these different cattle at a similar carcass weight. So we adjusted the data so that all these animals were similar carcass weight to make it a fair comparison. We saw that our SimAngus cattle had a greater amount of weight in the chuck. So that's in that shoulder area compared to our purebred Jersey steers. With the brisket. Remember I said that those Angus sired cattle were a little bit fatter compared to everyone else as we saw with back fat thickness and even marbling like we saw with some of those pictures. These animals deposited a lot of fat inthe brisket, which contribute to a greater weight in the brisket for the Angus compared to the other three treatments. In the rib, we saw no differences. However, in the loin we saw a greater amount of weight for the Red Wagyu sired cattle compared to the other three treatments. Additionally, the Red Wagyu sired cattle had a greater amount of weight in the round as well, compared to the Jersey and Angus sired cattle. And then the SimAngus sired cattle also had a greater amount of weight in the round compared to the Angus sired cattle. In all, we were able to add all this up and determine how much boneless closely trimmed retail product we got from the carcass. What we found is that the Red Wagyu sired cattle had a greater amount of retail yield compared to the Angus sired cattle and our purebred Jersey cattle. Additionally, the SimAngus sired cattle also had a greater retail compared to the purebred Jersey cattle. So with crossbreeding, were able to increase the retail yield compared to the purebred Jersey steers. Now this is a figure that shows the total lean in red, fat trim in white or grey bars, and then the amount of bone that contributes to the carcass weight, on a percentage basis, in the black bars. So percent carcass over here on the y-axis, we have our purebred Jerseys, our Angus sired cattle, our SimAngus sired cattle, and our Red Wagyu sired cattle. And then I've added some data of commodity cattle or conventional beef cattle, that would be a Yield Grade 2. And one thing that is quite striking is the amount of total lean. So this includes the boneless closely trimmed retail cuts, all the cuts we will get, and then also the lean trimmings as well, that would be used for ground beef. We can see that with our conventional cattle or commodity cattle, we're up towards 70%, whereas with purebred Jerseys, we're down around 54% and had a slight increase with cross breeding in this case. So these Jersey, and in this case, the Jersey crossbreds also, had a lesser muscle to bone ratio for these carcasses. So you can see here we have a much greater amount of bone making up the carcass for these purebred jerseys and Jersey crossbreds, and also a greater amount of fat making up the carcass. Remember I said that we had a lot of kidney fat and these Jersey and Jersey cross carcasses compared to our commodity cattle. With the Jerseys being around 8%, our commodity may be around 2.5 to 3%. So there's a big difference, almost twice as much fat internally, that really doesn't have as much value. So here we're going to talk about marbling score. We kind of saw pictures of marbling or how that looks visually. Statistically, our Angus sired cattle had the greatest marbling score, which would have put them in the low Prime quality grade. And this was greater than our purebred Jersey. So our purebred Jerseys, on average, produced average Choice marbling or average choice quality grade. And then the SimAngus and Red Wagyu sired steers would have qualified for high Choice quality grade. So when we look at the distribution of quality grades for these cattle, you can see that 75% of our Jerseys were receiving that Choice quality grade And for the Angus cattle, like I said, they were fat, they had a lot of marbling. You can see that they're receiving premiums. So we had two thirds of those animals at Prime and then the remainder of them actually would have qualified for Certified Angus Beef premiums. And then even with our SimAngus sired cattle, 80% of those cattle would've received premiums at Prime and Certified Angus Beef premiums. And additionally, the Red Wagyu also marbled quite well, as you can see with the comparison between SimAngus and Red Wagyu up in their marbling scores here in the table. However, because their red hided, That was one of the criteria that Certified Angus Beef premiums requires is to be black hided and with the Red Wagyu sires, some of those animals did not produce a black hide. As you actually saw in some of those pictures earlier. So next I want to talk a little bit about financials or the costs of production that we saw with the animals on the study. For our live value, everybody was priced at the same value here, $121.05. per hundred weight and saw no differences. Remember we had similar live weights. So if we were to sell those animals on a live value basis, we'd have a similar revenue. Now if we sold those animals on a carcass grid basis, you can see our base grid was around $208 per hundred weight. And then we have our average grid prices for each of our treatments down below. And our average grid prices, were significantly greater for our crossbreds compared to the purebred Jersey steers. We can see that's almost $10 per hundred weight greater. And as a result, that resulted in a greater carcass grid value for our crossbred steers compared to our purebred Jersey steers. So let me take that step back. So our carcass grid value that's going to give us premiums based on yield grade and also on quality grade. So now if we take it a step further and value these cattle on a boxed beef basis. So this means once that animal, or all that carcass is cut down and we have our boxed beef. We know how much beef we got. We actually did the cutoff. This is how much meat we got. So the average box beef price is only going to change due to premiums of quality grade. So here we also saw that the crossbred steers received a greater box beef prices on average. You can see that's about $10 to $17 per hundred weight greater. So again, we saw greater box beef value for those crossbreds compared to the purebred Jersey steers in this study. However, what's interesting is that the boxed beef value gives us a true value of those animals. That's a big difference compared to the carcass grid value or on a live value basis. So we can see, if we compare the boxed beef value price to the live value price we have our live price adjustment with the purebred Jersey steers that was almost $0.30 per pound. And it looks like about $0.15 per pound for our crossbreds. Then on a carcass basis, you can see that there's a really big difference at $0.73 per pound for purebred Jerseys, and similarly around $0.70 per pound for our crossbred steers. So big difference in value. And that shows that their lack of retail yield compared to what was estimated for yield grade. So the yield grade equation that estimates the yield grade of these carcasses is not really accurate with Jersey type cattle. So next, this slide's going to walk us through a feeder calf breakeven. If we look at our true value, we'll use our true value or box beef value. We can subtract our total costs of gain. So those would include our feed costs, our yardage. You can see our yardage was $0.45 per day and that may vary. That was just one value that we picked. And then our medical and trucking costs for fuel. Cattle were relatively healthy, so we didn't have many medical costs at all. That'll give us a margin or amount that we have made. That's not going to use our feeder calf costs. So if we take how much those calves weighed when they came in we're able to calculate our feeder calf breakeven. So we would take this margin, this margin cost right here, and divide it by the weight that these cattle came on and that'll give us a feeder calf breakeven price. And you can see that right here our purebred Jersey steers had the lowest price. So this would be the price that the feedlot producer or feeder of those cattle, whoever's going to buy those calves. He would, if he didn't want to make any money, he able to pay $0.94 per pound for that purebred Jersey calf. In comparison, he be able to pay much more. It looks like about almost $0.60 more for say, a SimAngus calf compared to that purebred Jersey steer. So if your yardage costs were a little different, so let's say our yardage costs was twice that. We would see $0.63 per pound, $1.07 per pound, $1.21 per pound, and $1.15 per pound. So you can see how those values would change a little bit depending on cost of your operation as well. So in this study, we also measured tenderness and what we did there. We were able to cook up all of our steaks. We get a fully cooked steak and then after we allow that steak to cool, we're able to measure the amount of force it takes to shear through a core of that steak. And we're able to see that for tenderness, we saw improvements from seven to 14 days, but overall not much difference after that. And we also saw some breed differences with our, if you look at the red line, that's our Red Wagyu, and then the grey line here is the SimAngus sired cattle. They were more tender compared to the purebred Jerseys or the Angus cross steers in this study. So just going to review some of the things we talked about, or some considerations to think about when you're thinking of implementing a crossbreeding strategy for crossbred dairy beef production. In this study, purebred Jersey steers has showed that they lack sufficient growth and muscling compared to even our crossbred dairy steers we saw crossbreeding is going to improve that. We also saw that they lack muscling compared to the crossbreds, and that the crossbreds even lacked muscling compared to conventional cattle. So with Jersey genetics, I would recommend the use of growth enhancing technologies. So the use of implants and maybe even beta-agonists. So we didn't use those in this study. And implants are commonly used in the industry. So it would be interesting to see how much of a difference that would've made in some of the results that we saw. We also saw that Jersey steers and the Jersey crossbred steers, they're definitely able to produce a high-quality beef product. Those steers were highly marbled. And you saw that on a carcass grid basis, those animals were receiving premiums for their high-quality beef. And then this data has shown that complimentary crossbreeding programs will improve the value compared to the purebred dairy type steer. So in many of those traits, and if we look at the overall value at the end of our feeder calf breakeven price, we had a greater value from those crossbred steers compared to the purebred steers. So some extra things to think about. Terminal beef sire selection is extremely important in the cross breeding strategy. And we need to select sires that will complement the dairy female or dairy cow. And then also consider economically relevant traits when we're making these matings. On the dairy side of things, the dairy producer is going to be interested in calving ease, as well as conception. He needs that animal, or that cow to produce a live calf so she can get back in the milking herd and be productive. It doesn't help him if that animal has trouble breeding back or any reproductive problems or even has a dead calf, or produces a dead cow. That's not helpful. So we need to focus on calving ease. Other traits we need to focus are: growth rate. As you saw in this study, Crossbreeding is going to improve that. We didn't necessarily select our sires based on growth. We focused on marbling primarily, but growth rate will also improve the production efficiency of these animals. That will also increase their value. We should also select for marbling, that's also important to produce a high-quality product and try to achieve some of those premiums or receive some of those premiums to add value to these animals. And then maybe one of the most important things to select for is muscling ability. And many beef breeds have an EPD for ribeye area. So this needs to be heavily considered when we're looking for beef sires to crossbreed with our dairy cattle because we need to improve the muscle ability of these animals. In the case of this study with the Jersey steers, we saw that they lack a lot of muscling and they produce a lesser retail yield. So muscling is important trait to consider. So again, I just want to remind everyone the MSU Extension programs are open for everyone. Here are a few of the references that I used in today's talk. And I'd be happy to open it up for questions. And have a nice little dialogue. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Great. Thank you Jerad. That was an interesting presentation. There are not any questions in the chat, but you can either type questions into the chat or you can unmute yourself and ask them verbally. [Jeannine Schweihofer] So I have a question. Why do you think the Red Wagyu have the largest loins? [Jerad Jaborek] That's a good question. Part of it could be due to the relative rank in ribeye area within the breed. Like I said, we really only focused on marbling. So it could be that some of our other breeds were just below average. But also Red Wagyu have been bred to be more of a beef producing or more muscled breed relative to say Black Wagyu, where they've been so heavily selected for marbling. The Red Wagyu have actually been bred with like some more continental breeds. I think they have some Simmental in there that contribute to a little bit greater muscling. So that would be why we saw some of those differences in the cutability and ribeye area. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Yeah. So it makes sense if you are selecting for the marbling. It'd be interesting to see where they rank in muscling with the others. [Jerad Jaborek] Yeah, with Wagyu being a relatively newer breed in the US, there's not a lot of data that compares them to say other breeds. And the US, meat animal research center, or USMARC, they put out a comparison between breeds or between breed EPDs so that you can compare bulls of different breeds and look at different traits. And one thing I've noticed is that Wagyu are not on that list. So they must not have any cattle in their herd as a representation for that. {Jeannine Schweihofer] As a representation to get the differences. Yeah. [Jerad Jaborek] Yeah, that would be interesting to see how they compare with everybody. They're definitely becoming more popular in the US, that's for sure. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Yes. Other questions for Jerad? [Jeannine reading question from the audience] Are there any future studies set for Holstein cross? [Jerad Jaborek] That's a good question. That's one of the things that we're looking at. Jeannine and I have definitely been talking about that. We're actually hoping to get something with the Holstein cross going on the research side of things. There's definitely a lack of research data on that or some of it's very old and not really as applicable or relatable with today's genetics and management schemes. So that's definitely something that we're looking at and hopefully, we can get it going and get it underway. So the next time I give a presentation like this, we'll be able to talk about Holsteins instead of Jerseys. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Other questions about what Jerad presented tonight or other things? [Audience] Well, you need a market for your breed. JBS buys my cattle, they would prefer by Holsteins versus the Holstein Angus cross. And, how would Holstein steaks compare in a tenderness comparison to other breeds? [Jerad Jaborek] So if my memory serves me correct, I believe, so if you remember back to that Abney data that I presented right at the beginning of the presentation, I think they measured tenderness. And I don't believe that they saw a difference between the Holstein steers and the Angus steers in that study. So they can be just as tender. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Yeah, you don't hear a lot of tenderness issues with Holsteins. Some of the continental breeds there's some. More challenges. [Jerad Jaborek] Bos Indicus cattle they see more challenges with tenderness. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Yeah, definitely with them. [Jerad Jaborek] More cattle coming out of the South that have them breed for heat stress, for instance. [Audience] Is there a period animal's life when they typically start out on dry grain and then the majority of them get switched over to high moisture. If I was feeding cattle for you, at what point would you like to see them get converted over to high moisture? I know. It seems like if they're on dry too long, it's better they get converted, in my mind, around 400 to 500 pound range versus a 600 to 700 pound range. What are your thoughts on that? [Jerad Jaborek] That's a good question. I don't know that I've seen and any data that really says when he should switch from say, a dry corn, or a dry pellet, or a dry concentrate diet to a high moisture corn diet. I don't know that it makes a difference. I mean, some of these diets that we're feeding in the feedlot are obviously varying in moisture content, especially if it includes feed stuffs like corn silage, which has a greater moisture content. So I really don't know that there is great time or any research that says something like that. That would be something that I definitely could look into though. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Other questions or thoughts for the evening? [Jeannine reading a question from the audience] Do you see the future being primarily cross breds coming out of dairy farms? [Jerad Jaborek] Well, that's the vision I guess, is to add value to those calves. In many cases, I mean, there's not a lot of value in these dairy bull calves, specifically for the jerseys, It seems like no one wants to buy them. There's no value in them, is what I've heard. Still, obviously people are still feeding Holsteins and there's some value in some of those bull calves. But there's definitely an opportunity when cattle are bred correctly and selected for the right traits, we're able to add some value to those animals, that hopefully they'll be able to perform more like a beef animal. From a feedlot production standpoint and then also from a carcass standpoint, hopefully quality-wise and yield grade wise. So that's the idea that we would be able to produce a more beef type animal. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Yeah, I do think that the marketing aspect of it is a big challenge. Because the major Holstein buyers don't want the crossbreds At this point. It doesn't fit their cookie cutter mold of consistency. Yeah, we haven't really seen a premium from the beef packers, the ones, you know, buying the native cattle. [Jerad Jaborek] Yeah, I guess with the cross breeding strategy right now, how some people are using it is not optimal, so they're adding more variability in those cattle. Like I said at the beginning of the nice things with working with dairy cattle is that they're very uniform and cookie cutter and everything fits in that box. There's a lot of beef sires out there, lots of variation, different breeds. And even in this study you saw variation. These cattle were selected for marbling, but not, say, growth or muscling ability. And that could cause some differences that maybe were slightly unexpected. But if we select for those traits like I said, muscling ability, ribeye area, and growth. Hopefully those animals will become more uniform if ya know, we're not or the dairy producer is using just a few sires that excel in those traits and not in so many different breeds that just adds variation. That will definitely help. So hopefully we'll get those animals performing and producing more like a beef animal. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Any other questions? [Jeannine reading a question from the audience] Do you see a lot of difference in cattle fed dry shelled corn versus wet feed? [Jerad Jaborek] That's a good question. So that's something that I'm definitely going to learn a little bit more about. With my graduate work at Ohio State, we fed primarily whole shelled corn, so dry corn. Now that I've moved here to Michigan, I see a lot of people are feeding high moisture corn. And there has been some research out there that compares different corn processing methods. So comparing whole shelled corn or dry corn, dried rolled corn, steam flaked corn, or high moisture corn as well. High moisture corn performs quite well. So there is some data out there on that. Whole shelled corn can also perform quite well. It has lower digestibility not quite as much of that starch is able to be digested in the rumen like steam flaked corn or high moisture corn. Because that's more easily digested, less of that reaches the small intestine. So more than digestion with the whole shelled corn is reaching the small intestine. So kind of changes the site of absorption. Energy-wise between those two types of corn. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Good questions and discussion here at the end. Anything else tonight? [Audience] I've heard a lot of different opinions, but if I buy feeders that are four weights on dry corn and I want to I would like to convert them to my high moisture ration. How many days should I take to convert them? [Jerad Jaborek] That's a good question. Typically, with transitions you want to give those cattle time anytime you're transitioning diets or feedstuffs or making changes to the ration and it takes time for rumen to adapt and we don't want to cause any digestive upsets. So depending on how large the change is, in my experience with some of my research, as we converted say from a growing diet to finishing diet where we see large changes in the amount of starch or grain compared to forage that could happen over the course of a few weeks. So it kinda depends on how large that changes that you're making. It should be okay if you're making gradual changes. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Thank you everyone for participating tonight. [Jerad Jaborek] Yes, thank you everyone. [Audience] So how big of an area do you cover Jerad? [Jerad Jaborek] So as the Michigan State University Extension feedlot educator, I have statewide responsibilities. So I am responsible for any feedlot questions in Michigan or cattle feeding type questions. So if you guys ever have questions or concerns or anything like that, or want to know information on a certain topic feel free to reach out via email, or give me a call. [Jeannine Schweihofer] Thanks everyone. I'm going to go ahead and stop the recording.