In 2017 the entire Circle A Registered cowherd was dispersed.
Circle A has long been known as one of the most data-oriented, profit-focused beef cattle operations in the world. Obviously, such a change in our offering was not a decision we took lightly. We truly believe that our Wangus cattle are the most commercially-minded, profit-tested genetics available and they are the key to driving profits up for both us and our customers.
The graph below explains in a single visual why we made that decision. If you graph enough data, any data, you will see the normal distribution curve. Most of the data will fall around the average, or mean, and less and less data will appear the further you get from that average. You will also have some extreme outliers on both ends of the data, very far from the average. Cow profitability is no different. If you were to graph the annual profitability of every cow in your herd you would see that normal distribution curve in the data. Most of your cows would fall relatively near average, you would have a few well above and well below average and fewer yet very far from the average on both ends of the profitability spectrum. In most registered cowherds if any cow in that cowherd has a reasonably descent bull calf in any given year, that calf is kept intact and sold as a bull.
The truth is, just because it is a registered cowherd and those cows have registration papers does not mean they defy the laws of statistics. The greatest cowherd on earth still adheres to the normal distribution curve, still has an average and still has outliers on both ends of the spectrum. Meaning, any bull you purchase from such a system could be out of a cow on the lowest end of that profitability scale. Now you’re stuck with a bull out of a low profitability mother, from which you retain daughters and build low-profitability genetics into your cowherd for years to come.
We’re not insinuating anyone does this intentionally, in fact, very few producers have profitability data on their cowherd; they honestly don’t know which cows are the most and least profitable genetics. Doesn’t it make sense to purchase your seedstock from someone who does? Someone who forces those cows to work in a commercial production environment, who demands those cows produce and perform at a level that increases profits for their commercial customers and who strictly culls those females, without prejudice, for necessity traits that make the producers’ lives easier.
Only because of the scale of Circle A and the fact that for over two decades we have been measuring and selecting for actual profitability, we can offer a solution in the form of our Wangus bulls. These bulls come out of only the top 5% highest profitability females out of a 6,000 head cowherd forced to function at a profitable level with minimal inputs in a true commercial production environment. For over two decades we have been aggressively using AI, collecting more data in our commercial cowherd than our registered herd, and calculating exclusive EPDs and Profitability Indexes. We have been formulating proprietary EPDs for Cow Stayability, Heifer Pregnancy, Feed Intake, and Average Daily Gain, plus all the growth and carcass traits you are all accustomed to and using them to create the most accurate profitability index on beef cattle in the world. Our Wangus cows thrive in a fescue-based grass environment at 500 cows per man and are expected to wean a calf annually with no issues of soundness, eyes, feet, udders or temperament.
As the graph clearly depicts, we could raise registered bulls out of registered cows and tell you they’re good because they have a registration paper, or we could raise Wangus bulls out of elite females tested and proven in a commercial production environment. I know which bulls we would rather use in our own commercial operation. With the hybrid vigor of our Wangus bulls we are able to lower our risks, produces calves that come easy, grow fast and hang high-valued carcasses while also yielding daughters that are matched to our environment. As we continue to select bulls out of only our most profitable females, the normal distribution curve does not change, but is does continually shift to the right, toward greater profitability. Over time our average cows don’t make us $100, they make us $200; our best don’t just make $500, they make $600 and the evolution toward greater profitability continues.