When we Direct Market Beef, we are asked about Breed. People want to hear Black Angus. They really don't know why though.
We started with the unique breed, "Best buy at the sale." It was what we could afford and gave us a good start. Mostly they turned out to be good cows. We have used Angus and Simangus predominantly since. Once I went Red Angus and another time I threw in a Polled Hereford. I like the Simmental influence in that I am not one bit worried about keeping heifers from that breed. Especially the cross.
What I tell people is you can find good and bad in every breed. Angus is the most marketable. MARC has shown Simmental to have generally great carcass traits including shear score. What is your market? We actually have had to moderate our calves to get them into the butcher shops we deal with. 700-750 lb carcass is ideal. The premium we get is worth the loss in weight. That is hard to find IMO. But, I also don't think it is sustainable to sell Ribeye Primals to similar shops off of 900 lb carcasses.
We have more breeding and trait information than ever before. When shear force information became readily available, I thought, "That is it!" What I came to realize is I was really limiting myself with the top Shear Force score bulls. I realized we don't get complaints about chewy beef. I attribute that in part to the Simmental influence. So, I use that as an eliminator of bulls more than a primary trait. By that, I mean as long as they are in the top 1/2 of the breed, we are fine. I look at other traits first. i only state that as an example of focusing too much on one trait versus the reality of a program.
In the "more information than ever" vein, I feel we may be narrowing our breeds to less diversity than ever before. In my last go round with bull selection, most Bulls I looked at were related to Hooks Shear Force. I feel like most of the better carcass trait bulls in any breed tend to be related. That narrowing of the gene pool concerns me. Inbreeding has downsides I don't want to explore. So, what I am looking at is considering other breeds to cross in.
As I thought of other breeds, What is important to me is great cows, great carcasses of moderate size and ease of running the cattle. Ease of running means unassisted births with calf vigor and fantastic mothering instincts coupled with disposition.
Where i think I may be headed next is using some Shorthorn. As I stated in the beginning, my start was with a bunch of different cattle. The Shorthorn influence from those original cows was certainly something I like. And, we have feed for good milkers.
That's my story. If I were selling to the commodity market, I would also consider Gelbvieh and Charolais as crosses.
The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth