Brahman Cattle Performance Programs at V8 Ranch
Performance, fertility and carcass merit are pillars of V8 Ranch. As one of the longest running Brahman herds in existence today, we are proud to maintain over 70 years of performance records and production records on our Brahman herd. We are charter members of the Brahman Herd Improvement Records Program.
V8 Ranch ranks as one of the NCBA’s Top 20 Largest Seedstock Operations, and we feel our success in the cattle business is a result of our continued dedication to production performance oriented cattle with eye appeal and function. Each year we sell approximately 150 bulls, with 80% of these going to be breeding bulls for commercial operators.
Some of us at V8, like Mr. Jim or Rachel get real excited about showing. Me, I get excited about developing these bulls and seeing the way they work for real world cattleman…-Brandon Cutrer
A few highlights of our performance and record keeping program include:
- Complete pedigree, sales, and production records dating back to 1960
- Actual performance records available dating back to 1970
- Actual birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight measurements
- Udder score, calf vigor and nursing score
- Subjective phenotypic conformation score of 1 to 5
- Disposition scores been used on the ranch since 1971
- Index values for weaning and yearling weight
- Ultrasound introduced in the mid-1990s, but greatly intensified in 2010. We collect ribeye area, % IMF (marbling), rib fat and rump fat measurements. We are proud that our cattle consistently grade high with low levels of backfat.
- Ranch bull test for all developing sale bulls
- More than 70 V8 bulls listed in current ABBA sire summary with several multi-trait trait leaders.
- V8 Power Rating (the only economic index available in the Brahman breed)
The V8 Power Rating
As forward-thinking seedstock breeders, V8 Ranch exists to serve our customers—whether they’re in the purebred or the commercial business. Compared to breeds like Angus or Hereford, the Brahman breed offers very little in terms of selection tools. When you consider EPDs individually—for instance, birthweight vs. fertility vs. carcass merit vs. performance—it can lead to single-trait selection and information overload for the buyer. We wanted a clearer, more intuitive experience for our clients.
So, in 2015, we began our quest to broaden the scope of available Brahman selection tools. In 2016, we personally funded the research of Dr. Michael MacNeill, one of the world’s leading experts in animal breeding, to put our idea into action. To us, our customers are worth the investment. This work resulted in the V8 Power Rating.
What is the V8 Power Rating
The V8 Power Rating is a simplified rating of economic value, completely customized to best serve producers using Brahman cattle. It uses actual customer data to model cattle production systems, thereby providing producers with improved service and greater insight into each selection’s possibilities. The V8 Power Rating is based on well-established scientific procedures that are guaranteed to help our clients maximize their genetic progress—and, in turn, their bottom line.
How to Use the V8 Power Rating
Essentially, you use the V8 Power Rating exactly as you would an EPD. It will be more useful than a regular EPD, though, because it factors in economic merit, seeing as how our ultimate goal at V8 is to help our clients make money. The V8 Power Rating is a scientific combination of birthweight, performance, maternal ability, fertility, disposition, carcass merit, and marketing option EPDs. It weights each factor according to its economic merit, and presents them to you, the buyer, as one easy-to-understand number.
The average Brahman, based on breed average EPDs, has a Power Rating of $0. The V8 Power Rating represents the additional dollars you can expect if you use V8 cattle in your herd. For example, say you have two bulls. One has an index of +$10 and the other has an index of +$30. You could expect your ranch to reap $20 more from each cow exposed to the second bull than you could from each cow exposed to the first.
Let’s do the math over time:
Bull 1: Power Rating of +50
Bull 2: Power Rating of +0
If you select Bull 1, and breed him to 20 cows, that means you could expect $1000 more in that calf crop (20 cows x +50).
Let’s then say you breed Bull 1 for 5 years. That means you could expect $5000 more from Bull 1’s calves over the five year period than you would from Bull 2.
We developed the V8 Power Rating to help give our customers the tools to make the best educated decisions in their cattle selection.
The “Why” Behind the V8 Power Rating
The V8 Power Rating is revolutionary for the Brahman breed. No other Brahman ranch—not even the Brahman Breed Association—offers a tool of this caliber. Why did we do it?
Sure, we could have sat back and done nothing. We could have kept on going with the small set of tools available in our breed, even though breeds like Angus and Hereford have triple the amount of selection tools available. But that’s not how we operate at V8. We want more. We go the extra mile.
As a Brahman ranch ourselves, we know full well that buying Brahman cattle is a sound investment. But buying cattle can feel like a gamble, and we want our clients to have every confidence in their purchases. So, with great pride, we offer the V8 Power Rating to ensure our customers have the best selection tools possible at their disposal.
Brahman Carcass Research and Ultrasound
V8 Ranch is leading the charge in the Brahman breed’s continued improvement for carcass excellence, and put “our money where our mouth is” in 2018 by creating the USA’s first ever 100% Brahman branded beef program.
Through the years, we’ve been early adopters of technology: we participated in TAMU Ranch to Rail, used Genestar when it was first introduced. and were early adopters of ultrasound technology.
V8 Ranch is leading Brahman breed ultrasound data collection in cooperating with the ABBA. We currently work with Donnie Robertson to ultrasound all of our bulls as and keeping heifers.
Many Brahman breeders prefer to ultrasound their cattle at 12-16 months of age because of the Brahman’s later maturity, but we are measuring our ultrasound at 10-14 months to be more in line with the rest of the beef industry. We feel this makes our data more relevant to the industry and to our customers.
Our results put our cattle at the very top of the ABBA in terms of marbling. We have identified several lines of cattle that consistently scan high %IMF values, consistently reading 4.0% or higher (USDA Choice), while only having 0.1 or 0.2 inches backfat.
We are committed to proving to the industry that Brahman cattle, specifically those from V8 Ranch, can and will produce desirable carcasses. Cattleman can no longer use the excuse of “Brahman Cattle Don’t Marble” because THEY CAN, and at V8 Ranch, THEY DO. We are delighted to share our ultrasound findings with anyone who is interested.
Purebred Brahman Steer Feedlot data
In the 1990s, we participated in the Texas A&M University Ranch to Rail program to obtain data on V8-sired crossbred steers. In 2010, we began feeding purebred Brahman steers in a similar ‘ranch to rail’ program in cooperation with Graham Feedyard. At weaning, we select our lowest 20% of bulls to be culled. These are bulls with a long sheath, heavier birthweight or a disposition problem. These cattle are castrated, dehorned and vaccinated on a VAC-45 program and are then sent to a feed yard for data collection. Information is collected through the feeding and harvest process, and submitted to the ABBA to be incorporated into the Brahman Carcass Evaluation project.
To date, we have sent more cattle through the ABBA Carcass Evaluation program than any other ranch.
Though culls, we feel that this group is extremely important for the betterment of our herd, as it holds the performance and carcass values that the ranch looks at for breeding decisions.
Crossbreeding With Brahman Bulls / F1 Program
The Brahman bull is a popular choice for cattleman because of their hybrid vigor, efficiency, heat tolerance, and added performance. For over 40 years, we have focused on providing the commercial cowman with some of the best Brahman bulls on the market. All of our breeding bulls are backed by generations of pedigree excellence, documented performance, and the reputation of the V8 brand. We also offer carcass ultrasound scan data on sale bulls. V8 Ranch prides ourselves on offering Brahman bulls that look good, perform well, and provide the necessary traits the commercial cattleman needs for efficient beef production.
V8 Brahman bulls carry the following benefits:
- Registered through the American Brahman Breeders Association
- Qualified for the Superior Progressive Genetics Program
- Fertility tested and guaranteed natural breeders
- Documented with performance data, actual birth weights and EPDs
- Documented with carcass ultrasound data
- Evaluated for disposition
- Vaccinated and meet all herd health requirements recommended by Wharton Veterinary Clinic and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine
- Brucellosis free, TB-free and tested annually for Johne’s disease
At V8 Ranch – we love gentle Brahmans! We work hard to identify and cull on disposition. We like to joke around and post pictures of our “wild and crazy Brahmans”.
With some of the best stockmen on our team, we take pride in the calm and easy manner our cow herd works and pen in a calm and easy manner. Our cattle know that humans are their friends, and they trust us. Thus, they respond to cattle handling in a way that puts little, if any stress, on the animals. Our facilities are very practical, efficient pens that allow for easy flow of cattle and maximum safety and comfort.
Years ago, we would gentle all of our calves in the pens each day by separating them from their mothers and gentling them in our pens. Today, we have limited labor and we aren’t able to provide that luxury. However, we love to spend a lot of evenings out in the pastures with the cows and calves gentling on the calves.
While all this is fun, and a great way to spend evenings, we also realize that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. For more than 40 years, we have assigned and assessed disposition scores on all of our cattle. We cull heavily for bad dispositions, and we work to provide this information to any potential buyers.