Isa Informer Newsletter

From the Spring 2009 issue of the Isa Informer

L Bar genetics offer performance boost

I thought I might take a minute and explain the history behind L Bar Genetics and why they might be of value to your breeding program.

Folks often ask about our linebreeding program. The definition of linebreeding is "selective inbreeding to perpetuate certain desired qualities or characteristics in a strain of livestock." Geneticists explain that linebred cattle breed truer because they possess more homozygous or identical gene pairs. Therefore linebreeding is an extremely valuable tool in increasing the consistency, uniformity and prepotency of the herd and their offspring in other herds.

Though closely bred, the L Bar Herd is not a "closed" herd because we typically bring in outside genetics through large groups of females from a single, tightly managed and complimentary program. Over the years, we have added infusions of genetics from the Lasater and Casey herds, as well as Sanders, Musser, Cargile, Vista and, most recently, Cain Cattle Co.

About 15 years ago, we began an effort to transform our cattle, with one of the primary goals being improved consistency of conformation, color, underline, size and type. We strive to select for the optimum performers, while still keeping the size and weight of the herd in moderation. We select for trim, moderate-sized cattle packed with thickness and muscling that meet the demands of today's bull buyer.
The most important factor in the cow business is, of course, fertility. We breed all females for 60 days, and cull not only those that miss, but also those that fail to wean a marketable calf. We breed our heifers at 14 months to calve at two years, in the exact same season as their mothers. In our bull selection, we place a great deal of emphasis on the sons of first-calf heifers, in an effort to lock in those early maturing, easy-calving qualities.

Performance is of obvious importance in our breeding program. We are very proud to have had 36 L Bar cows receive the coveted BBU Pacesetter award in 2008. This means that she calved at least by 30 months of age, she had at least three consecutive calves with a weaning ratio of 105 or better AND maintained a calving interval of 375 days or less. On the bull side, BBU publishes the trait leaders for each of the 5 EPDs, and there are 17 L bar bulls or sons of L Bar bulls that are trait leaders in the Beefmaster breed. That is 23% of all trait leaders—more than any other breeding establishment!

As you make your spring breeding plans, I hope you'll consider the boost that high-performing L Bar genetics can give your program.