Anyone who produces a crop of at least 38 calves from registered Angus bulls can again put them to the test in a national contest. The 2008 AngusSource® Carcass Challenge (ASCC) opens in April as the latest in a long tradition of proving Angus genetics in the feedlot and packing plant.

Sara Moyer, director of AngusSource for the American Angus Association,® said the contest will operate exclusively through Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB)-licensed feedlots.

“Those who want to enter cattle for April or later harvest in CAB plants should contact their CAB feedlot,” Moyer said. “The feedlots may obtain entry forms through the CAB supply development office or AngusSource. There is no entry fee.”

The ASCC has evolved from earlier CAB contests such as the Value Discovery Project, Best of the Breed (BoB) and most recently, the National Angus Carcass Challenge (NACC; 2003-06). “CAB welcomes the opportunity to continue working with Angus producers to help showcase their best efforts,” said Mark McCully, supply development director.

To be eligible, calves must be enrolled in AngusSource at the ranch of origin and fed in a CAB-licensed feedyard. The 38 calves can be steers, heifers or a mixed-sex group. They can come from multiple operations, but all must be harvested in one lot, and prizes will be awarded to the feeder and owner based on documented Angus genetics that hit the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand target.

The contest aims to promote the value of feeding high-percentage Angus cattle. AngusSource, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Process Verified Program (PVP), was developed in October 2005 for Angus-sired calves. The program, which enrolled nearly 100,000 calves last year, verifies source, age and a minimum of 50% Angus genetics.

“Through the USDA PVP, AngusSource calves are eligible for the age verification premiums offered by many packers,” Moyer said. “But the real value is in the genetics. CAB data show that Angus calves are healthier, perform better on feed and, through CAB, provide consumers with an unparalleled product.”

Knowledge is power. “By documenting what they know, which for many of our producers includes health and management information, we help our customers realize the full value of their Angus-sired calves,” Moyer explained. “At the same time, AngusSource assists feeders in identifying the types of cattle that fit their target market.”

The contest recognizes quarterly winners in five regions (see map). An overall winner and prize will be awarded at the end of the calendar year. Carcass data collected by CAB staff will be used to identify winning pens, determined solely on CAB acceptance rate, with additional carcass considerations for tie breaks. “The current CAB specifications reward producers for hitting the target consumers demand most,” McCully noted.

Those include mid-Choice or higher marbling, ribeye area of 10 to 16 inches (in.), carcass weight less than 1,000 pounds (lb.) and external fat less than an inch, along with six other specifications.

To review all the specifications visit www.cabpartners.com. Click on “Feedlots” to see a list of CAB-licensed yards where contest cattle may be fed.

Dollar amounts for prizes are not yet established but will be modest, Moyer said. “The value is in the information and recognition,” she said. “We are excited to partner with the CAB program in this contest that recognizes the value of AngusSource calves in supplying the CAB brand.” To learn more about the AngusSource program or the ASCC, visit www.angussource.com, e-mail smoyer@angus.org, or call 816-383-5100.