GridMaster Award Winners rewarded for producing quality beef

Fourteen producers and feeders received the prestigious GridMaster Award at the National Red Angus Convention in Cheyenne, Wyo., Sept. 17-19. The GridMaster Award recognizes producers and feeders whose cattle achieved carcass excellence when harvested.

“2008 will go down as the year Red Angus cattle put high-priced corn to good use by setting new records for the number of GridMaster award winners,” said Greg Comstock, executive secretary of the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA). “Carcass excellence at this level requires the combination of superior Red Angus genetics with skilled management and timely marketing.”

In order to achieve GridMaster status, Red Angus or Red Angus-influenced cattle that are enrolled in the Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) must be harvested through the Angus America or Meyer Natural Angus grids; or through Tyson’s Pasco, Wash., plant providing they meet either the conventional- or natural-fed GridMaster specifications.

The Grid Score balances high percentages of Premium Products, Yield Grade 1s and 2s and USDA Choice-Grade cattle with minimal percentages of Yield Grade 4s.

Conventional-fed cattle must meet the following requirements: minimum of 30-head lot size, minimum 80 percent Choice or higher, maximum 7.5 percent Yield Grade 4 and minimum Grid Score of 100.

To account for the different finishing characteristics of Natural-fed cattle, they must meet the following criteria: minimum of 30-head lot size, minimum 85 percent Choice or higher, maximum 15 percent Yield Grade 4 and minimum Grid Score of 100.

The following GridMaster Award winners were recognized at the National Red Angus Convention.

Hooper Red Angus

Cow-calf producer Hooper Red Angus of Merriman, Neb., harvested their cattle through the Cargill plant at Schuyler, Neb., on the Angus America Grid. Their cattle scored 81 percent Choice and earned 62 percent Premium Products. Zavadil Feedyard in Fordyce, Neb., fed the cattle.

Gary and Bobby Rhoades

Brothers and cow-calf producers Gary and Bobby Rhoades of Burlington, Colo., also fed their cattle at Zavadil Feedyard. They harvested them through the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid and scored an amazing 100 percent Choice and earned 89 percent Premium Products with only 2.7 percent Yield Grade 4s and 5s.

Lyle Britt

Producer Lyle Britt of Rushville, Neb., earned his GridMaster award on cattle he also fed at Zavadil Feedyard. He combined his cattle with Hooper’s and Rhoades’ to complete the award-winning loads described above.

Zavadil Feedyard

Zavadil Feedyard of Fordyce, Neb., also earned their own GridMaster Award for feeding Hooper, Rhoades and Britt’s cattle.

Lorenzen Ranches and Van Schoiack Ranch

Lorenzen Ranches purchased cattle from their customer, Van Schoiack Ranch of Heppner, Ore., and fed the cattle at Beef Northwest Feeders of Boardman, Ore.

Lorenzens had previously negotiated a fed-cattle pricing grid with Beef Northwest to add quality and yield premiums to Red Angus-influenced cattle. The cattle were harvested through the Tyson plant in Pasco, Wash., on the Beef Northwest Grid.

This was Beef Northwest’s first conventionally fed lot of cattle harvested through a Tyson plant to earn a GridMaster Award. The cattle scored 91 percent Choice.

Skinner Ranches

Commercial cow-calf producer Skinner Ranches at Jordan Valley, Ore., harvested their cattle as Natural through the Tyson plant in Pasco, Wash., on the Painted Hills Grid. This was the first Natural lot through a Tyson plant and one of only two Natural lots of cattle that qualified for GridMaster status this year. Skinner’s lot scored 95 percent Choice and 54 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s. They were fed at the Y-1 Farms Feedyard in Vale, Ore.

Schuler Red Angus

Seedstock and commercial producer Schuler Red Angus of Bridgeport, Neb., earned their GridMaster Award on the largest lot of cattle – 85 head – that qualified for GridMaster status.

Schulers’ cattle were harvested through the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid. They scored 80 percent Choice, earned 53 percent Premium Products with 54 percent yield grading at 1 and 2.

Mel Hummel

Mel Hummel of Winnemucca, Nev., harvested their lot of Natural cattle at Greater Omaha Packing in Omaha, Neb., through the Meyer Natural Angus program. The Meyer Natural program garnered an additional $5-per-head FCCP tag reimbursement plus $13.50-per-hundredweight that was dressed for Natural designation. The cattle were fed at Weborg Feeding Co. in Pender, Neb.

Finn Creek Ranch

Finn Creek Ranch of Avon, Mont., harvested their home-raised Natural lot of cattle at Greater Omaha Packing in Omaha, Neb., through the Meyer Natural Angus program. Through the Meyer Natural Angus program Finn Creek received additional returns of a $5-per-head FCCP tag reimbursement plus $13.50-per-hundredweight that was dressed for Natural designation. The cattle were fed at Weborg Feeding Co. in Pender, Neb.

Bruce and Lynette Durheim

For a record-setting fifth time since the GridMaster Award program began in 2003, commercial producers Bruce and Lynette Durheim of Ellendale, N.D., harvested cattle that earned GridMaster status. Durheims fed their cattle at the Eric Sumption Feedyard in Frederick, S.D., and harvested them through the Cargill plant at Schuyler, Neb., on the Angus America Grid. They scored 93 percent Choice, earned 66 percent Premium Products and 59 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s.

Mesa De Maya Ranch

Mesa De Maya Ranch of Branson, Colo., scored 94 percent Choice and earned 58 percent Premium Products on their lot of cattle harvested through the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid. The cattle were fed at Century Feeders in Goodland, Kan.

Sedgwick Ranch

Another GridMaster Award winner, Sedgwick Ranch of Two Dot, Mont., fed their cattle at Century Feeders and harvested them at the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid. Their lots scored 90% percent Choice, earned 75 percent Premium Products with only 2.5 percent falling in the Yield Grade range of 4 and 5.

Leon Tuttle

Cattle producer Leon Tuttle of Gove, Kan., owned two lots of cattle that each qualified as GridMasters. They harvested both lots through the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid. One lot scored 97 percent Choice and earned 91 percent Premium Products while the other lot scored 91percent Choice, earned 72 percent Premium Products with 44 percent 1 and 2 Yield Grades. Both of these groups fed at Century Feeders.

Wedel Red Angus and McIntyre Ranch

Century Feeders also fed two lot loads of GridMaster qualifiers for Wedel Red Angus of Leoti, Kan. Wedels retained ownership in the cattle they purchased from their bull customer, McIntyre Ranch of Glasgow, Mont. Wedel has won previous GridMaster awards with McIntyre’s cattle.

One lot scored 87 percent Choice, earned 54 percent Premium Products with only 2 percent Yield Grade 4s and 5s. The other lot scored 83 percent Choice, earned 68 percent Premium Products with 70 percent Yield Grade 1s and 2s and only 1.5 percent 4s and 5s. Both lots were harvested through the Cargill plant at Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid.

Century Feeders

Century Feeders of Goodland, Kan., earned a record-setting six GridMaster Awards in a single year and a total of 14 GridMasters since the beginning of the program in 2003. They were awarded the 2008 Red Angus Industry Service Award for their commitment to feeding Red Angus cattle and to serving the needs of their customers while supplying a quality product to the consumer.

The winning lots of cattle were all harvested at the Cargill plant in Fort Morgan, Colo., on the Angus America Grid.

“It has been truly incredible to see this number of GridMaster winners – from both established and new programs – at a time when the price of corn and the Choice-Select spread has not inspired folks to feed for this type of carcass performance,” said Comstock.

If you would like to know more about the GridMaster or Feeder Calf Certification Programs, contact Mikalena Randazzo or Clint Berry at the RAAA national office at (940) 387-3502.

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