Volume 4, Issue 2
K-State Technology Instrumental in National Contest
K-State Professor John Brethour observes ARCH's entries for the Best of Breed competition. Photo by Keith Harmoney, ARCH.
The K-State Agricultural Research Center-Hays (ARCH) won the top prize of $100,000 in the Best of Breed Angus Challenge at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) 2003 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn. There were 140 entries (pens of cattle consisting of at least 80 head/ pen with some Angus blood) from across the U.S. The top eight winners selected their entries using the patented ultrasound technology invented by K-State Professor John Brethour of ARCH. Brethour has won other major awards using the ultrasound technology at various contests including the National Western Stock Show in Denver and the Beef Empire Days in Garden City, Kan.
Brethour's technology is comprised of two patents (5,960,105 and 5,398,290) assigned to the Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSURF). One patent provides a system for measuring intramuscular fat in live cattle using an ultrasound device to produce an image of an interior muscle portion. The second patent provides a system that determines the number of days livestock should be maintained on feed for maximum profit by projecting future carcass merit. This technology allows beef feeders and producers to manage and predict beef carcass quality. KSURF licensed the technology to Cattle Performance Enhancement Co., Oakley, Kan., in 1995.
Cattle in the NCBA contest were evaluated by average beef value per hundredweight of carcass on a set contest grid. ARCH entered 80 steers from registered Angus bulls worth an average of $132.05/cwt. of carcass. The steers graded 100% Choice or better with 91 percent qualifying for the Certified Angus Beef® brand.
Brethour said, “My colleagues often say you can go premium Choice and Prime, but you're going to have over-fat cattle. This shows that's not true, you can have quality without external fat.”
“This has been exciting for me since the day I first started research with ultrasound. Winning the Best of Breed contest is a major milestone," Brethour said. "To me, the important thing is the satisfaction of having a research program that has brought visibility to the Hays program and to the team of people that have made this happen.”
In addition to his research colleagues at the Hays Research Center and other K-State Research and Extension specialists, Brethour credited several Kansas cattle producers, including Dick Janssen, Green Gar-den Angus; Roy Soukup, Ellsworth, Kan., and Martin Bland, Luray, Kan.
Most of the $100,000 grand prize won by ARCH will be used to pay the mortgage on pastureland that is used for ARCH’s ongoing beef cattle research.
ARCH is a division of the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide.