By The Ledger – Summer 2019
Regardless of operation size, American Aberdeens aid producers in achieving goals
American Aberdeen cattle continue to grow in popularity among U.S. cattle producers. Known for their feed efficiency, calving ease, docility and ability to moderate cow size, the breed can help answer the challenges of both large- and small-scale producers.
For large-scale operations, American Aberdeen reduce labor and veterinary costs, and provide many economic advantages. Commercial heifers bred to fullblood American Aberdeen bulls calve easily and breed back quickly, reducing the calving interval. Half-blood American Aberdeen cows maintain themselves on about half the feed that is required by a full-size crossbred cow and wean more pounds of calf per acre.
American Aberdeen cattle are also a perfect choice for small-acreage ranchers. Their moderate size makes them easy to handle and minimizes equipment and labor requirements. The breed’s feed efficiency also improves a farm’s carrying capacity. American Aberdeen cattle require a limited amount of feed (because of their efficient conversion of grass to meat), which makes them ideal for smaller acreage and allows for more American Aberdeens to be stocked in the same area that would support traditional cattle.
The breed’s moderate frame size is also an asset to breeders of all sizes and production schemes, specifically from an economic perspective. University studies from Texas to North Dakota have repeatedly documented the economic advantages of running smaller cattle. When evaluated on a per-acre unit of production, smaller cattle have a 10 percent profit potential advantage over larger cattle.
If you’re ready to utilize American Aberdeen genetics to achieve your cattle breeding goals, the American Aberdeen Association (AAA) provides various programs to assist you.
AAA Registry Classifications
Fullblood – 100 percent American Aberdeen cattle that trace back to the Trangie Research Center in Australia and the original Angus purchased from Canada.
Aberdeen Plus – Percentage cattle (25-87.5 percent) with the non-Aberdeen portion coming from registered American Angus or American Red Angus. The member must supply the registered, genetic-defect-free pedigree and appropriate fee to enter the foundation animal into the Aberdeen Plus registry. The member must be the recorded owner of the female at the time the calf was born. A flush report is required for all embryo transplant calves. Multi-generational cattle are accepted as long as the breed and percentage criteria are met. Either the sire or dam (or both) of the first-generation Aberdeen Plus must be registered with the AAA.
Moderator® – Percentage cattle (50-87.499 percent). Both the sire and dam of a Moderator must be registered with the AAA. “Moderator” shall be added to the registration papers for these animals.
Moderator Plus® Percentage cattle (25-50 percent). Aberdeen genetics on at least one side of the pedigree and must be registered with the AAA. Either the sire or dam (or both) of a Moderator Plus must be registered with the AAA. “Moderator Plus” shall be added to the registration papers for these animals.
American Aberdeen cattle are a selected strain of Aberdeen Angus cattle bred for many generations for smaller structure, roughage conversion and efficiency of red meat production. All fullblood cattle trace directly to the foundation herd in Australia.
Mature American Aberdeen bulls will generally fall into a range of 45-48 inches measured at the hip and weigh from 1,300 to 1,500 pounds. Mature cows should measure from 42 to 46 inches at the hip and weigh 900-1,100 pounds. Certain individuals will fall outside these parameters. Judgment should be made on quality and conformation rather than size. American Aberdeens are predominantly black in color; however, a red gene (e) and a wild allele (E+) expressing red color have been identified in the breed. Red cattle are accepted for registration.
The American Aberdeen Association requires that all fullblood American Aberdeen cattle have DNA parentage verification to assure their genetic purity, providing a breed integrity that is unmatched among other small breeds. The national registry has also established the tradition of an Annual National Show and Sale and Convention at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, providing a prestigious showplace for the top bloodlines in the breed. The show also offers an ideal setting to share thoughts and ideas, and mingle with other American Aberdeen breeders as well as the nation’s top cattlemen of all breeds.