HOLSim Program Designed to Enhance Beef-on-Dairy Matings

Nebraska dairyman John Steffen says he loves dairy farming because every day is a new challenge. And a new opportunity, too. On his Steffview Dairy near Hartington, Steffen is adding another layer of revenue by marketing beef-on-dairy calves.

“For my bottom line, it’s another way to spread my eggs into more than one basket. It’s another form of revenue for me. It’s improved my bottom line, because we’re adding value to something that we don’t need as a replacement heifer.”

To guide his breeding decisions, Steffen uses HOLSim, a partnership between Holstein Association USA and the American Simmental Association. The program identifies Sim-Angus bulls most complimentary to a Holstein female to produce a more profitable terminal calf.

“HOLSim provides a list of recommended sires to make a good beef-on-dairy cross. We’ve been very pleased with those sires. We get a calf that gains well, born with a light birthweight and can convert feed.”

Bulls qualifying for the HOLSim list are specifically selected to maximize profitability for beef on dairy crosses by focusing on traits like calving ease, grading ability, ribeye size, and a sensitivity to carcass length.” Steffen has marketed more than 60 head of HOLSim calves to date, all about 800 pounds, and he says they’ve sold for prices comparable to straight black calves.

“They are easy to sell. I take them to the stockyards on the day that they have their beef sale. They typically bring a premium and sell right along with the best of the black Angus cattle.”

Because of the success they’ve seen, Steffen says he would recommend this approach to fellow dairy producers.

“Through the use of HOLSim, it’s peace of mind knowing when you take a group of calves to town, you are going to be able to sell them and make some money. That gives me a sense of pride, not only in growing a nice looking group of calves, but also taking a check to the bank.”

Visit HolsteinUSA.com to learn more and view the latest HOLSim sire listing.