Spring 2016

A recent trip to the annual Wye Angus sale in Queenstown, Maryland was a great opportunity to see the results of Eddie Draper’s breeding work with the University of Maryland’s closed herd.  Eddie and his staff have done an outstanding job continuing to recombine and refine the legacy that James Lingle started almost six decades ago, producing sons like last year’s Carpus of Wye, an extremely promising son of Luthien of Wye.  

We also had the pleasure of spending the end of the weekend at Kinloch Farms.  The Jennings family have what might be the “best kept secret” in the Angus industry East of the Mississippi.  (Ricky Hyland and John Cotton share that moniker West of the big river) Blending Wye, Pinebank, Octoraro, and Shoshone bloodlines, Kevin has built a tremendous herd of fertile forage converters.  The herd is Naturally Grown certified, and they develop their bulls, steers, and heifers on forage.  They’ll be bringing 41/97 of Kinloch E005 and his son down to Perry, Ga for the Grassfed Exchange Conference, April 27th-29th.  Perhaps they won’t be the “best kept secret” for very long.

Summer 2014

Most of the southeastern US is experiencing excellent growing conditions….adequate moisture,  forage is plentiful and cattle producers are ecstatic with the current market at historic highs….much to be thankful for!  It’s quite gratifying to finally see producers capture a greater portion of end product value……been a long time coming. 

Sustainable Genetics is experiencing our best year ever!  Semen sales, live cattle sourcing/marketing of pasture based, minimal input genetics has been extremely strong….. we’ve received multiple calls recently from ranchers bragging about their 8 yr old 41/97 daughters that have never missed a beat!  Thanks to all the supporters of our program.

Larry Leonhardt Passing

We were saddened recently upon receiving the news that Larry Leonhardt, Shoshone Angus, Cowley, WY passed away.  His pursuit of true genetic improvement for optimal profitability opportunities within the commercial beef industry is a model beyond compare.  I have no doubt that Larry Leonhardt will be included in future conversations when “Master Breeders” are discussed.  I am extremely privileged to have called him my friend for more than 40 years.

Semen available from Three New NZ Bulls

We’ve recently added the following three Black Angus bulls from the Waigroup, NZ program:

Pinebank 64/10 & Pinebank 89/05 both aged, highly proven sires whose dams continue to produce past 10 yrs of age…….64/10 has the advantage of the two for 400 day growth while 89/05 is a documented “sleep all night” calving ease sire

Glanworth Waigroup 1213 is a coming two yr old being heavily used in the Pinebank & Glanworth herds……calving ease here also, along with adequate growth for commercial profitability.

All three sires can be expected to sire maternally efficient daughters that excel in minimal input, forage based production systems……..more information/photos available on our website.

AAA attempted Coup d’état

Several months ago American Angus Association senior management & field staff, implementing a well orchestrated plan, demanded the Board terminate the current CEO.  Though we’re not privileged to inside information, we’ve pieced together enough details from reliable sources to determine the “maximum growth genetics” crowd is not satisfied with the implementation rate of the latest high tech “gimmicks”……..in the guise of breed improvement.    They apparently are determined to accelerate the breed’s demise for relevance within the commercial cattle sector……other than use as “another black terminal”.  Inefficient pasture genetics, bad feet & widespread lethal recessives have rapidly changed a “mother cow/carcass merit” breed into something an ever increasing number of commercial producers are avoiding.  One can only hope there is “potential directional change” from the status quo at AAA……stay tuned.

Grass Fed Exchange Conference

This is a last minute reminder for the 2014 Grass Fed Exchange Conference next week (July 30 – Aug 1) in Columbia, MO.  If you have an interest in pasture based agriculture, I highly encourage you to attend……the conference provides an excellent opportunity to network with the 500+ attendees & listen to qualified speakers discuss the latest sustainable animal production methodology……. it is not too late to register….more information can be found at www.grassfedexchange.com

We’re again helping sponsor the event…….Dan Glenn, Morgan Hartman & I look forward to seeing you there!…..look for the Sustainable Genetics exhibit  in the trade show.

Winter 2014

Greetings from the Southern “Ice Desk”!  We’re located an hour west of Atlanta, GA & have just experienced the second snow/ice in the past two weeks!  The first caught our elected leadership with their “pants down.  Decades of “urban sprawl” land use planning, inadequate rapid transit, inept leadership & two inches of snow literally shut down a metropolitan area of six million people!..…..better prepared for this second one though power outages are significantly higher. It takes “crisis to create change” and I’m hoping we’ll finally see some vision emerge.

Other than the above all’s well in the southland as we begin our 10th year in business.

Website Changes

Our website is currently undergoing some major changes and additions……when completed, you’ll have access to additional detailed information regarding our semen offering for this breeding season……..20 bulls of four breeds (Angus, Red Angus, Hereford & Shorthorn)……all “old line” true pasture based of the highest genetic integrity from “high convenience trait”, long-lived  cows.

A Recent Humorous Experience

Last fall I had the opportunity to speak at the Red Devon USA National Conference about Pasture Based Beef Genetics.  About halfway through my presentation, as I began discussing EPD’s, a gentleman midway back in the audience raised his hand and asks “What is EPD an acronym for”?  I hadn’t expected that question so I proceeded to explain what I previously believed to be universal knowledge including their widespread misuse and “the unintended negative consequences” they’ve bestowed upon the beef industry.  Thinking I’d thoroughly covered the topic, I moved along into my assignment but a few minutes later the same man raised his hand again……I acknowledged him and he said “I believe a more accurate definition of EPD’s would be Expected Profit Deficit’s”……..his comment brought a thunderous round of applause and laughter!  It took a few minutes for me to get back on task.

The Paper Chase

Purebred Cattle Breeders chase traits in popularity trends like Fox Hunters pursue their prey.  With disregard to where they are going, they follow the lead dog.  Two of the transitional movements to “improve” beef cattle had something in common:  Selection toward smaller cattle in the ‘40’s to ‘50’s and the more recent pursuit of large frame cattle.  Neither gave consideration to these type changes would affect the maternal traits in beef females.  During popularity trends in beef cattle there never seems to be anyone guarding the hen house.

The next Hunt in the Purebred Beef Business is the pursuit of higher EPD’s.  Stacking pedigrees to maximize Expected Progeny Differences has already become a popular pursuit.  Will Purebred Beef Breeders go too far and adversely affect the Maternal Traits?  Probably, they always have.

The Paper Chase has begun.  Who is guarding the hen house?

(Roy Beeby, 1992)

Not much has changed…….when will we ever learn?

Grass Based Cattle for Sale

We frequently are contacted by producers wanting to access our genetics but are unable to utilize AI in their operations…….they want to know where they can find replacement females or bulls meeting our criteria…….optimum reproductive performance in minimal input environments.    We’ve expanded our business model to include live animal marketing of approved genetics……..primarily connecting our semen customers with producers seeking cattle that can “make a living” on forage.

We currently have a fair inventory of both bulls and females (of the breeds we represent) available throughout most of the US.  Please send me an email bill@sustainablegenetics.com if you’re looking for minimal input genetics…….we’ll also have cattle for sale on our website.

PS – There are several bull sales occurring in the next 6-8 weeks selling cattle we can highly recommend….just contact me if you’re interested.


Saw an email recently from a southeastern land grant institution addressing winter nutritional deficiencies in beef herds due inadequate forage quality…….cattle with full stomachs literally starving to death………recommended more energy (which increases production costs)……same institution still advocating beef herd improvement through the use of maximum trait EPD’s…….got to wonder when they’re going to figure out the “genetics have outpaced their environment”…….appears the quest to improve producers out of business continues.

Pinebank NZ ET Calves

The first Pinebank New Zealand ET calves are currently being born at Dan Glenn’s operation in Fitzgerald, Georgia.  Dan & Willie Falloon  http://pinebank.co.nz/ established Pinebank US Southeast to make commercial Angus bulls available to producers wanting to reduce their production costs through the use of linebred, beef genetics selected for many generations on total forage (Pinebank is the only seedstock operation of any breed that I’m aware of that has a four year guarantee for feet on the bulls they sell) ………the first bulls will be available for sale spring of 2015.  If you’re interested in purchasing these bulls or would like more information about this project, please contact either myself or Dan Glenn dan@sustainablegenetics.com

Many thanks for your interest.