This article is about what it means to be a seedstock operation in the cattle business. Seedstock producers, also known as cattle breeders, are genetic suppliers that sell breeding bulls and heifers with specific genetic traits to commercial ranches.
Commercial operations use the registered bulls to breed to their own cows or add purebred heifers to their existing cow herd for the purposes of breeding them and raising calves that are then sold to become beef.
Seedstock suppliers typically have herds of purebred cattle, registered with a breed association, meaning each animal has papers and data showing information about their linages and their genetic characteristics and potential. Examples of beef cattle breeds are Angus, Hereford, ShortHorn, Limousine, Simmental, Charlois, Salers, Gelbvieh, etc.
Running a seedstock herd also means that data is collected on each animal, from birth throughout its life. Information such as weight at birth, docility, calf vigor, ease of birth on the cow, condition of the cow at calving, weight of calf at weaning, amount of milk needed to raise a calf, fertility of bulls when they are grown and are ready to be sold, quality of feet, size of frame, feed efficiency, carcass traits, mothering ability in cows and many other items, defines the genetic potential of the animal. This data is then turned into the breed association along with the parentage and expected progeny differences —