Many cattle breeders around the world have made their animals “prettier” but they haven’t actually turned their cattle into a better product, US rancher Jim Jensen has claimed.

Hosted by Foyle Food Group on a visit to NI last week, Jensen, who runs the Lucky 7 Angus cattle operation from his base in Wyoming, outlined how he has focused on improving the feed efficiency of his cattle since 1990.

Over the years, he has developed his operation, with a GrowSafe feed efficiency system installed in 2010 to assess feed intakes against liveweight gain of the young bulls produced from his 2,500 breeding cow herd.

In addition, the farm is over 7,000ft above sea level and in a cold and dry climate, so ‘mother nature’ has weeded out less durable bloodlines. “We are raising cattle in some of the toughest conditions in the world,” said Jensen

He believes that his mature Angus cows are up to 45% more feed efficient and finishing cattle up to 25% more feed efficient than competitors.

That confidence in his herd’s genetics means he offers buyers a guarantee that his bulls will last at least four years.

“We are still the only one doing it. I thought others would follow, but they didn’t. Our competitors are feeding too much and making them pretty,” said Jensen.


Improving feed efficiency will also help change the narrative around greenhouse gas emissions from the beef industry, given that methane produced during the rumination process is effectively lost energy.

“If we take that energy and create more of a beef product and less of a methane product – that is the solution,” Jensen added.