Sandman:"Here's the way I see it; Packers buying Aussie lean does nothing to put money in my pocket - I'm not selling Aussie lean. If they couldn't get that lean, they would use chucks from US cattle - which I am selling. The folks who talk about the "value" of those rounds should tell the whole story on who owns that "value"."
Who owns the "ALLEGED" value of "M"COOL?
Why on earth would you want to devalue your chucks to lean down 50/50 trim?
Why wouldn't you rather sell your chucks for $2.00 per pound and import cheap lean trimmings to add value to your worthless 50/50 trim?
Sandman: "If the 50/50 trim is a byproduct (and not a profit center), it should be minimized."
You are absolutely right about that. It should be minimized. Unfortunately, as you accurately pointed out, marbling and seam fat go hand in hand and easy fleshing cattle tend to be found more readily in harsh environments.
Sandman: "Packers can do this by paying less for cattle that produce a lot of it and paying more for cattle that do not."
They already do. They pay a premium for Yield grade 2s over Yield grade 3s. An angus that produces a Yield grade 1 carcass that grades choice would probably not do too well in our northern climates.
You are right with your basic contention here.
Sandman: "During my 25 years of paying attention to "what they want", I've seen ranchers change their cattle half a dozen times. This tells me ranchers have no problem with trying to provide "what they want" if they see any economic advantage."
The problem is what you sacrifice in fertility when you start reducing seam fat in your genetics.
Sandman: " Even though we're finding marbling does not provide the benefits we once thought it did, the packers want high marbled beef and the fat that comes with it. Then, they claim the need imports to mix with that fat in a salvage operation and try to tell us we're profiting from the value? Our system is antiquated and our knowledge begs an overhauling. Yet, those in position to modernize don't do it. Don't you wonder why?"
Don't you remember McDonalds CEO talking about the difficulty in obtaining cull cows?
The issue was a difficulty in obtaining "CHEAP" cull cows. If McDonalds adds too much expense to their hamburgers, consumers will switch to cheaper protein sources and we lose.
You are basically right though, we have chased this marbling fad for so long and now we have the seam fat that goes with it and contributes to our surplus 50/50 trim. It's also true that big ships turn slowly which creates an opportunity for smaller niche markets to produce and provide a product that reduces fat, that ages to compensate for marbling, and has the ability to survive in colder northern climates.
That's precisely where branded beef programs that address these needs have stepped in to pick up the ball.