Our program is the pursuit of "Ultimate Angus Genetics." Its target is to create Angus animals with powerful and predictable genetics that are complete and have total-performance. It is based on our building a herd of great females from top cow families that are easy keeping in any environment and produce range bulls that can deliver the highest quality at the meat counter.
Over the past decade, purebred breeders and commercial cattlemen endorse what we do by buying what we raise and liking the improvements they get and the profitable gains. They can tell when someone is doing the right thing. They can tell the difference when someone really cares about what they do and what they offer for sale. Our sales rank in the top each year across the country because our offerings have near perfect phenotypes, the right pedigrees, high-performance and carcass EPDs, and $Beef values which rank in the top of the Angus population. They also like the fact that each female and bull lot have been DNA tested for all the latest markers since 2003 when we were the first sale in the U.S. to report it. We believe thoroughly in applying this technology aggressively as it advances in our program. We believe no single factor from the seedstock producer to the retailer has the potential to affect profitability more than genetics and will provide more accurate evaluation of genetic potential, especially at an early age.
We have made the decision to keep the genetic base of our program broad with focus on consistency. The merit of this proven production program is the fact that more than 90% of our bull calf crop pass the strict criteria to sell as a breeding animal in our annual bull sale, a percentage that would be impossible to achieve in a larger volume commodity production system. Vintage Angus Ranch has become one of California's most recognized and respected sources of superior Angus genetics for the commercial cattle industry and was honored by them by being selected as California Seedstock Producer of the Year in 2004. The 2013 Carcass Maker Bull Sale at the Sierra foothill ranch averaged $5111 and had the highest average per lot of any sale in California on 168 bulls.
The long-term success of our program has stemmed from our producing and continually searching for great females. Some Angus producers believe the arrival of new technologies has led to the decline of the importance of cow families, but we see just the opposite. We have found outstanding individuals within our proven cow families that have given us superior carcass traits combined with superior functional traits, and each year we work hard to discover more by acquiring leading edge genetics from across the U.S. The foundation of our superior cow herd is built on these females from proven cow families with highly inheritable qualities because they provide higher accuracy and give us our best calves every year. Running cows on our 5,000-acre Sierra Hill ranch allows us to see which Angus females are the best foragers with natural fleshing ability and those with structural soundness, udder quality, fertility, and superior functional qualities. We are rigorously selecting at every stage of development all economically important traits measured by EPDs that include calving-ease, maternal traits, pre-weaning growth, post-weaning growth, and carcass merit, while combining fertility and production. We are known for our balanced breeding program because we excel at balancing all EPDs with those functional traits that have no EPDs. We are relentless in our search for the right sires to complement and advance the traits of our superior cow herd. We go to great length to make sure the matings improve the right qualities without losing any of the important traits we have achieved in our females, while breeding calving-ease range bulls that are stout, well-muscled, with enough frame, structurally sound, highly fertile, and profitable for our commercial cattlemen.
VAR was one of the first in California to introduce ET technology, and embryo transfer has become our primary production system with a majority of calves now produced by embryo transfer. We select only the top cows to serve as donors each year, and we manage their reproductive health very closely at our embryo transplant facility specially designed to accomplish the strict requirements of this science.
At Vintage Angus Ranch, our program is always raising the bar in the pursuit of excellence and Ultimate Angus Genetics. We are dedicated to never stop emphasizing the importance of superior maternal and functional qualities and will always be improving them in our breeding program. At the same time, we are balancing them with EPD values and DNA markers to achieve the production efficiency, performance and carcass traits. We take great pride in our program and other breeders' approval of what we do and keep that trust by trying hard to do our work better tomorrow than we did today so our customers can improve their herds and the industry gets what it wants. We will always be in tune with what the end product needs to be.