The idea of breeds running a s i n g l eacrossbreed evaluation, with all the breeds being on the same base so the expected progeny differences (EPDs) are directly comparable, has long been a dream for many of us in the industry.
With the 107th annual National Western Stock Show approaching this January, it is interesting to look back at the first major type change that occurred two decades before its 1906 opening. Before the 1900s, the American Fat Stock Show in the former Dexter Park by the stockyards on the south side of Chicago was the most important show of the day.
It’s that time of year for breed associations to have their spring National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) run to produce expected progeny differences (EPDs) for a release somewhere around the first of the year. The quality of these EPDs is directly related to the quality of data that is used to produce them.
Va l u ebased marketing of fed cattle is quickly becoming the norm, so genetically designing cattle that pay premiums on such a marketing system should be a consideration for cow/calf producers in order to add value to their calf crop.
Most everybody is familiar with DNA, the basic coding for life. Genomics is just a fancy word for finding places that are informative on areas of DNA for certain traits. The technology first used was markers, which is essentially identifying a place on the DNA that was closely associated with the area or gene of interest.
In the mid-1980s, basically all breed associations started their National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) programs to produce EPDs on their whole herd book. What their breeders did with the information differed greatly. Without a doubt, of the major breeds, Angus breeders were the first to pick up and run with these new tools.
I read with great interest last week’s article, “Composites may trade predictability for simplicity” by Miranda Reiman of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). The hypothesis of the article was that using composite (F1) bulls had a number of disadvantages compared to purebred bulls and straightbreeding.
Everyone likes to look at bulls. It s h o u l d come as no shock to anyone who has looked, however, that a bull can get a lot of attention because of his expected progeny differences (EPDs), then turn out to be a dud at the sale. The key point is that he gained attention based on his performance and resulting EPDs.
I met Dr. Good on quite a few occasions at the Saddle and Sirloin Club banquet, where they hang the portrait of one person in the livestock industry every year. It is the highest honor you can get in our business and one Dr. Good had received years ago. My impression was he had a classy personality befitting someone of the WWII gen eration,.
Kris Ringwall had an excellent article in his monthly Beef Talk column titled “Cattle size is different than cow size.” In his article, he expresses that there can be huge differences in cattle size as well as variability in the shape of the body mass.
One can assume similar circumstances existed for most of Continental Europe. However, with the passing of the feudal system and the manors, and the shift to individual ownership, fields were enclosed and better methods of farming became possible.
We are q u i c k l y coming up on show season with Louisville in November and Denver after the first of the year. Many breeds have stubbornly held on to the show ring as their major points of selection while other more successful breeds have moved beyond this more traditional form of selection.
June is the time of the year when most breed associations run the second of their biannual genetic analyses, and although the expected progeny differences (EPDs) are released mid to late summer, the analysis is typically referred to as the fall run.
The recent Beef Improvement Fede r a t i o n (BIF) Conf e r e n c e held in Bozeman, MT, was a highlight for anyone interested in beef cattle genetics, efficiency and new technology. For background, beef production is the fourth largest U.S. manufacturing industry with $71 billion retail equivalent value in 2006 (www.