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Dr. Bob Hough, WLJ Contributor

Opinion
Aug 31, 2015
The fall bull-buying season is practically upon us, which means preparation for both sellers and buyers. Most bulls sold in the fall are approximately 18 months, but a strong yearling market still exists in areas where fall is the natural calving season.


News
May 8, 2015
Nichols has always believed in the power of science and the use of objective data with the philosophy that to improve it, you must be able to measure it. Of course what data is economically important will vary by operation, but it is necessary to set base lines for production and goals for where you want to go.
News
Mar 3, 2015
Using objective selection in purchasing bulls is of the utmost importance, and with large contemporary groups, ultrasound and genomically enhanced EPDs, basing a large part of selection on genetic predictions can be done more accurately than ever. However, it is important not to get lost in an alphabet soup of data.
News
Mar 3, 2015
Using objective selection in purchasing bulls is of the utmost importance, and with large contemporary groups, ultrasound and genomically enhanced EPDs, basing a large part of selection on genetic predictions can be done more accurately than ever. However, it is important not to get lost in an alphabet soup of data.
Opinion
Oct 17, 2014
Proper selection of heifers is vitally important as our industry works to expand. There are some general principles for any commercial operation to consider, as well as more intensive selection criteria for sire-identified herds, as well as genomic tests.
News
Jun 30, 2014
The Annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meeting was recently held in Lincoln, NE, with an eye on future genetic improvement in the beef industry. This included the role of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), increasing cattle output through efficiency, selection for novel traits and new models for genetic selection.
News
May 2, 2014
Preparing sires for breeding season is an important job to ensure a high pregnancy rate. This involves strategies for both young and established bulls. It has been an extremely cold winter in some parts of the country, which can affect the fertility of bulls.
News
Mar 7, 2014
All producers should be striving to purchase bulls that are as predictable as possible for the economically important traits desired. To accomplish this, EPDs (expected progeny differences) are the best tool available, but even they can vary widely on their predictability depending on accuracy.
Opinion
Dec 20, 2013
I just attended the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, and the National Western Stock Show will soon be upon us. I help conduct the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at Louisville, which is one of my highlights of the year.
Opinion
Oct 18, 2013
weaned is arguably the busiest and most important time for data collection for seedstock producers. Proper contemporary groups must be formed, as well as weaning data, disposition scores, cow weights, body condition scores, reason codes for culling and genomics, all collected this time of year for spring calving cows.
Opinion
Aug 30, 2013
With the whole Zilmax controversy shining a light on the use of beta-agonists, I think we all need to stand back and review their value to the industry. I question the real benefits of them to our industry when in my opinion crossbreeding our current British-based cowherd with Continental cattle may achieve the same results.
News
Jun 28, 2013
The Beef Improvement Federation’s (BIF) 45th Annual Res e a r c h S y m p osium and Convention was held recently from June 12-15, 2013, in Oklahoma City, OK. The center of discussion was on the place of crossbreeding in today’s industry, feed efficiency and fitting cattle to the environment with straight-breeding vs.
Opinion
Jun 7, 2013
S e e dstock producers submit performance data to their associations to produce genetic predictions, and the basis for these are weight/ measure deviations within a contemporary group. To make these genetic predictions as precise and reliable as possible, it is of paramount importance that contemporary groups be formed properly.
Opinion
Apr 19, 2013
The Baldie is back. Although Angus still dominates the bull market and the make-up of this nation’s cowherd, there has been a definite resurgence in the Hereford sales. I feel this can be traced directly to the drought. On paper, Hereford’s are very modest in their production traits, especially on milk.
Opinion
Mar 15, 2013
It has always been a finetuning process to balance quality and cutability, but with an improving economy and retail giants like Walmart moving to Choice product, the advantages of inherent marbling is becoming clear.
News
Feb 15, 2013
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.
News
Dec 28, 2012
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.
Opinion
Dec 14, 2012
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.
Opinion
Oct 26, 2012
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.
Opinion
Sep 21, 2012
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.
Opinion
Aug 17, 2012
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.
Opinion
Jul 20, 2012
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.
News
Jun 29, 2012
Without a doubt, more and more cattle are being straightbred every year, with Angus being the dominate breed. The two main benefits of crossbreeding are heterosis and breed complementarity.
News
Apr 20, 2012
A large seedstock operation had bull sales in the spring and fall. I asked the owner, who has since passed away, how he decided which bulls to put in the spring sale and which in the fall sale.
News
Apr 6, 2012
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.
News
Mar 2, 2012
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,.
Opinion
Feb 24, 2012
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.
News
Dec 23, 2011
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.
News
Oct 24, 2011
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.
Opinion
Jul 22, 2011
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.
Opinion
Jun 24, 2011
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.


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