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Dr. Bob Hough, WLJ Contributor

Livestock Industry Opinions
May 6, 2016
Ritchie was born Aug. 3, 1935 to Donald and Irma (Johanson) Ritchie in Storm Lake, IA, where he grew up on a general livestock farm. Upon graduation from Albert City High School in 1953, he enrolled in Iowa State University (ISU) where he received his Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry.


Livestock Industry Opinions
Feb 12, 2016
Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) has long boasted that they have the most precise and reliable EPDs (expected progeny differences) in the industry for good reason. An EPD is a genetic prediction of a trait in the units of that trait—pounds, square inches, probability, etc.


Cattle and Beef Industry News
Oct 16, 2015
For spring-calving seedstock herds, fall is a busy time for data collection. The basis for any performancetesting program is collecting whole-herd weaning weights for all calves raised through weaning. Almost all EPDs are calculated with the assumption that all calves in a contemporary group were reported at weaning.


Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Cattle and Beef 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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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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