AI & Genetic Diversity

Help Support CattleToday:

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
The recent issue of Hereford World had an article where they said almost 50% of the new Hereford registrations were from AI rather than natural service. I assume there is a similar percentage in other breeds?

If, and I'm not sure of the numbers, these AI calves are mostly from a relatively limited number of "popular" AI bulls, wouldn't that limit the genetic diversity over time? Doesn't this increase the possibility of more curly calf type situations?

Doesn't natural service encourage use of a larger number of bulls and maintain a wider genetic base? Doesn't natural service also maintain a market for more bulls and breeders?

Just a newcomer's theoretical question.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
0
Location
Brenham, Texas
Any trait or syndrome is the result of 2 animals having like genes that happen to match up. Genetic diversity has its place and can be used to personify quality traits as well as enhance existing traits. The reverse is true as you don,t always get the genes you want. Sometimes you get genes that pop up that are undesirable. Breeding close can be used to strengthen genetics. But it is the same as out crossing, sometimes you don't get what you want. Either way you do it, it is all about culling as to not let the bad genes pass down to future progeny.
The quantity of bulls to select from with AI is far greater than that of live bulls when one considers the quality you get for the price. I have no idea how many years the Hereford people have been collecting semen or how far back one can buy semen but I am sure there is a tremendous choice. There are certainly enough choices so as not to worry about breeding close for what ever reason that would bother you.
Natural service would limit the number of bulls used on a herd. With AI multiple bulls can be used on the same herd.
There are certain bulls I want to show up in the pedigree of the animals I select. The more times this particular bull shows up the more I like it. This bull may be 5 to 10 generations back in the pedigree. Although I know those genes have been diluted I still am bringing a small amount forward. The reverse is true. There a certain bulls I do not allow in the pedigree as to not allow certain bad traits to be brought forward.
Many AI bulls have been proven over time. One simply cannot get the same proof with a new herd bull, although predictions can be made to some degree.
 

Frankie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2003
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
SRBeef":2pifnqbe said:
The recent issue of Hereford World had an article where they said almost 50% of the new Hereford registrations were from AI rather than natural service. I assume there is a similar percentage in other breeds?

If, and I'm not sure of the numbers, these AI calves are mostly from a relatively limited number of "popular" AI bulls, wouldn't that limit the genetic diversity over time? Doesn't this increase the possibility of more curly calf type situations?

Doesn't natural service encourage use of a larger number of bulls and maintain a wider genetic base? Doesn't natural service also maintain a market for more bulls and breeders?

Just a newcomer's theoretical question.

From an Angus standpoint:

More than half the Angus calves registered are AI sired. No, it shouldn't limit genetic diversity, if you've got enough bloodlines. Yes, it could increase the chances of a genetic defect showing up. IMO, we need to know about those genetic defects so we can get those animals out of the gene pool.
No, natural service doesn't necessarily encourage the use of a larger number of bulls or a wider genetic base. Geneticaslly, there's not a lot of difference in using a bull or one of his sons. Natural service may allow more people to play in the purebred game, but are they producing quality animals? Is that good for the breed?


At Angus sales you'll see the daughter of a well know, proven, AI Angus bull sell for $2-3-500 more than a granddaughter of that same bull. At some sales we attend, pasture bred heifers will sell for not much more than commercial Angus prices. I don't know if Hereford is there yet, but I think you'll see that happening to them, too. (Disclaimer: this doesn't include sales of show animals.)
 

4CTophand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
231
Reaction score
0
Frankie":295zdzl5 said:
SRBeef":295zdzl5 said:
The recent issue of Hereford World had an article where they said almost 50% of the new Hereford registrations were from AI rather than natural service. I assume there is a similar percentage in other breeds?

If, and I'm not sure of the numbers, these AI calves are mostly from a relatively limited number of "popular" AI bulls, wouldn't that limit the genetic diversity over time? Doesn't this increase the possibility of more curly calf type situations?

Doesn't natural service encourage use of a larger number of bulls and maintain a wider genetic base? Doesn't natural service also maintain a market for more bulls and breeders?

Just a newcomer's theoretical question.

If, and I'm not sure of the numbers, these AI calves are mostly from a relatively limited number of "popular" AI bulls, wouldn't that limit the genetic diversity over time?

From a PB Angus and Simmental Breeder:
It is true that more than 50% of the calves born in these 2 breeds are AI sired, and by doing so--
1. PB breeders and commercial operations alike are able to utilize Bulls with outstanding traits.
2. Breeder services have a lot of data behind AI sires, which provides valuable information of those quality traits.
3. AI sired calves bring more $$ (because of that information on traits)
4. Cost of AI vs keeping bulls available for pasture breeding (AI is cheaper) (may be more involved --- your time)
5. A smaller window of calving can be accomplished using AI and calves are more uniform in size and weight, which increases profits
6. Limiting some genetics is a good thing -- like bad calving ease, poor structure, sub-par fertility, horns.
7. And I haven't ever had to go out and either bring in my AI bulls, vaccinated them, worm them, trim feet. show them or feed them
You must remember the PB breeders scope is much different than the commercial producer because "we" are trying to raise breeding stock that the industry wants--- for the commercial cattle operator/ stocker/ feedyard/ packer; and 90% of the PB bulls go to commercial operators.

Doesn't this increase the possibility of more curly calf type situations?

As far as genetic Fubars like -- CCS. CCS has been isolated in the Angus breed with only a few bloodlines being affected... we are lucky that we have dedicated people working for us in our breed associations and universities that are on the ball. Not everyone does, for instance: Other Fubars like -- PHA and TH in Maine Anjou is still ongoing and hurts their popularity immensely.Traced back to a Bull born in 1970 and work began to isolate its' occurence didnt start until 2006 in M.A. -- they have a long long long way to go.

Doesn't natural service encourage use of a larger number of bulls and maintain a wider genetic base?

Natural service will always be a part of our cattle industry as some ranchers just don't have the time or want to invest in the time to use AI, but many do... I don't know about you, but I am willing to forgo some of the traits out there that are not getting it done.

Doesn't natural service also maintain a market for more bulls and breeders?

Sure it does, but I believe there are a lot of breeds out there that don't even need to be here. Some breeds just don't have the genetic traits that make the most $$-- why have them?

I am hoping some day cattle producers will be held responsible for not only quantity pounds of beef produced, but also and most importantly quality pounds produced. Aren't we in the BEEF business? Doesn't Quality count? If we adhered to what we really should believe in, which is Quality of our Product we wouldn't need over 100 breeds of cattle taking up valuable space in this country. LOL

There are over 100 different breeds in the US alone... from Dexter to Wagyu. This is proof that the US cattle raiser will not ever work together and with this lack of cooperation, you lose in this society. Some just need to go.

You know what having 100 breeds of cattle in the US reminds me of?

Newt Gingrich said it best prior to the Democratic National Convention (DNC)>>> He said "the DNC was the largest conglomeration of idiots, liars and fools ever assembled under one roof".

We would have the same thing be said of us, as cattle raisers, if we ever were brought all together to discuss the need for 100 different cattle breeds in the US.

So now you think I am off topic?

You are asking about Diversity--- we have PLENTY NOW---

and what do we get from all this diversity??? --


the most important thing you won't think of>>>>>> NO Uniformity of Product Produced!

Just think what would happen if every time Roger Clemmons picked up a baseball it was a little smaller or little larger to pitch it to A-Rod? ----- he would be in the Hall of Shame for Most Wild Pitches ever thrown in a career!
 

Brandonm22

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
1,848
Reaction score
0
SRBeef":1h5i06y5 said:
The recent issue of Hereford World had an article where they said almost 50% of the new Hereford registrations were from AI rather than natural service. I assume there is a similar percentage in other breeds?

If, and I'm not sure of the numbers, these AI calves are mostly from a relatively limited number of "popular" AI bulls, wouldn't that limit the genetic diversity over time? Doesn't this increase the possibility of more curly calf type situations?

Doesn't natural service encourage use of a larger number of bulls and maintain a wider genetic base? Doesn't natural service also maintain a market for more bulls and breeders?

Just a newcomer's theoretical question.

I think if you combine EPD chasing with heavy AI use breed wide, it definitely decreases genetic diversity. I don't have the data to prove it but I bet Angus had more genetic diversity 30 years ago (when they were a smaller breed) than they do now. People start chasing multiple EPDs on the outer 5% of the bell curve and invariably there aren't that many unrelated AI sires out there on that cutting edge. I am not saying that is ALL bad; but it does tremendously magnify the role that a handful of bulls play at the cost of numerous other sires.
 
OP
S

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
Brandonm22":3t0x97l5 said:
I think if you combine EPD chasing with heavy AI use breed wide, it definitely decreases genetic diversity. I don't have the data to prove it but I bet Angus had more genetic diversity 30 years ago (when they were a smaller breed) than they do now. People start chasing multiple EPDs on the outer 5% of the bell curve and invariably there aren't that many unrelated AI sires out there on that cutting edge. I am not saying that is ALL bad; but it does tremendously magnify the role that a handful of bulls play at the cost of numerous other sires.

This is along the lines that I was thinking. There are trade offs in about everything. Diversity is generally a good thing.

Thanks to everyone for the replies and discussion. Some thoughtful comments.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
0
Location
Brenham, Texas
SRBeef":28f29kop said:
Brandonm22":28f29kop said:
I think if you combine EPD chasing with heavy AI use breed wide, it definitely decreases genetic diversity. I don't have the data to prove it but I bet Angus had more genetic diversity 30 years ago (when they were a smaller breed) than they do now. People start chasing multiple EPDs on the outer 5% of the bell curve and invariably there aren't that many unrelated AI sires out there on that cutting edge. I am not saying that is ALL bad; but it does tremendously magnify the role that a handful of bulls play at the cost of numerous other sires.

This is along the lines that I was thinking. There are trade offs in about everything. Diversity is generally a good thing.

Thanks to everyone for the replies and discussion. Some thoughtful comments.
I am lost on this. If you use a bull for natural service 50% of every calf in a given number of cattle will be the genetics from that bull.
With AI there can be a different sire for every calf. The EPD,s can be selected to complement the individual cow.
Study of pedigrees will tell one very quickly wither you have genetic diversity or not.
When using the same bull on a herd you will get a more uniform calf crop. By continuing changing out bulls every year it will give some genetic diversity from year to year but not between retained heifers. But isn't a more uniform group more genetically the same than diverse? When selection of a bull is made don,t you still have to look back at a pedigree to see that you will be getting this diversity. Will it be dissimilar to every cow in the herd?
Are you saying that using EPD's as a tool is a bad thing? Are you saying that not having the information or not looking at it will give you better genetic diversification? How do you define EPD chasing in your context.? I can see where selection of bulls for the latest trend or popularity will lead to less diversification and many have been guilty of it. I call them name dropper breeders.
If you buy a bull from a seed stock producer you have to know how he bred the bull for the diversity you are looking for.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
We have genetic diversity in the bloodlines but lack of same when it comes to performance in our environment.
But I agree that the bull of the month club (a breed over using one particular bull becaue he's hot) can create more problems then it will solve.
 

Brandonm22

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
1,848
Reaction score
0
novatech":3d3ps2cr said:
I am lost on this. If you use a bull for natural service 50% of every calf in a given number of cattle will be the genetics from that bull.
With AI there can be a different sire for every calf. The EPD,s can be selected to complement the individual cow.
Study of pedigrees will tell one very quickly wither you have genetic diversity or not.

Oh obviously in an individual herd you can have a lot more diversity using 10 -20 AI sires than by buying ONE bull every three to five years. I am talking BREED WIDE. I can deal with lack of genetic diversity in a cow herd. It can get a little dangerous when a sire registers thousands of cows and then we go to his 4 or 5 best sons because they "have the best numbers".

Grab an AI catalog off the shelf and start reading Angus pedigrees: Bon View Bando 598, B/R New Design 036, D H D Traveler 6807, N Bar Emulation EXT, and G A R Precision 1680 appear over and over again in most of the pedigrees. They still have a lot of good cattle that are outcrosses to those five sires but the amount of progeny, grand progeny, and great grand progeny that those premier sires have registered is enormous. We have only been looking at EPDs seriously for 25-30 years; but the impact those sires out on the outer edge of the bell curve have had is significant. IF you chased bulls that were in the top 5% of the breed for calving ease, birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling, ribeye area, carcass weight, and scrotal circumference and those were the only sires that you used and you did that generation after generation after generation increasingly your gene pool would decrease as sires that did not meet your credentials were not added to your gene pool. IF every other bull seller were doing the same thing OVER time 95% of the gene pool would be dumped. This would get rid of a lot of sorry cattle; but it could also lead to a phenotype that may not work for everybody in all environments and you increase the risk of multiplying a defect like CCS in the Precision cattle.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
0
Location
Brenham, Texas
Brandonm22":9kcikqax said:
novatech":9kcikqax said:
I am lost on this. If you use a bull for natural service 50% of every calf in a given number of cattle will be the genetics from that bull.
With AI there can be a different sire for every calf. The EPD,s can be selected to complement the individual cow.
Study of pedigrees will tell one very quickly wither you have genetic diversity or not.

Oh obviously in an individual herd you can have a lot more diversity using 10 -20 AI sires than by buying ONE bull every three to five years. I am talking BREED WIDE. I can deal with lack of genetic diversity in a cow herd. It can get a little dangerous when a sire registers thousands of cows and then we go to his 4 or 5 best sons because they "have the best numbers".

Grab an AI catalog off the shelf and start reading Angus pedigrees: Bon View Bando 598, B/R New Design 036, D H D Traveler 6807, N Bar Emulation EXT, and G A R Precision 1680 appear over and over again in most of the pedigrees. They still have a lot of good cattle that are outcrosses to those five sires but the amount of progeny, grand progeny, and great grand progeny that those premier sires have registered is enormous. We have only been looking at EPDs seriously for 25-30 years; but the impact those sires out on the outer edge of the bell curve have had is significant. IF you chased bulls that were in the top 5% of the breed for calving ease, birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling, ribeye area, carcass weight, and scrotal circumference and those were the only sires that you used and you did that generation after generation after generation increasingly your gene pool would decrease as sires that did not meet your credentials were not added to your gene pool. IF every other bull seller were doing the same thing OVER time 95% of the gene pool would be dumped. This would get rid of a lot of sorry cattle; but it could also lead to a phenotype that may not work for everybody in all environments and you increase the risk of multiplying a defect like CCS in the Precision cattle.
I cannot argue with the poor breeding techniques of the mob playing copy cat. And I agree this is what I see in the Brahman bred too.
I have no doubt that it is true of all breeds in general. Unfortunately it shows a general lack of intelligence in the majority. It is simply easier to market cattle by name dropping than having to work at developing something better.
On the other hand those people that developed the name dropper through proper selection time, marketing, and disciplined culling are laughing all the way to the bank.
Personally I like to study the pedigrees of those name droppers and see what it took to develop them. But first and foremost I breed toward a goal of desirable traits for cows that will still be only 1/2 if my ultimate goal. The AI bulls I use may or may not be the latest model pasted on the bill boards.
Having said this and agreeing with you that the vast majority breed to popularity it is only a reasonable expectation that most of the herd bulls being produced are bred the same way. So again the choices are greater with AI because one can breed to bulls that have been dead for many years or up and coming bulls. There simply are more choices not less. Nobody is being forced to run with the masses. The biggest difference is the work involved. The work involved starts with acquiring knowledge. ( That is where I'm at)
 

MO_cows

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
2,501
Reaction score
1
Location
outside Kansas City MO
I'm probably going to regret this.......

4Ctophand, you are dead wrong about the independence and diversity of beef producers being a bad thing. There so many different environments and management styles out there, and we are lucky to have so much bio-diversity in our cattle and be able to choose from many different breeds with distinct characteristics and "custom blend" them to get what works best for each one of us.

Think about what the loss of diversity and independence has done to poultry and pork. Many of those producers are now just the peons of the mega-conglomerate food corporations, inc., raising their patented, mono-cultured strains. And practicing bio-security to the nth degree because the animals can grow very fast and efficiently under ideal conditions, but they can die fast and efficiently, too, if exposed to the wrong germ. And the end product still sucks, it has to be juiced up with their patented solutions. No thanks.

In cattle, when one breed gets really popular and starts being mass produced it is usually to their detriment. There's a lot of trashy Angus cattle bringing good money just because they are Angus. I think that's how Hereford became infamous for pinkeye, prolapse, and lousy udders. Because at one time, Hereford cows ruled the range. The breed that wins the popularity contest loses some overall quality, IMHO. I'm not slamming Angus or Hereford as a whole, there are great cattle out there in both breeds today, I'm just saying some pretty crappy ones became breeding stock because the breed was popular at the time.

Ok, I'm done. Soapbox stored away. Now I'm gonna get it.......
 

brandonm_13

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
632
Reaction score
3
Location
Tennessee
MO_cows":12bn6i2h said:
I'm probably going to regret this.......

4Ctophand, you are dead wrong about the independence and diversity of beef producers being a bad thing. There so many different environments and management styles out there, and we are lucky to have so much bio-diversity in our cattle and be able to choose from many different breeds with distinct characteristics and "custom blend" them to get what works best for each one of us.

Think about what the loss of diversity and independence has done to poultry and pork. Many of those producers are now just the peons of the mega-conglomerate food corporations, inc., raising their patented, mono-cultured strains. And practicing bio-security to the nth degree because the animals can grow very fast and efficiently under ideal conditions, but they can die fast and efficiently, too, if exposed to the wrong germ. And the end product still sucks, it has to be juiced up with their patented solutions. No thanks.

In cattle, when one breed gets really popular and starts being mass produced it is usually to their detriment. There's a lot of trashy Angus cattle bringing good money just because they are Angus. I think that's how Hereford became infamous for pinkeye, prolapse, and lousy udders. Because at one time, Hereford cows ruled the range. The breed that wins the popularity contest loses some overall quality, IMHO. I'm not slamming Angus or Hereford as a whole, there are great cattle out there in both breeds today, I'm just saying some pretty crappy ones became breeding stock because the breed was popular at the time.

Ok, I'm done. Soapbox stored away. Now I'm gonna get it.......

:nod:
 
Top