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An AHA response.

alexfarms

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I received this response from AHA today. I give Mr Ward alot of credit for taking the time to respond to me. His response is on top and my initial inquiry is at the bottom.


John,
Thanks for the questions. Yes, the data from Amana has been put into the analysis and there were 11 other bulls in this cont. group. Some of the other bulls were fairly highly accurate. As I do a pedigree average, the only traits that seem a little lower than pedigree are the carcass traits. He may have performed a bit below average. This data would only give a significant affect to the bull himself and it must either be parents or other progeny that is affecting the sire. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Does not look like the two other progeny are in the analysis since there is no weaning or yearling information.

Best regards
Jack
----- Original Message -----
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 7:26 PM
Subject: EPD analysis


Mr. Ward,

I sold this bull to a gentleman:

http://www.herfnet.com/online/cgi-bin/i ... 625&9=5D52

The epds on the bull show that he has had 15 calves with bw's collected in 2 herds, 13 for ww and yw in 1 herd, 2 for sc in 1 herd and 11 for carcass ultrasound data. But on my authorized user account, when I pull up the performance pedigree it shows only 2 head for all of the data. I know this bull was bred to some commercial cows and he was sent to the Amana colonies project. Are performance data from commercial cows being used in his genetic analysis for epd calculations? It appears that alot of weight has been placed on these calves of unknown background as it has really pulled down his and his sire's epds.

John Alexander

Alexander Farms(AHA #253678)

[email protected]
 

HerefordSire

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Does this mean registered Hereford EPD numbers can be calculated using partially non-Hereford progeny?
 

alexfarms

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HerefordSire":2cgtw8tn said:
Does this mean registered Hereford EPD numbers can be calculated using partially non-Hereford progeny?

Yes. Unregistered cattle are being used in the in the genetic analysis for the generation of epds in the AHA. The Amana cattle were all commercial yearling heifers and the year this particular bull was sent there was the first year of the AHA "experiment", so I would have no idea what epds were given to the dams of the calves produced. I would guess that they would have called them all equal genetically, or somehow entered some performance information on them to generate some difference in epds between them. The ultrasound data that appear in this bulls epd analysis didn't come from the Amana project. It looks like it came from some other unregistered cows.
 

HerefordSire

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alexfarms":2qp0j4nm said:
HerefordSire":2qp0j4nm said:
Does this mean registered Hereford EPD numbers can be calculated using partially non-Hereford progeny?

Yes. Unregistered cattle are being used in the in the genetic analysis for the generation of epds in the AHA. The Amana cattle were all commercial yearling heifers and the year this particular bull was sent there was the first year of the AHA "experiment", so I would have no idea what epds were given to the dams of the calves produced. I would guess that they would have called them all equal genetically, or somehow entered some performance information on them to generate some difference in epds between them. The ultrasound data that appear in this bulls epd analysis didn't come from the Amana project. It looks like it came from some other unregistered cows.

Interesting. I wonder if the EPD formulas received math adjustments and if they did, what were they?
 

rocket2222

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Surely somebody at the AHA realizes that the most important aspect of epds is how reliable the data is that's collected to calculate them. It would seem to me that to get the most accurate data possible you would breed these bulls to the most proven cows available. It appears they have decided to go, "the more the merrier" route, and "we'll make the numbers work", which I think is kind of funny, as they still have quite a bit of work to do with making epd's more reliable when they are calculated where both parents are registered and have epds. I could be missing the point of this though, maybe they ran out of reg. cows to calculate epds, and are now forced to use any old commercial cow they can get their hands on. I'm not sure how this is supposed to add credibility to any of the data gathered this way, but I guess it will look good on paper at least, with "X" amount head scanned, with high accuracy numbers.
 

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The industry is inevitably moving towards the point that there is a unified across breeds EPD database where +50 Weaning Weight EPD means exactly the same thing whether we are looking at Angus, Hereford, Charolais, or Brahman bulls or some composite animal with all four breeds in him. We are not going to maintain 40 seperate EPD databases of questionable validity indefinitely into the future. The EPDs are transitioning from a tool seedstock breeders use to plan matings of pure stock to pure stock to a tool commercial cattlemen use to plan meetings. We know where we want to go. Now the questions are WHEN do we get there, HOW do we get there, and how do we calculate accuracy if/when we do get there. IF we are at the point where Hereford is actually using data from commercial Hereford, Angus or even crossbred cows to calculate EPDs I am completely fine with that (in theory). If Alex's bull underperformed bred to cows in that contemporary group......and I am assuming his competition was another Hereford bull......then we would WANT for that data to be used in his EPD caclculation because that does tell us something about how the bull performs.
 

alexfarms

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Brandonm22":e771vzga said:
The industry is inevitably moving towards the point that there is a unified across breeds EPD database where +50 Weaning Weight EPD means exactly the same thing whether we are looking at Angus, Hereford, Charolais, or Brahman bulls or some composite animal with all four breeds in him. We are not going to maintain 40 seperate EPD databases of questionable validity indefinitely into the future. The EPDs are transitioning from a tool seedstock breeders use to plan matings of pure stock to pure stock to a tool commercial cattlemen use to plan meetings. We know where we want to go. Now the questions are WHEN do we get there, HOW do we get there, and how do we calculate accuracy if/when we do get there. IF we are at the point where Hereford is actually using data from commercial Hereford, Angus or even crossbred cows to calculate EPDs I am completely fine with that (in theory). If Alex's bull underperformed bred to cows in that contemporary group......and I am assuming his competition was another Hereford bull......then we would WANT for that data to be used in his EPD caclculation because that does tell us something about how the bull performs.

I think using cows that don't have epds within the system to calculate epds on the bulls they are bred to is a reach. I think the accuracey would have to be very low. In my opinion that hurts the credibility of the genetic analysis. I would think that credibility would be pretty important in a genetic analysis. As far as moving toward one genetic analysis for all breeds, I think that will require ONE breed registry association that serves all the various breeds of cattle. I think a US Beef Breed Registry Association replacing the AHA, AAA, etc would be a good thing.
 

DOC HARRIS

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I don't either! If that line of thinking were practicable, then an extension of that logic would tell us that we should have ONE Political Party in the U.S., ONE Automobile Manufacturer, ONE Livestock Feed Manufacturing Company. ONE - - of Everything - ALL managed by ONE powerful, all knowing, all seeing, ALL RULING authority who KNOWS ALL, SEES ALL, and RULES ALL!

I don't THINK so!

Does that sound a little like - - what's the word? :?: - - - SOCIALISM ?? :???:

We have become a nation of- - - "Let George do it, because I am too lazy, lethargic, and dis-interested in thinking to do it myself."

Wake up, Folks! We are in DEEP DOO DOO!

DOC HARRIS
 

Herefords.US

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DOC HARRIS":2oaq4pc5 said:
We have become a nation of- - - "Let George do it, because I am too lazy, lethargic, and dis-interested in thinking to do it myself."

And I'm sure getting tired of toting that load for the rest of you! :lol: :tiphat: :wave:

Lately, it looks like our leaders have decided to just pass the burden on to CPL and blackcowz.

George
 

Brandonm22

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alexfarms":2m2owvxl said:
I think using cows that don't have epds within the system to calculate epds on the bulls they are bred to is a reach. I think the accuracey would have to be very low. In my opinion that hurts the credibility of the genetic analysis. I would think that credibility would be pretty important in a genetic analysis.

I don't disagree with any of that; but we do have a history of incorporating cattle with no EPDs into an EPD system. All the breeds have done that as they established their own breedwide EPD system. We do know how to do that. As far as the bull data is concerned, if you used two bulls on 50 cows and raised all the calves in the same contemporary group and bull A's calves on average weighed 25 lb more than bull B's you do not have to know anything about the cows to infer from that that Bull A sires a growthier calf than Bull B. Certainly a very knowledgable person who was trying to influence the EPDs on a young low accuracy bull could breed all the best cows to one bull or the other (or just falsify the data); but that is not what you suspect happened with your bull. Certainly the data would be more accurate if the cows had their own highly accurate EPDs; but that is not entirely necessary either. Most reg. cows don't have enough calves in the system to have real accurate numbers before they are 8 or 9 years old anyway.

alexfarms":2m2owvxl said:
As far as moving toward one genetic analysis for all breeds, I think that will require ONE breed registry association that serves all the various breeds of cattle. I think a US Beef Breed Registry Association replacing the AHA, AAA, etc would be a good thing.

We KNOW why THAT won't happen. Less associations means less Association Executive VP jobs, less Breed assn Presidents, less magazine editors, and less Board of directors and less money and honors all the way around. Money is also why a common database IS probably in the future. It is a heck of a lot cheaper for 40 breeds to pay into crunching one set of numbers than it is for 40 associations to pay for crunching 40 different sets of numbers. Also if you start collecting data (and data entry fees) from progressive commercial cattlemen there is the potential to dramatically increase the total revenue produced while dramatically decreasing the costs born by the associations. The technology exists right NOW for every cow owner (whether the cattle are purebred or commercial straightbred, crossbred, or composite) to use software like CattleMax or CattleSoft and collect data and for all of that data to go via the internet into one centralized pool of data and you could certainly produce very accurate EPDs for at least the 200 most used AI sires. The problem right now is with the politics (who gets paid and how much they get paid) than it is with developing the technology platform. I believe we are already in the process of creating a unified DNA database for the top 1000 sires industrywide and that is a heck of a lot more complicated than crunching EPDs.
 

Herefords.US

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alexfarms":sr28wab1 said:
Brandonm22":sr28wab1 said:
The industry is inevitably moving towards the point that there is a unified across breeds EPD database where +50 Weaning Weight EPD means exactly the same thing whether we are looking at Angus, Hereford, Charolais, or Brahman bulls or some composite animal with all four breeds in him. We are not going to maintain 40 seperate EPD databases of questionable validity indefinitely into the future. The EPDs are transitioning from a tool seedstock breeders use to plan matings of pure stock to pure stock to a tool commercial cattlemen use to plan meetings. We know where we want to go. Now the questions are WHEN do we get there, HOW do we get there, and how do we calculate accuracy if/when we do get there. IF we are at the point where Hereford is actually using data from commercial Hereford, Angus or even crossbred cows to calculate EPDs I am completely fine with that (in theory). If Alex's bull underperformed bred to cows in that contemporary group......and I am assuming his competition was another Hereford bull......then we would WANT for that data to be used in his EPD caclculation because that does tell us something about how the bull performs.

I think using cows that don't have epds within the system to calculate epds on the bulls they are bred to is a reach. I think the accuracey would have to be very low. In my opinion that hurts the credibility of the genetic analysis. I would think that credibility would be pretty important in a genetic analysis. As far as moving toward one genetic analysis for all breeds, I think that will require ONE breed registry association that serves all the various breeds of cattle. I think a US Beef Breed Registry Association replacing the AHA, AAA, etc would be a good thing.

John, you're just expressing the frustration that many of us that aren't among "the elite" members in the AHA feel, that the association isn't effectively promoting our interests and we don't get our money's worth.

As far as EPDs go, I"ve concluded that the raw EPDs on most Herefords just aren't that accurate. The data gathered on Black Angus cattle is so much more vast that the accuracy level of their EPDs must be more reliable. The only way that Herefords can begin to match that reliability is through the expanded use of highly proven sires via AI and time. Not what Hereford breeders want to hear - or believe - but I challenge any one of them to make a convincing argument otherwise.

George
 

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Socialistic beef trends are occurring. About a year ago, I studied the projected global EPD book and methodologies (BIF?). It is perfectly natural for a weaker breed to want to merge with a stronger breed and a stronger breed to resist merging completely. I would think the stronger breed has to be weakened, in some strange way, by a major negative genetic occurence, or maybe even as the result of a weaker breed(s), before they will support it. It is also perfectly normal for a weaker breed rancher to switch breeds and or hedge their chosen breed with the stronger breed. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to use combined breed EPD numbers. However, the Hereford numbers in regards to accuracy are likely being effected negatively for accuracy. This suspected trend could worsen. For now, I am trying to listen closely for yelping noises similar to Doc's comment.
 

CPL

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Herefords.US":7uxe5n12 said:
DOC HARRIS":7uxe5n12 said:
We have become a nation of- - - "Let George do it, because I am too lazy, lethargic, and dis-interested in thinking to do it myself."

And I'm sure getting tired of toting that load for the rest of you! :lol: :tiphat: :wave:

Lately, it looks like our leaders have decided to just pass the burden on to CPL and blackcowz.

George

And what's unfortunate is that we are probably the only two in our generation that know and understand that !!!
 

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Ok, I'm going to get on my soapbox now. I have watched this board for a long time and finally felt the need to comment a couple of weeks ago. I tend to sit by and watch, but this topic and topics of the like have been very common lately and I feel I have some knowledge to offer, so here I go.

Those of you that think that we will have a universal set of EPDs or that the across-breed EPD chart are the savior of all breeding problems clearly don't understand EPD's, what they represent or how they are calculated.

1) Heterosis is real, more variable than most would like to admit, and very hard to predict. This is the main reason that we will never have a uniform set of EPD's. Example: You have an Angus bull and a Hereford bull and use them on your Angus cows. You will see a major difference in sire group comparisons for all traits than your neighbor that uses the same two bulls on his Hereford cows. This is because on your place heterosis has an affect on the Hereford sired calves and on your neighbors place, heterosis has an affect on the Angus sired calves.

2) Under the same rationale as reason #1, across-breed EPD's only work when comparing bulls used on a third breed or with equal representation in the breed of cow. Example: Across-breed EPD's cannot be used in the example from #1; however if you were comparing the same Angus bull and Hereford bull for use on Charolais cows (or even F1 Black Baldies) then across-breed EPD's can be used because the level of heterosis is the same for calves by both bulls.

3) EPD's are a fancy term for statistical analysis without terms like mean and standard error. Instead we have an EPD for a given trait and an accuracy. The accuracy of an EPD is influenced like all statistal analysis...more numbers=higher accuracy. The number of repetitions (calves) are much more influential than the accuracy of cow's EPD (or even lack thereof). The use of non-registered cows in research studies can be used in the calculation of EPDs provided you are creating a fair comparison. Example: I want to compare the carcass characteristics of calves sired by 4 Hereford sires. The cows for my study are 400 F1 black baldies. I gate cut the cows into 4 - 100hd groups (random selection of groups) and AI each of the groups to different bulls. Grow the calves out measuring whatever data you feel like collecting all the way through the rail. During the entire study, cows are managed the same, calves are managed the same...try to control as many environmental influences as possible. The resulting data is extremely valuable in the comparison of those sires and there is no reason not to include it in the EPD calculation.

4) The AHA database is miles behind the accuracy of the AAA database and George hit the nail on the head. It is because the Hereford breed does not utilize AI enough to compare these bulls accross enough different environments to better remove environmental affects from the calculation.

5) I don't believe that any of the major breed associations would ever merge their database with another one. That would be like GM turning over their financials to Ford and asking them to be fair in the way they use that data. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The breed associations are a business.

OK, I think I just fell of my soapbox. I look forward to input from the CT board.
 

capt

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Are the cows in the Amana project purebred hereford cows? I am not familiar with that project, but if they are purebred they would have a pedigree estimate set of epd's to work from irregardless of those being published. Just wondering more about the Amana project.

Thanks
 

alexfarms

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capt":flvru4xo said:
Are the cows in the Amana project purebred hereford cows? I am not familiar with that project, but if they are purebred they would have a pedigree estimate set of epd's to work from irregardless of those being published. Just wondering more about the Amana project.

Thanks


If my memory hasn't failed me, they were all crossbred yearling heifers and that was the first year of the project with the AHA. Another unusual aspect of the Amana project was that it was a natural service project. A group of bulls of various sizes and ages were turned out with a large group of heifers. Most performance projects by breed associations utilize planned random AI matings. As for my comment about the beef industry needing one association to maintain registry and genetic analysis, I still think it is a good idea. The business of maintaining accurate pedigrees and performance information for a genetic analysis doesn't have to be political. It ought to be done objectively and scientifically and it would make a whole lot of sense for the beef industry to have one genetic analysis for the entire beef industry so that accurate comparisons can be made. The maintenance of pedigrees ought to be a no brainer, we have the technologies to determine accurate parentage with reasonable costs. If we had accurate industry wide epds we could provide crossbred epds and heterosis estimates with some accuracy instead of talking about heterosis as an incalculable abstract theory. I can understand why the Angus breeders would be reluctant to go along with it sense their association is currently dominant within the beef industry, but there may come a day when finances will make it attractive to them to consider it also. One genetic analysis would probably help most of the other breeds as they would gain a credible comparison with all other cattle in the beef industry.
 

smnherf

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bigag03":dmvpnmfa said:
1) Heterosis is real, more variable than most would like to admit, and very hard to predict. This is the main reason that we will never have a uniform set of EPD's. Example: You have an Angus bull and a Hereford bull and use them on your Angus cows. You will see a major difference in sire group comparisons for all traits than your neighbor that uses the same two bulls on his Hereford cows. This is because on your place heterosis has an affect on the Hereford sired calves and on your neighbors place, heterosis has an affect on the Angus sired calves.

2) Under the same rationale as reason #1, across-breed EPD's only work when comparing bulls used on a third breed or with equal representation in the breed of cow. Example: Across-breed EPD's cannot be used in the example from #1; however if you were comparing the same Angus bull and Hereford bull for use on Charolais cows (or even F1 Black Baldies) then across-breed EPD's can be used because the level of heterosis is the same for calves by both bulls.

3) EPD's are a fancy term for statistical analysis without terms like mean and standard error. Instead we have an EPD for a given trait and an accuracy. The accuracy of an EPD is influenced like all statistal analysis...more numbers=higher accuracy. The number of repetitions (calves) are much more influential than the accuracy of cow's EPD (or even lack thereof). The use of non-registered cows in research studies can be used in the calculation of EPDs provided you are creating a fair comparison. Example: I want to compare the carcass characteristics of calves sired by 4 Hereford sires. The cows for my study are 400 F1 black baldies. I gate cut the cows into 4 - 100hd groups (random selection of groups) and AI each of the groups to different bulls. Grow the calves out measuring whatever data you feel like collecting all the way through the rail. During the entire study, cows are managed the same, calves are managed the same...try to control as many environmental influences as possible. The resulting data is extremely valuable in the comparison of those sires and there is no reason not to include it in the EPD calculation.

4) The AHA database is miles behind the accuracy of the AAA database and George hit the nail on the head. It is because the Hereford breed does not utilize AI enough to compare these bulls accross enough different environments to better remove environmental affects from the calculation.

5) I don't believe that any of the major breed associations would ever merge their database with another one. That would be like GM turning over their financials to Ford and asking them to be fair in the way they use that data. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The breed associations are a business.

OK, I think I just fell of my soapbox. I look forward to input from the CT board.


Very good synopsis of epds. One thing I would like to add and maybe you could even elaborate on it is that the AHA uses a whole herd reporting system vs the AAA that lets breeders turn in data only on the calves they want used in the analysis. I have to turn every calf in that is born to a registered cow. Sure, the sheer volume of the AAA database can have a correcting influence on the incomplete data but there certainly are holes created in it that sometime need to be corrected.

I feel that the importance of the accuracy of epds is WAY underemphasized by purebred breeders and cattle associations. Too many epds are generated by exremely small contemporary groups and so little data collected that to look at and buy cattle based on epds only are setting themselves up for a big dissapointment.

I know there are many complaints about the AHA, but I have enough Angus friends that are always complaining about the AAA too. The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence, it just sometimes looks that way.

Brian
 

dyates

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Would an across breed epd of sorts not help promote the hereford breed? I think few people would argue that some of the greatest merits of the breed are in cross-breeding scenarios. Straightbred herefords in todays market are simply not attractive to anyone (at least not where I am.) Baldies, on the other hand, often bring a premium. I would be willing to bet that 90% of hereford bulls are used on commercial cows. That is not necessarily true of angus. There are gobs of people breeding angus to angus in a commercial setting. I think an across breed epd for herefords, if correctly done, could be even more accurate than the existing numbers for purebreds. BTW, I am one of those people running a hereford bull on commercial cows. First crop of baldies should start hitting the ground in March. I hope I don't regret this decision.
 
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