carcass EPDs

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As I evaluate carcass EPDs I often wonder what is too much of a good thing (i.e. too big of ribeye, too little fat). I tend to key on higher marbling scores since I have plenty of Continental influence in my herd and positive % of retail product.

Any thoughts out there on carcass EPDs?
 

Frankie

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Carcass EPDs are like any other; you shouldn't select for one single trait. We try to use bulls that have balanced EPDs across the board, growth and carcass. But I don't use bulls with negative EPDs for ribeye or marbling. And I try to stay within breed average or less for backfat. That's from my registered Angus perspective. I think it's important to know what sort of calves you're raising to better select bulls to improve your herd.
 

dun

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I would be concerned with the backfat if you are in a very cold winter area and plan on keeping any replacment heifers. If in a temporate climate with few below freezing nights and no snow, thinning the backfat isn't near as important.
Too many generations of - backfat EPDs and you can end up with cows that can't retain body heat.

dun
 
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Anonymous

The backfat epd is a measure at a year of age (give or take a few days) and really has no effect on how much backfat a cow will possess at maturity. The industry needs cattle that will grade choice yg 1 and 2 with less than an inch of backfat on them.

All animals tend to deposit more fat as they age...look at middle aged humans!

All things in balance will get you there.

Jason
 
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Anonymous

fella's

Could someone please explain with any logic in a day when you can get actual data,ultrasound,kill data,etc. why would anyone think the quickest and surest way to get there is with EXPECTED progeny data? The way I learned it is that like kind produces like kind.
Ollie :D
 

txag

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sure, you would think like produces like but that's not always the case. ever see any families with kids taller than both parents? or a kid w/different color hair or eyes? probably some ancestor back in there somewhere to pass on the genes. same can happen in cattle. epd's are an additional tool and as mentioned previously should not be the only consideration when purchasing cattle. epd's look at all offspring, relatives, offspring of relatives as well as areas of the country and management practices and gives numbers of how you can expect your cattle to perform. are they always right? no, but they are an aid. are visual appraisals always right? no.
 

dun

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Ulstrasound, etc., are not near as common. Part of the reason is the expense of having them read by a qualified techician. Kill data is used to generate EPds, but they're a small part of the equation.
If the data is collected, that's the way carcass EPDs are updated. So few carcass data are available and submitted, thats' the reaon that a bull may have an accuracy for BW of .99 and carcass EPDs in a lower accuracy. We used two bulls that have nearly identical but low accuracy for carcass, data and one has a much lower BW EPD with about the same accuracy as the other. Their calves pretty well matched up with their other traits, but one bulls calvs marbled high choice, the others were middle select. The calves from the select bulls are really magnificent. When we had a feed lot tour they pointed those calves out as the kind that would be moneymakers. Turns out the other bull, while not as impressive on the hoof were really impressive on the rail. We get back carcass data and ADG data, feed conversion data, etc.
If we submitted the carcass data it would be applied toward the carcass EPDs.
It costs us about 3 bucks a head to get all the data, it would cost a bunch more to get ultrasound on them. We just use the data for our own information when selecting bulls to be bred to specific cows.
Babbled long enough

dun



ollie":1zzhymh0 said:
fella's

Could someone please explain with any logic in a day when you can get actual data,ultrasound,kill data,etc. why would anyone think the quickest and surest way to get there is with EXPECTED progeny data? The way I learned it is that like kind produces like kind.
Ollie :D
 
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Anonymous

txag":23hzslnc said:
sure, you would think like produces like but that's not always the case. ever see any families with kids taller than both parents? or a kid w/different color hair or eyes? probably some ancestor back in there somewhere to pass on the genes. same can happen in cattle. epd's are an additional tool and as mentioned previously should not be the only consideration when purchasing cattle. epd's look at all offspring, relatives, offspring of relatives as well as areas of the country and management practices and gives numbers of how you can expect your cattle to perform. are they always right? no, but they are an aid. are visual appraisals always right? no.

I agree. My wife is 5' 2", dark hair and slim to medium build. She has three sisters:
5' 1", blond, heavy-set
5' 6, dark hair, slim to medium build
5' 8, dark hair, slim

Just goes to show how diverse progeny can be from same parents.
 
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Anonymous

Gentelmen,
Me thinks you believe too much you are told.If your sisters were cows, People would pay about the same and expect the same production results if they were put in a breed sale because of their similiar epd,s; however if you were breeding blond cattle which would be the better choice? If you were needing more height which? What would be the reason for breed associations if it wasn't for calculating epd's? I think they are a parasite on the industry. They produce nothing, yet like interest on a loan they get a large share of the profit. If you think I,m wrong why dont' they consolidate their data and have one set of epd's and give the data to producers for free whether you register a calf or not.Please explain to me again how like data can produce like data, but like kind cannot produce like kind more quickly?
Actual data that has repeatable results like weight , REA, hip height will get you there quicker. How many times have we used epd,s with high acc. only to find out later that they change and now this other sire's numbers. The numbers aren't repeatable even next year yet you have to live with them as long as his daughters are still alive for better or worse.
enough already
Ollie :D
 

dd

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Using the sisters as examples (no disrespect inteded Dav) any one of the four would be able to have blondes and/or more height. EPD's show what the eyes dont always see.
 

txag

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it's also a little hard to judge a bull's udder & determine his milk production.

another thing to consider is the possibility of folks changing birth dates or submitting lower birth weights or higher weaning weights than the actual weight (although this wouldn't happen because all cattlemen are honest). say you happen to be looking to buy from this person who says his calves are a month younger than they actually are. if they have really low growth epd's but are really big because of the age discrepancy, you might be able to catch some kind of clue. epd's are collected from folks all over so hopefully if there are a few inaccurate numbers reported, the accurate information will outweigh it.
 

Frankie

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Sisters might have the same EPDs, but they might not. If one is born, say three years later than the other, more data might have been reported and the younger cow's EPDs might be better, or worse, than her sister's. Like human sisters, there are variations within families.

We had breed associations long before we had EPDs. The American Angus Assn. doesn't "charge" for EPDs. When I register cattle, their EPDs are listed on their registration certificate. There's no charge for them. EPDs are updated twice a year and there's no charge for that. If I choose not to register a calf, I don't pay the AAA a cent. Are you suggesting that the AAA should consolidate their data with the other breeds? Why should they do that? Angus breeders have reported millions of BW, WW, YW, ultrasound data, etc., to create the Angus EPD database. MARC has created a set of across breed EPDs that anyone can use free of charge. (They're paid for by our tax dollars.)

EPDs will tell you what you can EXPECT in mature height and weight, in relation to other bulls or cows. That's all EPDs allow you to do, compare one bull or cow to another when breeding them to the similar bulls or cows. EPDs will never tell you what anything will weigh, how it will grade, or how tall it will be. That's not what EPDs do.
 
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Anonymous

My only point is that if you are trying to breed for offspring that will grade 5% imf (mid choice) you will get there quicker if you use a bull that is ultrasounded mid choice or better,assuming that your cows are lacking in this area. It is an actual repeatable measurement. When you compare that to most if not all epd's for IMF I think you will find that it will corelate with much more accuracy than the most accurate epd. If you believe that, which you may not ,why fool with epd's. Also if I was evaluating milk production of a bull I would look at daughters in production.Thanks for the fun fellas. I wish you all much success. Different opinions is what drives the economy. :D
 

txag

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good post frankie.

ollie, have you never purchased a two year old bull at a sale? i don't know of any two year old bulls with daughters in production. & there's a good possibility his mother won't be at the sale to look at either.

as for breed associations, as frankie mentioned, they are not there for the sole purpose of epd's. their main purpose is marketing and promotion. i do not own any angus cattle and am not a member of the aaa but feel they have done an EXCELLENT job in marketing their product. the aha is not far behind but not quite up there with the angus. whether you are a member of either of these breed organizations or not, if you sell black cattle (who appear to be angus-influenced and appear to qualify for CAB) or white-faced cattle (who appear to be hereford-influenced and appear to qualify for CHB) you have probably seen somewhat of a premium on your calves.

as you said, it's been fun. takes all kinds.
 

dun

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Ultrasound of a bull can be just as inaccurate as any other measurement. Overfeed a bull for fat and your backfat measurement will go up, raise him on pasture and the backfat will be less.
Data taken from his offspring at slaughter tells you waht a steer/heifer will have for backfat when fed to slaughter weight/finish.
I have serious doubts about cloning and the repeatability. ABS has two angus bulls that are split embryo clones. When the were young the EPDs were identical. As they have matured no only have their EPDs changed from each other, they don't even look as if they're related.
The cow has half of the influence in the offsrping EPD equation. If one bull is used on only large charolais type cows the hip height EPD will be a lot different then if it is used on smaller angus, Hereford, Galloway type cattle. But the accuracy will be pretty low also unless that's all he is used on and he's bred to hundreds of them.
By the time a bulls EPDs have reached high accuracy, above .90 they don't vary much. The only breed I've seen where they have changed radicaly was when the Hereford Association made a lot of changes a couple of years ago.
We use EPDs, researched for several generations back. But it is only one tool, just as physical evaluation is only one tool.

dun
 

Frankie

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Ollie said: My only point is that if you are trying to breed for offspring that will grade 5% imf (mid choice) you will get there quicker if you use a bull that is ultrasounded mid choice or better,assuming that your cows are lacking in this area. It is an actual repeatable measurement. When you compare that to most if not all epd's for IMF I think you will find that it will corelate with much more accuracy than the most accurate epd. If you believe that, which you may not ,why fool with epd's. Also if I was evaluating milk production of a bull I would look at daughters in production.Thanks for the fun fellas. I wish you all much success. Different opinions is what drives the economy.

I'd look for a bull with good ultrasound data and also good EPDs. Just because a bull has a lot of IMF himself doesn't mean he will pass that on to his calves. EPDs take generations of ultrasound and carcass data, run it through a complicated math program that spits out the probability that the bull will sire calves that will marble. That's the difference in individual data and EPD data. Study after study has shown that EPDs are more reliable indicators of a bull's (for example) potential than his own performance. My neighbor creep feeds his Angus calves; I don't. He has higher weaning weights than I do. But, because we use similar genetics, the EPDs on our animals will be much the same. Some of the highest milking cows we've had on our place have had small, neat udders. Take time to register and hang around. Discussion is always good....
 
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Anonymous

Fellas,
Now that you have me convinced that epd,s are the answer to how we can most quickly move our cattle from the middle of the pack in our respected breed to the front in the carcass quality arena,can you explain why the most innovative protein growers in the nation , Tyson Foods in chicken , and Smithfield Foods in pork, haven't invested considerable money in epd's for their genetic lines? I have first hand knowledge they have made large investments of capital and labor in cutting edge ultrasound software that is similiar to the cup labs software used in evaluating your cattle. Maybe the AAA has better geneticist. More likely were chasing rabbits while they are reaping the windfall of genetic predictability. Like kind produces like kind or you cannot make genetic improvements.
Thanks again
Ollie
 

Frankie

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Or maybe they can produce new gentics several times a year under controlled conditions, see that they have erred, and change the breeding for the next litter. Changing genetics in cattle takes much longer and they still have to work in all environments and under various management systems. Chicken and hog breeders are working with animals they know everything about. They have generations of data on them. There are a lot of mixed breed cattle in my area that the owner doesn't have a clue about their genetics or what sort of beef they produce. But he can use EPDs to select a bull in the top of his breed for qualities that should make the calves profitable, growth and marbling. If you don't like, understand, or use EPDs, that's fine. But serious cattle producers across the US have overwhelmingly accepted and use them.
 
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Anonymous

Frankie,
Not to whip a dead horse but would you then be saying that epd,s are more predictable under varied conditions especially when used on cattle of no known predictability and that actual measurements would be more predictable under controled conditions with cattle of known qualities?
Ollie
 

Frankie

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ollie":3igrtvxi said:
Frankie,
Not to whip a dead horse but would you then be saying that epd,s are more predictable under varied conditions especially when used on cattle of no known predictability and that actual measurements would be more predictable under controled conditions with cattle of known qualities?
Ollie

No. I'm saying the chicken and hog producers know everything about their animals. Time is money. The sooner they know that they've made a mistake (or hit a home run) with a breeding, the sooner they can duplicate it (or not). Everything the big hog and chicken producers do is under controlled conditions. To compare raising chickens to raising cattle is meaningless.

IMO, the best use of EPDs for the commercial cattleman is to compare bulls of the same breed. It doesn't matter what kind of conditions your cattle are running in. It doesn't matter what breed(s) they are. You compare bull A with a weaning weight of 30 to bull B with a weaning weight of 50 and you EXPECT the calves sired by bull B (bred to the cows in whatever condition, of whatever breeding) to weigh 20 more pounds at weaning than if you used bull A. EPDs won't tell you what they will weigh. They can't, because of varied conditions, management and types of cattle. I used WW as an example because many of the people who buy bulls from us sell calves at weaning and we pay a lot of attention to WW. Generally, buying a bull with balanced EPDs is best.
Accuracies are important when looking at EPDs, too. When you buy a yearling bull, the accuracies will be low because he doesn't have any calves yet. But if you buy a young bull with lots of siblings or half siblings, some of them will have calves reported and his EPD accuracy will be higher.
 

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