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EPD numbers? critique/comments/help understanding

SRBeef

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After reading the extensive and interesting discussion on the Holden bull (8203 if I recall # correctly) and looking at his photo and the following epd discussions, I looked up the EPD's of my own bull and have to say I am confused....

I would appreciate comments and help understanding what these mean, if anything. And are they important - compared to the physical package I see when I look at him as DOC suggests?

Here are my bull's current epd's from the herfnet website (2007 born calves):

calving ease direct (%) = +3.4
birth wt = +2.2
weaning wt = +54
yearling wt = +86
milk = +26
milk and growth = +53
calving ease maternal (%) = +1.9
scrotal circ = +1.5
fat = -0.043
REA = +0.51
marbling = +0.11

Are these numbers any good? Calving ease is the main point I asked for from the breeder and I bought this one on his recommendation. But he was not a real high dollar bull.

Rather asking for a critique of a photo, I guess I would appreciate a critique of these numbers, along with a bit of explanation for a relative newcomer.
 

Herefords.US

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As far as I'm concerned the EPD numbers of your bull likely don't mean a lot. If the accuracies of those numbers were at .5 or above, then they might begin to have some meaning.

I'd certainly put much more weight on the breeder's recommendation about calving ease(assuming he's reputable and knows his cattle) than the "mythical" numbers on an unproven bull.

I'm sure others will disagree!

George
 

SRBeef

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Herefords.US":nv2y5dow said:
As far as I'm concerned the EPD numbers of your bull likely don't mean a lot. If the accuracies of those numbers were at .5 or above, then they might begin to have some meaning.

I'd certainly put much more weight on the breeder's recommendation about calving ease(assuming he's reputable and knows his cattle) than the "mythical" numbers on an unproven bull.

I'm sure others will disagree!

George

I think the breeder is very reputable - or I would not have bought the bull. I have a general rule that when I don't know much about something I try to find someone that does know and I have some trust in and do what he says.

Again I am new to epd's - what do you mean about accuracies of .5 and above? I'm looking at the epd sheet I printed out and don't see anything about "accuracies" the only other line is "breed avg epd's for 2007 born calves"

Thank you for your comments and please excuse my ignorance.
 

Herefords.US

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You have to click on the "Show EPD Acc" link to see the accuracies.

On unproven bulls, I put much more emphasis on phenotype; performance and scans within peer group; the bull's sire, dam, and other ancestors(pedigree); as well as the breeder's thoughts and recommendations than his EPD numbers. As I've said before, I've come to the conclusion that the EPDs on most Hereford cattle just aren't that accurate, except in the case of widely used, highly proven bulls.

The nice thing about your bull's EPDs is that there's nothing there that should "hurt" him in anyone else's view. If they were on a PROVEN bull and had high accuracy levels, they'd be pretty darn impressive!

George
 

Aaron

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SRBeef":10xv0s4m said:
After reading the extensive and interesting discussion on the Holden bull (8203 if I recall # correctly) and looking at his photo and the following epd discussions, I looked up the EPD's of my own bull and have to say I am confused....

I would appreciate comments and help understanding what these mean, if anything. And are they important - compared to the physical package I see when I look at him as DOC suggests?

Here are my bull's current epd's from the herfnet website (2007 born calves):

calving ease direct (%) = +3.4
birth wt = +2.2
weaning wt = +54
yearling wt = +86
milk = +26
milk and growth = +53
calving ease maternal (%) = +1.9
scrotal circ = +1.5
fat = -0.043
REA = +0.51
marbling = +0.11

Are these numbers any good? Calving ease is the main point I asked for from the breeder and I bought this one on his recommendation. But he was not a real high dollar bull.

Rather asking for a critique of a photo, I guess I would appreciate a critique of these numbers, along with a bit of explanation for a relative newcomer.

His calving ease is top notch. I have never seen a calving ease EPD for a Hereford bull that high. If you wanted calving ease and nothing else, you got it. Pretty respectable numbers across the board, but as George said, without accuracies above at least .7, you can't rely on it.

BUT!, you can make vague generalizations. Even as he gets proven, it is unlikely that the bull's calving ease EPD is going to go into the negative zone (know I am going to get flack for that comment)...so he will be a calving ease bull guaranteed. Based on weaning, yearling, milk and total maternal, he is going to have some better than average growth and a fair bit of milk in his daughters. Nothing wrong with his scrotal EPD either.

As far as your other question about accuracies, their should be numbers below the EPD values, labeled as "Acc.", which is accuracy. Or, there may not be accuracies listed and everything might be listed as "PE", which refers to Pedigree Estimate, which means an accuracy cannot be calculated due to limited data.
 

EAT BEEF

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E.P.D.'s are not good or bad,they are a tool.A 5/8 wrench is great if thats what you need,but not so great when you need a 7/16.
 

SRBeef

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Herefords.US":1x89c99c said:
You have to click on the "Show EPD Acc" link to see the accuracies.

On unproven bulls, I put much more emphasis on phenotype; performance and scans within peer group; the bull's sire, dam, and other ancestors(pedigree); as well as the breeder's thoughts and recommendations than his EPD numbers. As I've said before, I've come to the conclusion that the EPDs on most Hereford cattle just aren't that accurate, except in the case of widely used, highly proven bulls.

The nice thing about your bull's EPDs is that there's nothing there that should "hurt" him in anyone else's view. If they were on a PROVEN bull and had high accuracy levels, they'd be pretty darn impressive!

George

Thank you George!

I did go back and see the "show epd acc" in the upper LH corner & clicked on that. The accuracies range only up to about 0.36 at the highest. These epd's are the current and changed somewhat from sheet I received with the registration a year ago. He is now about 2 years old.

Do the yearling bulls at the big sales like Holden's have higher accuracy numbers? Maybe they have more sibling data?

We'll see how "proven" or "accurate" those numbers are beginning about April 15th! He certainly had a good batting average at the preg check.

Aaron thanks for the information/comments. The breeder I purchased him from really promotes calving ease and scrotal size as key selection criteria along with disposition and grass-based performance. (this is reg #42812075)

EB if I understand you correctly, the EPD's at least point you in the direction (calving ease for example) that you want to go? Since my girls need to number one calve on their own (I'm not there much of the time) that is my #1 criteria. I also am small so can't have separate bulls for heifers and cows and AI is just not feasible. Rent a bull as I've done in the past is just leaving too much to chance esp on calving ease....It takes a certain investment of time (lots!), energy and $$ to get this business going so I came to the conclusion I probably should go another step and get the bull that I need to make good use of the rest of the investment.
 

Aaron

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Pretty hard to go wrong with Huth's. Used a lot of Felton genetics and have some very maternal type cattle. Just go back on his pedigree and his sire and dam are no slouches for their EPD's. Think you made a pretty good buy there, judging by genotype only. :cowboy:
 

KNERSIE

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Do the yearling bulls at the big sales like Holden's have higher accuracy numbers? Maybe they have more sibling data?

Not on paper, but because of genetic coupling with lots of contemporaries in a well established breeding program that selected for the same traits for years, I'd place more emphasis on their low accuracy EPDs than the breeder down the road who has 10 cows and use only 1 bull per season.

I am with George on this issue, I take note of the EPDs of a young bull, but won't hang myself up on it. Its often more important to select a young bull with "safe" EPDs that have the other qualities you're after than selecting the bull with the "best" EPDs. The problem with "best" EPDs is what the industry might think is best is very seldom good for you. I have found that as long as you avoid extremes in EPDs like a negative or extremely low milk EPD for instance your customers will understand if you explain your selection criteria to them.

We have an 18month EBV as well so I explain to my customers that I select for a high WW, about breed average or slightly above YW and a breed average or slightly below 18m weight. The reason is that I breed earlier maturing moderate cattle and their ideal growth pattern (in my opinion) is like I described. Very high YW and 18m weight EBVs effectively mean cattle that will continue to grow longer and finish later and that will mature at a larger size than my environment can sustain.

CE and BW I want better than breed average (lower BW and higher CE) as I try to target the market that the big name breeders of show animals neglected.

Herefords in SA can generally do with a little added milk so I only use bulls with muscle with milk EBVs much higher than breed average.

A high SC is a must for me as they tend to be fertile earlier maturing animals with earlier puberty in the heifers. The early puberty in heifers is really a non issue because I have never seen a well looked after hereford heifer (barring the real extremes) that aren't cycling well ahead of their first breeding season, but small scrotums is something that is very hard to correct if it slipped into your herd and it makes selling bulls very difficult.

I know my response was very longwinded, but the intention was to illustrate how I use breeding values to suit my needs regardless of whether that specific EPD is a trait leader or in the top 10% of the breed or not.
 

robert

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EPD stands for Expected Progeny Difference, obtained when you randomly mate cows to different sires, the numbers on a yearling bull whether they were in a large group of contemporaries or small provide only a prediction of what he potentially may sire based on pedigree and individual performance. Until there are progeny to compare in multiple herds against other sires then your bulls epds will not dramatically increase in accuracy. My main contention with epds in seedstock operations is that they are more of a modern day pi$$!ng contest that is supposedly more 'scientific' than a highly accurate selection tool because in many cases the numbers never get proven in a real world sense. (yearling or young cows flushed to the 'latest, greatest' with the 'best' numbers to create another generation of 'latest, greatest' that amount to little more than paper tigers).
 

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You may not have a lot of accuracy in the EPDs yet; but I would whole lot rather have excellect EPDs (like yours) than mediocre or poor EPDs.
 

HerefordSire

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SRBeef":q9ga1rye said:
After reading the extensive and interesting discussion on the Holden bull (8203 if I recall # correctly) and looking at his photo and the following epd discussions, I looked up the EPD's of my own bull and have to say I am confused....

I would appreciate comments and help understanding what these mean, if anything. And are they important - compared to the physical package I see when I look at him as DOC suggests?

Here are my bull's current epd's from the herfnet website (2007 born calves):

calving ease direct (%) = +3.4
birth wt = +2.2
weaning wt = +54
yearling wt = +86
milk = +26
milk and growth = +53
calving ease maternal (%) = +1.9
scrotal circ = +1.5
fat = -0.043
REA = +0.51
marbling = +0.11

Are these numbers any good? Calving ease is the main point I asked for from the breeder and I bought this one on his recommendation. But he was not a real high dollar bull.

Rather asking for a critique of a photo, I guess I would appreciate a critique of these numbers, along with a bit of explanation for a relative newcomer.

The market doesn't fully appreciate a line bred 3008 animal, relatively speaking. This is good in a way depending on how you look at it. If the market sees what I see, the bull could have cost you many more guineas. The principal behind my thinking is based upon Feltons 517 which would be roughly 12.5% of his genetic material and 25% of the multiple EPD trait leading bull 3008. I have seen many write an animal like this could have a tendency to be hard doing because of the low FAT EPD number. For carcass purposes, looks like you could have a full boat instead of two pair. Hide your hand for a couple of years until the ante is raised. I crossed the 3008 genes with Remitall Online 122L.
 

HerefordSire

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Relatively speaking for 2007 born calves, the probability of progeny generated from your bull are likely to be superior to others. Notice how well balanced your bull could be at the upper end of the spectrum.

View attachment 1

The performance of your bull shows to excel in weaning weight percentage relative to the other calves Jerry had in the contemporary group. In my view, this is not as important as having quality EPD numbers with low accuracy, but some breeders generally discard low accuracy EPD numbers and value the performance numbers.



Even if your bull's progeny are less than average in phenotype, the odds are on their side to be top performers provided the dams are at least average in performance.

Ideally, as a goal, I would like to see his retained progeny have both an REA and IMF EPD numbers above .75 and the FAT a tad less than 0.
 

HerefordSire

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Also, I cut this little snippet out of Sandhill farms sale catalog. I thought it was very interesting. It is also powerful to know someone with this philosophy and this operation is combining 3008 genes with Remitall genes (3008, 517, Governor, Stockmaster). It appears they have an exciting and valuable product to offer. I can see why they are a success. In my view, the operation has the best product on the market.

"Because of data collected on each animal in a
pedigree, EPDs and $ indexes are superior in
prediciting an animal’s genetic ability compared
to an animal’s actual measurements."

http://www.herfnet.com/online/salePDF/AHA_740.pdf
 

SRBeef

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HS,

I can't thank you enough for the education. I take it I should write Jerry Huth ANOTHER nice thank you note?! He is the one that recommended T21 for my situation.

The bar chart above is interesting and understandable even for me. That is partially what led me to ask these questions. Obviously a bull with bars that far to the right (and none to the left) can't be too bad but how does this compare to what you actually see when looking at a bull. I take it both together provide more information.

Looking for a recent picture of him, I cropped this out of a photo taken recently (2/22/09):

View attachment 2

I can see where as you say there is some logic behind a leaner/low fat animal being a "hard doer" but that is far from what I see with my bull. He has not been in a building or under a roof since I've had him. He was on grass only until I started grazing standing corn last fall. We've had a pretty tough winter in Wisconsin. It hit -30 deg F. He's had about 20% hay, 80% grazing cornstalks and shelter in the woods.

Ocassionally I give all of them a couple pounds of sweet feed to gentle them but not a significant amount as far as feed value goes. They all have good mineral, shots and pour-on. I don't think he looks too bad. He comes when I call him and seems like he has a good disposition (for a bull) but I treat him with respect and am careful around him. I don't get too friendly with him.

What I want him to do is to breed my cows and heifers so they calve on their own and raise good solid quick growing calves I finish for direct sale of beef as processed split halves. And then do it again in 60-75 days after the cows calve. I am not interested in selling him or "talking up" his value. I am trying to learn this business and use some of the principles I use in my engineering "day job" as they seem to be appropriate to produce a profitable product and maybe have some fun at the same time.

Here are some of the cows he's bred:

View attachment 1

My long term goal is to develop a herd based on calves from T21 and the two smaller cows in this picture. They are my 1200 lb model cows. They have had some very nice thick solid but quicker to mature and high cutting percentage calves from previous matings. They should deliver their first calves from T21 in a few weeks. I've got my fingers crossed for two heifers from these two, #66 & #62 (the shorter ones).

This picture is from one of their sweet feed treat days last fall. Rumps were a bit messy since they were still adjusting to grazing the corn in the background.



Again, I appreciate the education here. Thank you, Knersie, Aaron and others who contribute so much information. And from what you indicate above, thanks again to Jerry Huth! I feel like a kid before Christmas waiting to see how T21's first calves come out in a few weeks.

A problem I see coming is that what do I do about breeding his daughters in about 16 months?

Also, interesting little snippet:

"Because of data collected on each animal in a
pedigree, EPDs and $ indexes are superior in
prediciting an animal’s genetic ability compared
to an animal’s actual measurements."

George, do you agree? Anyone else?

Jim
 

EAT BEEF

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It seems like you take a lot of pride in makeing sure your animals are well cared for,and it shows in their condition and in your farm.
 

Northern Rancher

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I got curious and checked Lad's calving ease EPD he's plus 3.6 and calves real well so I can't see your bull giving you any troubles in that regard-your bull is fit not fat and wintering on what his daughters will have to-good plan.
 

DOC HARRIS

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SRBeef-

Jim, you are an example, as far as I am concerned, of a new breeder who has studied well, LEARNED well, and is on the correct road to a success as a beef cattle breeder! Your questions are an indication that you have read the IMPORTANT factors in management of beef cattle, and the pictures of your herd indicate that you have made decisions that will benefit you now AND in the future. Congratulations!

"The bar chart above is interesting and understandable even for me. That is partially what led me to ask these questions. Obviously a bull with bars that far to the right (and none to the left) can't be too bad but how does this compare to what you actually see when looking at a bull."
Jim, the only EPD's that you can actually "visualize" or "see" is Scrotal Measurements. :help: This is why it is imperative when doing seedstock selections that you utilize Phenotype (visual appearance), Genotype (EPD's), and Functional Traits (those traits that affect the animal's function and longevity in the herd). It is common, sometimes, for breeder's to not pay too much attention to the Functional traits because they seem to be of minor importance compared to the very obvious "IN YOUR FACE" Characteristics such at the Phenotypic one's - Level top line, depth of body, thickness and width, Muscularity of shoulders and hindquarters, etc., but the Functional traits are extremely important because they dictate how that animal will perform for it's productive and money-making years in the herd. Examples are skeletal structure (sound feet and legs, shoulder and spine and how the feet and legs are positioned on the animal's body, giving good support and ease of movement, enabling them to graze, seek and travel to water, and protect their calves from predators. Seemingly little factors - but high in importance! And these are all heritable traits to be passed on to their progeny. Additional functional traits are mammary structure (tight udders and small teats), disposition, femininity, body capacity and fleshing ability. You can see, I am sure, how important it is to consider the WHOLE picture, and not just a fraction of the whole. :nod:

Having said the above, this is why the accuracies of EPD's, garnered over a period of many progeny, are of more importance than just figures in a pedigree. And the integrity of the breeder is of decisive importance. It appears as if you have chosen well in your selection of breeder's AND cattle! To do Beef Cattle Production correctly and successfully is a tough occupation, and not to be taken lightly. Again, you seem to be on the right track. :clap:

DOC HARRIS
 

Aaron

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SRBeef":ty2ae4up said:
George,


Again, I appreciate the education here. Thank you, Knersie, Aaron and others who contribute so much information. And from what you indicate above, thanks again to Jerry Huth! I feel like a kid before Christmas waiting to see how T21's first calves come out in a few weeks.

A problem I see coming is that what do I do about breeding his daughters in about 16 months?

Also, interesting little snippet:

"Because of data collected on each animal in a
pedigree, EPDs and $ indexes are superior in
prediciting an animal’s genetic ability compared
to an animal’s actual measurements."

George, do you agree? Anyone else?

Jim
Quick thoughts:

- Good looking bull

- Those little cows are the money makers.

"Because of data collected on each animal in a
pedigree, EPDs and $ indexes are superior in
prediciting an animal’s genetic ability compared
to an animal’s actual measurements."

I agree with this. EPD calculations can factor in the impact that creep feeding weeks has had on the growth and weight gain attributed to an animal and factor this out to make the growth EPD's more relevant to a potential buyer that does not creep feed. Also, EPD's (over the long term, with many generations and progeny), provide a better figure of overall production value than a single bulls actual stats. I have seen scenarios in which a high performance bulls were bred to high performance dams, with resulting calves that, by actual data were low performance cattle, but reasonably good at the EPD level. When these calves were sold (as bulls) they went on to be high performance breeding animals in the new operation.....poor actual values on these calves/bulls was due to poor nutrition management on the originating farm. :cowboy:
 

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