EPD questions

Help Support CattleToday:

FFACOWGIRL

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
I am new to raising cattle and have two heifers. Thankfully I have many helpful cattle people willing to help me through my first 2 years.
I bought a Simmental heifer from a local farmer. When it came time to breed her(AI) her previous owner helped chose the bull. I was glad to have her help because she has this heifers mother and grandmother so she knew about them and has kept them in her herd.

My question is how to read the EPD charts and what do you look for when breeding heifers in terms of the numbers. I know calving ease and other traits are important but I have spent a lot of time looking at numbers and just don't understand how to read them. Positive? Negative? and such.

All help is appreciated.
 

Red Bull Breeder

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
7,621
Reaction score
3
Location
North Arkansas
Most breeds EPD'S are different. So what i would tell you might not be quite right for Simm's. Go to the breeds web site and dig around, most likely you can find a good explanation there.
 

Frankie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2003
Messages
6,915
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
Here's a link to the Angus site. Scroll down the page and you'll find an explanation of Angus EPDs. Every breed's EPDs are different because they're based on their data, but they work the same. To simplify it:

If you breed a cow to a bull with a birth weight EPD of 5, you would expect the calf to weigh five more pounds at birth than if you bred that same cow, under the same management, to a bull (of the same breed) with a BW EPD of 0. You'd expect her calf to weigh 20 more pounds at weaning if you bred her to a bull with a weaning weight EPD of 35 than if you bred her to a bull with a WW EPD of 15.

EPDs will never tell you what something will weigh; they just allow you to compare animals.

Link: http://www.angus.org/Nce/Definitions.aspx

Values without a - (minus) are really a +, they just don't list it. The - means less. In birthweight that might be good (smaller calves) In Calving Ease, a higher number is better. In growth EPDs like WW and YW, generally a - is not good. Milk is a tricky EPD. Higher milking cows will usually raise a heaver calf, but milk isn't free. A heavy milking heifer/cow might have trouble maintaining her body condition to get bred back, so you need to understand her milking ability and your ability to provide her with enough nutrition.
 
OP
F

FFACOWGIRL

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
46
Reaction score
0
Great. Thanks for the replies. It makes much more sense when you know how to speak the language. :nod:
 

bigag03

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
168
Reaction score
0
Location
Central TX
The number 1 thing to remember about EPDs as you start trying to figure them out is that they are a means of comparison ONLY. Without something to compare them to (another animal or breed average), they are just numbers on a page and mean absolutely nothing.

The reason many of us on the boards are able to talk about a set of EPDs when they are posted is because we have subconsiously programmed the breed averages into our head and this allows us discuss whether the numbers are "good" or "bad". Every breed is different so what may be a "good" number for a Hereford may be considered a "bad" number for an Angus because the breed averages are not the same.

The reason I keep putting the words good and bad in quotes is because it is all relative to our respective operations. We do not all select for the same things and do not all emphasize the same things, but we can get into that discussion another time.

Good Luck with your heifers!
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
12,258
Reaction score
1,122
Location
Central Upstate New York
Frankie contacted me & asked me to check out this thread since I am a Simmental breeder - but WOW, Frankie did a number one explaination. She is right on.
The American Simmental Assn. web site is:
http://www.simmental.org/
if you click on Genetic Evaluation - you can browse different info. The Percentile Chart will give you an idea where your animal "fits" into the AVERAGES for the breed. The Breed Averages are at the bottom of this % chart.
I would be more than happy to help you any other way with your new purchase.
As mentioned, different breeders are looking for different things. And, as mentioned some goals come with a price. If you pick a bull that is strickly Easy Calving and doesn't have good Maternal Calving Ease, you might end up with daughters that were born easily but then they can't hardly have a peanut for a calf without difficulty. The only NEGATIVE traits that are good would be Birth Weight, Yield Grade & WBSF (Tenderness - shear force).
 

edrsimms

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
287
Reaction score
0
FFACOWGIRL":2475prxe said:
I am new to raising cattle and have two heifers. Thankfully I have many helpful cattle people willing to help me through my first 2 years.
I bought a Simmental heifer from a local farmer. When it came time to breed her(AI) her previous owner helped chose the bull. I was glad to have her help because she has this heifers mother and grandmother so she knew about them and has kept them in her herd.

My question is how to read the EPD charts and what do you look for when breeding heifers in terms of the numbers. I know calving ease and other traits are important but I have spent a lot of time looking at numbers and just don't understand how to read them. Positive? Negative? and such.

All help is appreciated.
Calving Birth Wean Yrlng Maternl Milk Maternl Stay Carcass Yield Marblng Back Ribeye WBSF API TI
Ease Wt Wt Wt C Ease Wn Wt Wt Grd Fat Area
6.5 1.3 32.4 57.6 2.5 4.4 20.6 18.3 -2.0 0.00 0.13 0.01 0.08 -0.08 101 61

For PB Simmental:
1. CE -- higher the number = increased calving ease
2. BW -- +1.3 means this is average for PB Simm which is ok you want this to stay average and not increase (go look at a Fleckvieh and you will understand LOL)
3. WW -- Higher number the better
4. YW -- higher number the better
5. MCE -- average is 2.5 --again the migher the better
6. MM -- for PB Simm 4.4 is average --I like to maintain Milk around 5 for PB Simm
7. MWW -- 20.6 is average -- higher is better
8. Stay -- higher is better
9. CWT- higher is better
10. Yield Grade --- lower number is better
11. Marbling --- higher number is better
12. Back fat --- lower number is better
13. Rib Eye Area -- higher number is better
14. WBSF or Shear Force a lower number is better

API and TI are an All purpose Index and a Terminal Index
The API takes into all the above traits and assigns a number to it higher is better

TI is the terminal index when using a Terminal Sire on your cow herd -- higher is better

When purchasing heifers If you are not buying a female that is at the very least average (represented above) then you are going backwards in time. For example -- we dont own any heifers or bulls or cows with below a 110 API and 70 TI with the average API and TI for 2009 is 117/70

This information can be had off the ASA website at:
http://herdbook.simmental.org/simmapp/s ... F3.tomcat2
 
Top