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Selecting Cattle

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IluvABbeef

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So far, I've got a fair bit of info put down on selecting beef cattle based on these 6 traits, (as of right now, as I write this, the last two are soon to come); reproductive efficiency, muscling, size, freedom from waste, structural soundness and breed type if purebreds.

On HERE (B&LN) there's way more reading on other things I have as well.

But one thing though, just to warn you, don't let the face of my once-"pet" steer Blackie get to you as you read along. ;-)

I'm off to do some more school work, so have a good day. :)
 

Brandonm22

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Well done Karin, but I thought your folks wanted you to spend more time studying and less time blogging???
 

IluvABbeef

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They do, but I've cut my time down on my blog to half of what it used to be, so I've still got plenty of time for school work, so don't worry.
 

IluvABbeef

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Last time I'm bumping this thread.

Latest post: Selecting Cattle based on EPDs

Just to give you a taste:

"The modern era in beef cattle breeding was ushered in with the weighing of animals and the keeping of written production records. This led to performance testing programs, most of which were aimed at improvement of growth rate and feed efficiency. The ease of measuring these two characteristics made performance testing acceptable to producers.

Simply stated, performance testing is a recordkeeping system for the purpose of collecting data to be used in selection. It has been an important selection tool in the hands of producers. It brought an awareness that some animals are more efficient than others, and that such characteristics as rate of gain and feed efficiency are at least partially under genetic control and can be passed on to offspring.

However, a performance testing program based only on rate of gain and feed efficiency is not adequate. To fill this need, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) evolved.

Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are the differences in performance expected from the offspring of one individual compared to the offspring of another individual within the same breed."
 

Frankie

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IluvABbeef":2d3pcyvi said:
So far, I've got a fair bit of info put down on selecting beef cattle based on these 6 traits, (as of right now, as I write this, the last two are soon to come); reproductive efficiency, muscling, size, freedom from waste, structural soundness and breed type if purebreds.

On HERE (B&LN) there's way more reading on other things I have as well.

But one thing though, just to warn you, don't let the face of my once-"pet" steer Blackie get to you as you read along. ;-)

I'm off to do some more school work, so have a good day. :)

Well....
I wouldn't put fertility or reproductive efficiency at the top of my selection criteria. Obviously, it is important, but you need to take heritability into consideration. Fertility is a low heritability trait and it'll be many, many years, if ever, before you see any improvement in your herd if you use that as the #1 criteria.

I like your site, but you should do some spell checking. :)
 

mnmtranching

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Take some advice from an old cowman.

Temperament is very important in cattle [people to] :nod: Makes them so much easier handling and in the sale ring. Cattle get docked severely when they appear hard to handle.

Calving ease, low birth weight calves.

Raise cattle that will top the markets, stay away from novelty breeds or colored cattle.
 

IluvABbeef

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Frankie--just a little minor note, the list of traits wasn't really listed in order of importance...though I know I did write something about it being one of the important things in selecting cattle. Since you mentioned it being a bit of a "less important" factor for a current beef herd, if you go for the audience that does not have a herd and is looking for the best type/quality breeding animals then yes, this trait is very important, and should probably be considered as the most important factor in selecting new animals for a foundation herd. I hope you see where I'm going...

btw, thanks for the heads-up on the spell checking. :) I never really proof-read my posts before I post, but I guess that's going to have to change to make for better reading and a better blog.

mnmt--advice taken. :D I know I'll cover temperment on there when I get the chance. As for the last two points, that can be up for debate, especially the last one. Reason I say this is because there can be a lot of preference when choosing a breed, and sometimes going for black fad isn't always the solution. Some folks like to go for the coloured breeds because either they're tired of seeing the monotony of an all-black herd, or because they just like to have something different to raise that ain't black or, the breed that they choose that isn't black suits their climate/environment better than those breeds that are chasing the black-hided fad. Now I'm not trying to step on any toes here or offend any of you folks that raise black cattle (Angus, Simmi, Brangus, etc.) nor am I "trying" to challenge your advice mnmt, but I'm just stating my opinion. Sometimes, if not often, those breeds that are not going to ring the bell at the salebarn (just because of the colour of their hide), are going to be better for another market, a more niche market, if you will...breeds like Murray Grey or Hereford or Shorthorn or even Speckle Park, among many others...since the conventional way of marketing cattle is going in the crapper as it is already.

Now, I'd better end it here before this turns into a heated (yet entertaining!) debate over black vs. coloured cattle. :D
 

mnmtranching

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Luvbeef, not my job to convince people and I don't promote breeds. I see tens of thousands of calves go through the ring per year. There is easily $100 dollars difference in a 5-6 hundred pound calf. if you produce the calves the buyers want.
Do what you got to do. :cowboy:
 

Brandonm22

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Actually, reaching for my Alabama livestock market news the spread between 555 and 590 lb Med & Lrg MSC 1 steers is only 7 cents a lb. That is a maximum spread of $40 a head between the lowest priced steer and the highest priced steer in the state (at the same ~weight, ~frame, and muscle score).

For 2 muscle scores the spread is only 6 cents a lb or $34.62.

For heifers at medium & lrg frame muscle score 1s there is a spread of 9 cents a lb. At an avg of 570 pounds that translates into a maximum spread of $51 between the most desirable heifer and the least desirable heifer in the state in that class.

For 2 muscle score the spread is only 5 cents a pound or $28.50 a head

There are 21 stockyards involved in this spread and I don't know which calves were what breed, what color they were, and what the dock is for calves with horns. Also at most sales the calves that are in the lower end of the 50 lb increments typically bring higher per pound than the calves in the upper end of the 50 lb increments which is what is normally responsible for most of the spread. Brahman cross heifers are seperated out from this since they bring ~9 cents a pound less than bos taurus breed heifers.

Suggesting there is normally a $100 spread between colors is ridiculous.
 

mnmtranching

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Brandonm22":71ezq6dc said:
Actually, reaching for my Alabama livestock market news the spread between 555 and 590 lb Med & Lrg MSC 1 steers is only 7 cents a lb. That is a maximum spread of $40 a head between the lowest priced steer and the highest priced steer in the state (at the same ~weight, ~frame, and muscle score).

For 2 muscle scores the spread is only 6 cents a lb or $34.62.

For heifers at medium & lrg frame muscle score 1s there is a spread of 9 cents a lb. At an avg of 570 pounds that translates into a maximum spread of $51 between the most desirable heifer and the least desirable heifer in the state in that class.

For 2 muscle score the spread is only 5 cents a pound or $28.50 a head

There are 21 stockyards involved in this spread and I don't know which calves were what breed, what color they were, and what the dock is for calves with horns. Also at most sales the calves that are in the lower end of the 50 lb increments typically bring higher per pound than the calves in the upper end of the 50 lb increments which is what is normally responsible for most of the spread. Brahman cross heifers are seperated out from this since they bring ~9 cents a pound less than bos taurus breed heifers.

Suggesting there is normally a $100 spread between colors is ridiculous.

Go sit through a couple feeder auctions and take notes.
 

Brandonm22

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mnmtranching":2luulihc said:
Go sit through a couple feeder auctions and take notes.

If you think you regularly see a $100 spread between feeder cattle of the SAME gender, Frame size, weight, health, and muscle score on a sale on the same day you need to check your glasses. I have seen too many sales and I read the real price data every week when the state mails it to me. That kind of volatility rarely ever happens. To get that in a 88 cent market for 570 lb calves like we have today the top calves would have to bring $.97 and the bottom calves would have to bring $.79. IF you pay 10% more than the market avg for feeders you are going to get hammered. IF you can fill up a pot belly trailer with Med&Lrg 1 feeders for 10% less than market price you can't help but make money no matter what color they were. Last week there was only a 15 cent spread between the highest dollar Muscle score 1 heifer (.85) and the sorriest Muscle score 3 (non-Brahman) heifer (.70).
 

mnmtranching

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Brandon, You raise whatever you like. I will give you an example. At a sale 2 weeks ago. 5 weight fancy black and red steers. $1.12-$1.23. A large group [about 20 pounds heavier] of mixed calves of mixed who knows what breeding $87.50.
I see that all the time. Theses are large feeder sales with buyers from several states.
If the owner of those calves would have used a red or black bull on his cows I believe he would have made at least $50 more per calf. I feel its good advise to suggest people raise cattle that are in demand.
As far as a better chance of making money on the $87.50 calves? I'll go with the cattle buyers. NOPE.
 

2/B or not 2/B

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mnmtranching":2qi6b7ec said:
Take some advice from an old cowman.

Temperament is very important in cattle [people to] :nod: Makes them so much easier handling and in the sale ring. Cattle get docked severely when they appear hard to handle.

Calving ease, low birth weight calves.

We move our cattle on foot, just two of us. OMG, I can't understate the importance of temperament to us. Our facilities are decent, but we have wood corrals not pipe, so that makes it even more important since wood can be smashed to bits pretty easily. I've got that sound imprinted in my brain from past experiences! Yesterday we separated the weaned steers from the weaned heifers and then separated the bull from the preg. cows and put him with the steers, and put the weaned heifers with the preg. cows. We didn't use the sorting pen, we just rotated everyone between 4 diff. pastures until they were all in the right place. With just two of us, we had to think it out and take it nice and easy but there were no mishaps or busted fences.
 

bigag03

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MNM, you are talking about two different things. First you stated a $100/hd difference in color groups (black over red). Now, you are stating that difference is between uniform calf crops (of any color) and mixed groups. I can agree with you on the latter, but your previous statement is ludicrous.
 

Caustic Burno

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Difference of a 100 bucks over color is cow flop, pasture protien, richer than three feet up a bull's ass.
Good calves bring good money no matter the color, do you really think the commercial buyers are that stupid and going to pay a premium for hide they are going to take off. They are all the same color when the hide comes off. Commercial buyers pay for quality and growth not hide its about putting the most pounds on with the least amount of input= most profit.
 

Caustic Burno

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To add to my previous statement there are red and black cows in my pasture and I prefer not to have any black as I have no options with a black cow.I have hauled loads of Black baldies and red baldies to the sale barn sometimes the balck wins sometimes the red, but everytime it was the best calf on the trailer.
 

dun

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The folks that come up with these "importance scoring type things" always put fertility first. Pretty simple, there isn;t any money in no calf, but there is in just about any calf. Those calves (nonexistant) from open cows don;t weigh to good at weaning time.
 

VanC

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dun":30otgmhu said:
The folks that come up with these "importance scoring type things" always put fertility first. Pretty simple, there isn;t any money in no calf, but there is in just about any calf. Those calves (nonexistant) from open cows don;t weigh to good at weaning time.

Yes. I've always read that fertility is THE most important economic trait. How could it not be? Heritability has nothing to do with it.
 

Brandonm22

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mnmtranching":3rij46ll said:
Brandon, You raise whatever you like. I will give you an example. At a sale 2 weeks ago. 5 weight fancy black and red steers. $1.12-$1.23. A large group [about 20 pounds heavier] of mixed calves of mixed who knows what breeding $87.50.
I see that all the time. Theses are large feeder sales with buyers from several states.
If the owner of those calves would have used a red or black bull on his cows I believe he would have made at least $50 more per calf. I feel its good advise to suggest people raise cattle that are in demand.
As far as a better chance of making money on the $87.50 calves? I'll go with the cattle buyers. NOPE.

You are now comparing apples too oranges. If you tell me (forget the color) that a uniform group of polled/dehorned 5 weight calves all the same frame and ALL Muscle Score 1s brought a $100 more per head than a put together pen full of mixed colors, mixed frames, mixed muscle scores (with most on the 3 side) and some dairy influence in the group maybe some horns maybe some of questionable health I don't disagree with that at all. Of course the second pen is probably trader/dealer cattle he picked up either buying cheap bred cows or 3 wt calves he bought at a sale barn someplace and obviously put together cattle that have to be sorted and probably doctored are always going to take some sort of a dock.

All I was saying is that if you ran two sound 5 wt calves into the ring with the same size, muscle score, health status, and frame there is not going to be a $100 difference (right now neither of them will probably bring $1 cwt down here) just because one is black, red, yellow, white, burnt orange, or grey.
 

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