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Selecting seed stock?

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Alan

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After reading some of these post on EPD's and paper breeding. I'm wondering how much of a percentage do you as a seed stock buyer put into;

A) Phenotype, which includes breed traits such as eye and scrotal pigmentation in Herfs for example.
B) Pedigree, which includes dam and sire traits and history
C) EPD's assuming acc's are decent and sire and dam's acc are good.

So for example; when buying, do you give all A,B and C 33% of the decision? or does A get more weight? Does a prospect have to have all A,B and C good? Or if A is good and B or C is good, does having all 3 matter too much?

I left out do-ability in your environment, assuming you know how the line will do from others or your willing to take the chance... another example; my M326 stock seem to be very easy fleshing and easy keepers in my environment (Kansas breed lines), as will as Call 100 stock (high desert poor pastures unless irrigated).... but my Moler daughter just melted away into an decent looking cow, by no means as easy of keeper as most of my others.... but it could be the dams side. I'm in a area with lush green pastures for 8 months a year then field grass hay, but cold and lots of rain and mud in winter and fall.... and everywhere they and I walk is uphill, I'm sure there is no down hill walking at all :lol: . My M326 bred stock seem to do fine in it.

Please feel free to add any other things I may have missed.

Thanks,
Alan
 

KNERSIE

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Alan, I think you're oversimplifying things, without phenotype the rest means nothing, without performance (as in milk for example) pedigree and phenotype means nothing, phenotype and performance means nothing if the pedigree has a bad reputation. Over here there was a well known bull .......H1 which was known to take milk away, if he is on the pedigree the EBVs will reflect it and even if the cow has an udder like a jersey you'll be hardpressed to sell anything with ......H1 in the pedigree for decent money. The same applies for Victor Lucky Charm (can't remember the rest) he was know for small scrotums, but sired very good cattle otherwise. I'll never use either although I have very functional cattle out of both in my herd.
 

Brandonm22

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Alan":2lqgcsvw said:
After reading some of these post on EPD's and paper breeding. I'm wondering how much of a percentage do you as a seed stock buyer put into;

A) Phenotype, which includes breed traits such as eye and scrotal pigmentation in Herfs for example.
B) Pedigree, which includes dam and sire traits and history
C) EPD's assuming acc's are decent and sire and dam's acc are good.

So for example; when buying, do you give all A,B and C 33% of the decision? or does A get more weight? Does a prospect have to have all A,B and C good? Or if A is good and B or C is good, does having all 3 matter too much?

I don't think anybody actually has percentages. If a bull calf is born with the greatest of pedigrees and EPDs; but barely weans out at 450 lbs in a herd where the avg bull weans closer to 600 lbs I suspect he gets CUT. Likewise if a sires EPDs plummett when his first calves report data, I suspect that many producers (even ones who officially "don't look at epds") order less (if any) of his semen that year. Similarly, if a bull has the pedigree, the epds, and even great weights; but is bug eyed and the most post legged bull calf to ever come off that farm I think that bull gets cut at most places. Also if a calf has the pedigree, the EPDs, "the look", and the performance but is a certifiable lunatic.......going after people, cows, horses, tearing up fences, and running up and down the road chasing cars most rational folks are going to cut HIM even if he is otherwise the best bull they have ever raised. If you are buying you want one that improves your cows in what they need improved on and that doesn't take you backwards on the traits your cows already excell at (and that should be both in the phenotype and EPDs).
 

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Brandonm22":30lpdzxf said:
Alan":30lpdzxf said:
After reading some of these post on EPD's and paper breeding. I'm wondering how much of a percentage do you as a seed stock buyer put into;

A) Phenotype, which includes breed traits such as eye and scrotal pigmentation in Herfs for example.
B) Pedigree, which includes dam and sire traits and history
C) EPD's assuming acc's are decent and sire and dam's acc are good.

So for example; when buying, do you give all A,B and C 33% of the decision? or does A get more weight? Does a prospect have to have all A,B and C good? Or if A is good and B or C is good, does having all 3 matter too much?

I don't think anybody actually has percentages. If a bull calf is born with the greatest of pedigrees and EPDs; but barely weans out at 450 lbs in a herd where the avg bull weans closer to 600 lbs I suspect he gets CUT. Likewise if a sires EPDs plummett when his first calves report data, I suspect that many producers (even ones who officially "don't look at epds") order less (if any) of his semen that year. Similarly, if a bull has the pedigree, the epds, and even great weights; but is bug eyed and the most post legged bull calf to ever come off that farm I think that bull gets cut at most places. Also if a calf has the pedigree, the EPDs, "the look", and the performance but is a certifiable lunatic.......going after people, cows, horses, tearing up fences, and running up and down the road chasing cars most rational folks are going to cut HIM even if he is otherwise the best bull they have ever raised. If you are buying you want one that improves your cows in what they need improved on and that doesn't take you backwards on the traits your cows already excell at (and that should be both in the phenotype and EPDs).

Brandon,

Thank you for the best overall summary for beginners I've seen so far. By the way, there is a very good overall article on EPD basics in the current (August) edition of Hereford World. It talks about the importance of the contemporary group in establishing the value of EPD's. EPD's require accurate, honest reporting and meaningful contemporary groups.

Jim
 

HerefordSire

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Alan":dlys8f56 said:
After reading some of these post on EPD's and paper breeding. I'm wondering how much of a percentage do you as a seed stock buyer put into;

A) Phenotype, which includes breed traits such as eye and scrotal pigmentation in Herfs for example.
B) Pedigree, which includes dam and sire traits and history
C) EPD's assuming acc's are decent and sire and dam's acc are good.

So for example; when buying, do you give all A,B and C 33% of the decision? or does A get more weight? Does a prospect have to have all A,B and C good? Or if A is good and B or C is good, does having all 3 matter too much?

I left out do-ability in your environment, assuming you know how the line will do from others or your willing to take the chance... another example; my M326 stock seem to be very easy fleshing and easy keepers in my environment (Kansas breed lines), as will as Call 100 stock (high desert poor pastures unless irrigated).... but my Moler daughter just melted away into an decent looking cow, by no means as easy of keeper as most of my others.... but it could be the dams side. I'm in a area with lush green pastures for 8 months a year then field grass hay, but cold and lots of rain and mud in winter and fall.... and everywhere they and I walk is uphill, I'm sure there is no down hill walking at all :lol: . My M326 bred stock seem to do fine in it.

Please feel free to add any other things I may have missed.

Thanks,
Alan


As a linebreeder...I think there is a difference in stage of progress. If you have already located your preferred pedigree line(s), then the objections become much different. For example, Remitall chose to go with Keynote 20X as their primary root as the result of experimenting with several lines. I am sure they made large investments in time and money trying to find this line and animal. They probably struggled just like most other breeders with hits and misses. It was years before they landed on him according to what I read. I am sure they experimented with many pedigrees and documented the pro and cons privately. Whatever their objections were, they became satisfied at some point after his progeny began performing. Then they went back to the source and stacked his genes thereby narrowing the output possibilities so they could concentrate on other aspects of breeding.

It is difficult to concentrate on 100 variables at one time. It is much easier to focus on the most important first. For example, fertility seems to be a very important economic variable. Which pedigree lines are most fertile? I would hate to spend ten years trying to breed a great root animal I could linebreed and then found out the animal was not fertile, etc., etc.
 

smnherf

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Alan, I agree with Knersie, you are oversimplifying things.

I use them all in makeing my breeding decisions wether it be AI or bull purchases. Once the calves are on the ground though, they have to make it on their own merit. In fact the epd or the pedigree won't matter all that much to me. As long as the calves can keep up with my existing calves and their daughter can get bred and maintain themselves with out creating me any problems, they will stay here no matter what their pedigree or epd states.

I agree with you on the M326 daughters. That has been my experience too and I have daughters that will be weaning their 3rd calf.

Brian
 
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Alan

Alan

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dun":18q8wumz said:
KNERSIE":18q8wumz said:
Alan, I think you're oversimplifying things,
I agree

Okay not trying to attack two of the most knowledgable guys on the boards............ but you tell me nothing of what I want to know, except I'm oversimplifying. ie; The bull looks great, but I have never heard of the cattle in the pedigree and the EPD's are unproven..... so how good is A,B and C? You're buying a bull or cow, how much weight do you put into A,B, or C?

Alan
 

Brandonm22

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Alan":fbn7h4w5 said:
Okay not trying to attack two of the most knowledgable guys on the boards............ but you tell me nothing of what I want to know, except I'm oversimplifying. ie; The bull looks great, but I have never heard of the cattle in the pedigree and the EPD's are unproven..... so how good is A,B and C? You're buying a bull or cow, how much weight do you put into A,B, or C?

Alan

IF you are a seedstock producer CAN you even seriously consider purchasing a sire from a pedigree you know nothing about with EPDs that are so low accuracy as to be meaningless??? That sorta sounds like acting without a plan.
 
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Alan

Alan

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SRBeef":1fmu7o4k said:
Brandonm22":1fmu7o4k said:
Alan":1fmu7o4k said:
After reading some of these post on EPD's and paper breeding. I'm wondering how much of a percentage do you as a seed stock buyer put into;

A) Phenotype, which includes breed traits such as eye and scrotal pigmentation in Herfs for example.
B) Pedigree, which includes dam and sire traits and history
C) EPD's assuming acc's are decent and sire and dam's acc are good.

So for example; when buying, do you give all A,B and C 33% of the decision? or does A get more weight? Does a prospect have to have all A,B and C good? Or if A is good and B or C is good, does having all 3 matter too much?

I don't think anybody actually has percentages. If a bull calf is born with the greatest of pedigrees and EPDs; but barely weans out at 450 lbs in a herd where the avg bull weans closer to 600 lbs I suspect he gets CUT. Likewise if a sires EPDs plummett when his first calves report data, I suspect that many producers (even ones who officially "don't look at epds") order less (if any) of his semen that year. Similarly, if a bull has the pedigree, the epds, and even great weights; but is bug eyed and the most post legged bull calf to ever come off that farm I think that bull gets cut at most places. Also if a calf has the pedigree, the EPDs, "the look", and the performance but is a certifiable lunatic.......going after people, cows, horses, tearing up fences, and running up and down the road chasing cars most rational folks are going to cut HIM even if he is otherwise the best bull they have ever raised. If you are buying you want one that improves your cows in what they need improved on and that doesn't take you backwards on the traits your cows already excell at (and that should be both in the phenotype and EPDs).

Brandon,

Thank you for the best overall summary for beginners I've seen so far. By the way, there is a very good overall article on EPD basics in the current (August) edition of Hereford World. It talks about the importance of the contemporary group in establishing the value of EPD's. EPD's require accurate, honest reporting and meaningful contemporary groups.

Jim

Okay my third attempted at getting this posted (I've tried to send it and it vanishes), so I'm hurrying and not going to get too much in the weeds. Brandon, I'll second the thank you for the most complete and online answer I have gotten so far, good answer. I agree, if a prospect is a knuckle head, who cares about A,B, or C? but if he or she has a great phenotype and B and C is unknown, what do you do? My question is how much consideration do you 'seed stock" breeders give to each of "A", "B", and "C"?

Alan
 
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Alan

Alan

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Brandonm22":3adb0g8h said:
Alan":3adb0g8h said:
Okay not trying to attack two of the most knowledgable guys on the boards............ but you tell me nothing of what I want to know, except I'm oversimplifying. ie; The bull looks great, but I have never heard of the cattle in the pedigree and the EPD's are unproven..... so how good is A,B and C? You're buying a bull or cow, how much weight do you put into A,B, or C?

Alan

IF you are a seedstock producer CAN you even seriously consider purchasing a sire from a pedigree you know nothing about with EPDs that are so low accuracy as to be meaningless??? That sorta sounds like acting without a plan.

Okay I'll give you the sire part, but how about a heifer with the same pedigree and EPD's? My point is how much do you give A,B and C,

Alan
 

Brandonm22

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Alan":2mfgagtf said:
Okay my third attempted at getting this posted (I've tried to send it and it vanishes), so I'm hurrying and not going to get too much in the weeds. Brandon, I'll second the thank you for the most complete and online answer I have gotten so far, good answer. I agree, if a prospect is a knuckle head, who cares about A,B, or C? but if he or she has a great phenotype and B and C is unknown, what do you do? My question is how much consideration do you 'seed stock" breeders give to each of "A", "B", and "C"?

Alan

If I am buying a bull too breed crossbred cows I picked up at the stockyard, it is not really all that difficult to find one that will improve those cows. There are probably a 100++ of them within 60 miles from me. Now for a "breeder" with a very elite set of cows who has been picking matings for multiple generations with certain specific goals (phenotype, EPDs, pedigrees, etc) he is working towards it SHOULD get increasingly more difficult too find a sire that improves that specific set of cows in the multiple ways that the breeder intends. That person may need to get on a plane too find his next herd sire. There is no right answer in this. Somebody who has EPDs where he is satisfied with them might be more interested in adding more butt and eye pigment. Somebody on the other hand who is losing sales because of the birth weight EPD of his calves might actually be chasing low birth weight numbers. Somebody who is linebreeding Anxiety the 4ths or Feltons 517 on the other hand may place more emphasis on the pedigree (or not). No one answer will fit every set of cows.
 

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The answer is pretty simple if you are a seedstock producer, it's the whole package. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but everything needs to be really good if you are going to produce seedstock.
 

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Alan":1c0a6xvv said:
My question is how much consideration do you 'seed stock" breeders give to each of "A", "B", and "C"?

Alan

Ordinarily, probably 80% A phenotype, 20% B pedigree, 0% C EBVs/EPDs

We dont use EBVs, our cattle dont get them and I dont look at them. I will look at raw data though.

Most of my selection is on phenotype, but we are also very very aware of pedigrees. We line breed and know the families that work for us.

Occasionally, if there is an animal that has the pedigree that we know works for us, but her phenotype isnt outstanding, I will place maybe 40% pedigree and 60% phenotype, and she will have a place in the herd. Similarly, if there is an outstanding phenotype animal but an unfamiliar pedigree, I will place more emphasis on phenotype and buy her anyway. But, at the same time, if there is an animal who has outstanding phenotype but from a family I know is a train wreck in my herd, I wont buy her regardless of the phenotype
 
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Alan

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RD-Sam":3n7teny1 said:
The answer is pretty simple if you are a seedstock producer, it's the whole package. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but everything needs to be really good if you are going to produce seedstock.

Thank you, I am talking about seed stock and I do know all A,B, and C (D and\or E ) play a big part, but I would like to know how much of a part they play in selecting cattle. As this goes on I realize I'm being too open and "simple" about this. Selecting a bull is more of a critical selection than one heifer.... so let's focus on a heifer rather than a herd bull.

Thanks again for the response.
Alan
 

RD-Sam

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When I am looking at a sale catelog, I look at the pedigree and the EPD's to decide which ones I like. If I have someone buying cattle for me, I give them a list based on that, then tell them to cull anything from the list that has bad phenotype or doesn't look sound. If I can go myself, I may see something that I like that wasn't marked, then I look at the pedigree again and the EPD's, if there is nothing obviously bad there, I put it on the list to bid. That is a sale senario. :cowboy:
 

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[/quote]

Okay my third attempted at getting this posted (I've tried to send it and it vanishes), so I'm hurrying and not going to get too much in the weeds. Brandon, I'll second the thank you for the most complete and online answer I have gotten so far, good answer. I agree, if a prospect is a knuckle head, who cares about A,B, or C? but if he or she has a great phenotype and B and C is unknown, what do you do? My question is how much consideration do you 'seed stock" breeders give to each of "A", "B", and "C"?

Alan[/quote]

Alan,

For me it always comes down to can the purchases improve my cowherd, are they priced in my range to make it pay and is the information I can collect before making the decision final, enough to convince me to take the risk . The more information I have the more I am willing to put at risk with the new addition.

With an unknown pedigree and great epds, I would be extremely cautious. I would need to look at the data collected, how many calves born,how many herds, how many were registered and how much data was collected on bw, ww, yw, carcass and sc and REA/cwt. Feed lot and carcass data collected would be even better. If that isn't possible,I need to interview the breeder for his philosophies on breeding. If they aren't like mine, were done.

A good phenotype would depend on the situation too. At a show, it wouldn't really mean a lot especially if I don't know the people as I don't know the bulls feed program. Fat can make an average animal look good sometimes. Now if it was in the pasture after he had bred 30 cows and he still looked good, the epds or pedigree wouldn't mean as much as the phenotype.

I really can't break it down to certain percentages as there are cattle that I wouldn't buy at any price even if the epds and phenotype were perfect. I guess it is a floating formula based on the information I have and the risk reward ratio I am willing to accept. I hope this helps.

Brian
 

KNERSIE

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I agree with RD-Sam that its the complete package that counts, if anyone of the three elements you've mentioned is missing its not seedstock material in my opinion.

Another very important consideration is type, I believe you as a breeder must settle on a type and only allow very small variations within the type to fit a wider variety of buyer needs if you feel you really have to. Nothing puts me more off from a herd than seeing completely different types running with the same bull. It just gives the impression that either the breeder doesn't know what he wants or doesn't know what he is doing. I want others to be able to tell that bull probably comes from my herd just by looking at him. I realise that this is very difficult to do in a growing herd, but when you buy new females in it will be the first thing I look at.

This photo is a random shot of my registered cows, it is long yearling bred heifers and mature cows running together, although you can see the heifers are not as filled out yet its plain to see they are very similar in type.
 

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Here is how we select a bull to use.

The bull must have some eye appeal, doesn't have to be the showy type but just look like he has everything where it needs to be. Must have depth of rib, guts, above average length, and above average muscle. Feet and legs have to be good. After I find a top bull that has all of this, then I take a look at his dam, and any other relatives we can find. I feel the dam is extremely important when selecting bulls to use, as I want to get as good of an udder as possible, she must be easy keeping and not frail made. Her feet have to be good, and I would like her to be built like a pig - all depth and length. Sometimes we do it backwards, if I find a dam good cow somewhere, then I watch to see what she has and if a good bull comes out of her, then we will try to get him bought. The EPDs and pedigree are the last thing I look at. They must be decent, no extremes for milk or birth. I don't want a 5 birth EPD, I will use 3+ and low 4's though but perfer 1 to 3. (I am talking for cows not heifers) I don't want milk under a 10 and perfer it not over a 20. But it seems very hard to not get a higher milk EPD as the average just keeps climbing. I don't mind high weaning and yearling as we like performance, and I feel we can keep our mature size in line by seeing the bulls sire and dam and make sure aren't to big. I will use all different kinds of pedigrees, but will avoid certain lines. Now with that said, I won't use a bull/pedigree just because of his popularity, he has to have what we are wanting. We put on lots and lots of miles with my sale management business and in search of a good bull or cow, and see lots of cattle. So I feel we what we are using is only the best we can find, and I think that is how a seedstock breeder should be, using the absolute best he can find and afford.
 

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o.k. Alan, I'll bite;

It would differ if I were selecting bulls, cows, or heifers. IThe older the animal, the more importance I would place on phenotype.

In general, I would say A is most important, C second most important and B the least important of the three listed. The % of importance would vary depending upon what I was buying. C includes some of B, because of heritability issues. This is just my personal opinion, however. I've never been impressed with a bull being a "son of ____" or "out of ____". It doesn't matter if you moma and daddy are great, it doesn't mean your gonna be. I always want to see pictures, or the animal first. Then I ask for EPD's - especially for bulls. Then their pedigree comes in, but it's a distant last in my opinion. I would buy a bull or heifer without knowing a thing about their pedigree if the animal looked right and had good epd's for my situation. I would not buy an animal, however, sight unseen...
 
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