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Shallow gene pool

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Cattle Rack Rancher

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I keep hearing you guys talking about how the gene pool in certain breeds isn't big enough. I must assume then that you must be thinking of these breeds in terms of raising them as purebreds. As a commercial breeder, I can't see what the difference would be to using a galloway or any bull from a less common breed as long as it is giving me the traits that I am looking for in my next generation of heifers. Also, I get quite a bit more hybrid vigor when crossing to these less common breeds. Am I missing something here?
 

dun

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The shallowness of the gene pool means that there aren't many proven high accuracy bulls to choose from.
We AI everything and require an accuracy for at a minimum BW of at least .90, in some cases we'll slip it to .85.
We prefer all of the traits we are selecting for to be in the high .8 range as a minimum, that would be if we are planning on possibly retaining heifers. For terminal cross, we only really worry about BW, WW, YW, and carcass.
In either Beef or Drovers they had a study results that indicates that individual expressed heterosis is only (if I remmeber correctly) 8% where maternal is 80%.

dun


Cattle Rack Rancher":31ivrqud said:
I keep hearing you guys talking about how the gene pool in certain breeds isn't big enough. I must assume then that you must be thinking of these breeds in terms of raising them as purebreds. As a commercial breeder, I can't see what the difference would be to using a galloway or any bull from a less common breed as long as it is giving me the traits that I am looking for in my next generation of heifers. Also, I get quite a bit more hybrid vigor when crossing to these less common breeds. Am I missing something here?
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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Because I work full time and breeding season is usually when I put in the most hours at work, I prefer to let the bulls do the work for me. I've always been told that virgin bulls are the best. The bull breeders I buy from always AI. Any tips on trying to pick a virgin bull? I've got EPD's on the sire as well as birth weights and weaning weights on the bulls I'm looking at. What else would improve my success at picking a bull other than just that I like the looks of him?
 

dun

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I don't understand the concept of virgin bulls being the "best". Even with EPDs and a BSE you still can't judge the libido or athleticism, but be that as it may.
When using unproven bulls, i.e. EPDs based strictly on his sibs and ancestors, I would look at both sides of the pedigree for several generations back.
A BW EPD of 0 could almost be derived from a bull with +10 and a cow with -10. With heifers, the EPDs frequently have either I or P for accuracy. That to my mind boils down to a SWAG. If you check multiple generations, checking each animal in the pedigree you'll get a better idea if there are any extremes. Those extremes a generation or two ago can jump up and bite you.

dun


Cattle Rack Rancher":2jz7c75a said:
Because I work full time and breeding season is usually when I put in the most hours at work, I prefer to let the bulls do the work for me. I've always been told that virgin bulls are the best. The bull breeders I buy from always AI. Any tips on trying to pick a virgin bull? I've got EPD's on the sire as well as birth weights and weaning weights on the bulls I'm looking at. What else would improve my success at picking a bull other than just that I like the looks of him?
 

A. delaGarza

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Cattle Rack Rancher":1z3pa4gn said:
I keep hearing you guys talking about how the gene pool in certain breeds isn't big enough. I must assume then that you must be thinking of these breeds in terms of raising them as purebreds. As a commercial breeder, I can't see what the difference would be to using a galloway or any bull from a less common breed as long as it is giving me the traits that I am looking for in my next generation of heifers. Also, I get quite a bit more hybrid vigor when crossing to these less common breeds. Am I missing something here?

as a commercial breeder you are in the right track , in the past we never check EPD's of the bulls that we use in our commercial herds the only thing that we knew was that English breeds marble and have more back fat than Continentals but Continentals are bigger than English and that any of these cross to any bos Indicus will have more heterosis so using common sense an English-Continental cross with some Bos Indicus influence will be a great commercial cattle
 
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Anonymous

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English-Continental-Bos Indicus crosses ----- yep, I reckon that heterosis is a big part of why those Charolais sired calves out of tigerstripe cows grow so well way down south and in parts of the west, even on some relatively poor forage. Granted, they won't generally marble as well and as early as Angus, Shorthorn or Hereford but they sure do pack on the pounds! That's just a common example from my neck of the woods, I'm sure there are others. Regards, Arnold Z.
 
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personally I've used the depth of the gene pool to refer to the variability of the breed, lots of Angus- big gene pool, big angus, little angus, everything in between. as for epds, there are some bulls with lots of get on the ground in the smaller breeds, just not as many of them and probably not at the extremes of the breed. IMHO I agree with cattle rack, most commercial guys don't need to worry about the depth of the pool since most of them are only working with a few traits at most. Leachman was only working with half doz. or so.
 

dun

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Other then terminal sires, as a commercial breeder I feel that proven balalnced section is just as important as it is for seedstock producers. The same balancethat is required in seedstock heifers/bulls is required for commercial heifers. Commercial bulls I could care less about it since we're all AI. But since all bulls and the majority of the heifers will be marketed for slaughter, carcass is just as important as maternal characteristics. And calving ease/BW is vital to gettin that calf on the ground this year and another in 12 months.

dun


jls":23e7cx0z said:
personally I've used the depth of the gene pool to refer to the variability of the breed, lots of Angus- big gene pool, big angus, little angus, everything in between. as for epds, there are some bulls with lots of get on the ground in the smaller breeds, just not as many of them and probably not at the extremes of the breed. IMHO I agree with cattle rack, most commercial guys don't need to worry about the depth of the pool since most of them are only working with a few traits at most. Leachman was only working with half doz. or so.
 

Frankie

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Cattle Rack Rancher":36gndh2z said:
Because I work full time and breeding season is usually when I put in the most hours at work, I prefer to let the bulls do the work for me. I've always been told that virgin bulls are the best. The bull breeders I buy from always AI. Any tips on trying to pick a virgin bull? I've got EPD's on the sire as well as birth weights and weaning weights on the bulls I'm looking at. What else would improve my success at picking a bull other than just that I like the looks of him?

Be sure the bull has a Breeding Soundness Exam (BSE) before you buy him, understand how to read a BSE. Ask the seller if he offers a breeding guarantee and watch the bull for a while. Be sure he's actually setting cows. A virgin bull is less likely to pass on veneral diseases to your cow herd. If you're buying bulls that are sired by AI bulls, you're probably getting the breed's newer genetics, perhaps that's what part of the "virgin bulls are best" claim?
 
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the reason DUN likes large gene pools is because angus cattle are not a single breed any more , he has to rely on EPDs because their is so much genetic veriation of traits within the breed that you can no longer trust the breed itself to perpetuiat its original traits ,exept black, IE you can get an angus bull who will throw 70 lb calves and you can get an angus bull that will yeild like a charolais, you can have 900 lb angus cattle down south and you can go to MT or NB and get 1300 lb angus cows . this limits the usfulness of this breed for use in a well thought out cross breeding program, unless you like black .a small gene pool is a good thing , why yu ask ? because commercial cattleman have to utilize a cross breeding program it has been proven time and time again , with the more pure breeds , salars , braunvieh , fleck semmies , french charolais , nelore , gelbviehs , on and on you can select for traits that are more consistent and more heritable so you know that when you breed to a spotted up semmie bull youll wean a 750 lb calf and when you breed to a nelore youll get one of the most effecient females in the world , you see the smaller the gene pool the more matched pairs of chromosomes. this my friend will insur traits are passed along CONSISTENTLY . but you have to think about haw you use these traits , you cant run out and breed a belgium blue bull to a red angus heffier .
 

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