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Performance Article Series: Part 6 EPDs

 

By Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement & Western Field Representative

The past articles in this series have all been leading up to this, a basic overview of Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs): what they are and how they are calculated. EPDs are designed to be used to show differences in the genetic potential of an animal when compared to another animal or to an average. EPD calculations take into account an animal’s individual performance, the performance of related animals and the estimated relatedness of animals. The environment is factored out of an EPD because of the manner in which they are calculated. The calculation of EPDs is based on C.R. Henderson’s Mixed Model Equations, which utilize a method called Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP). The key word in BLUP is unbiased, an EPD is an unbiased prediction based on the information that is used in the genetic evaluation.

The first part of an EPD calculation requires phenotypic records. These are the records that have been discussed before such as growth traits, ultrasound scan traits and anything else that is recorded. Without these records there is no way to proceed with a genetic evaluation and calculate EPDs. It is also very important to keep these records on all animals in order to provide more data that provides for better evaluation and comparison between the animals. These records should all be taken in groups so that there is a means of comparing. This leads to another portion of EPD calculations, which is contemporary groups.

Contemporary groups are important because they allow for animals to be compared to other animals that are raised in a similar environment. Contemporary groups are formed for birth weight by when a calf is born and where. Then weaning weight contemporary groups are formed by the weaning group and these groups stay together through yearling weight and scan data. Animals can be taken from the weaning group before yearling weight, but cannot be added. To calculate EPDs the differences within the group are used. This is another reason it is important to record all animals until they are culled. Recording only certain animals creates biased data and does not give as much credit to high performing animals.

The other part of the EPD equation is the animal’s relatedness to other animals in the evaluation. This step is done by analyzing the enormous pedigree file of the breed and seeing how related any two animals are based solely on a pedigree estimate. Relatedness seems simple, half from the sire and half from the dam, but in a breed all animals are related in some way and animals can be more related to one relative than to another. Knowing how related animals perform and how related they are is used in the calculation of EPDs.

This chart represents what goes into the calculation and what comes out:

EPDs are calculated twice a year for Beefmaster Breeders United, once in the spring and once in the fall. In-between evaluations the association has implemented Interim EPDs or “I” for animals that are not included in the evaluation. Animals that are registered and have data recorded between evaluations will receive Interims (I), which are more accurate than a pedigree estimate (PE) since they take into account an individual’s performance in a contemporary group. The equation for calculating interims is I= ½ Sire EPD + ½ Dam EPD + ½ Mendelian Sampling Effect. These Interim EPDs will be replaced with actual EPDs after a genetic evaluation is finished.

These are the very basics to EPD calculation. EPDs help to provide an unbiased prediction of how an animal’s progeny will perform based on phenotypic records, pedigree and contemporary groups. EPDs are a tool that producers can use to improve and continue to move forward with their breeding decisions. In the next article I will discuss the use of EPDs.

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Performance Article Series: Part 5 Contemporary Groups

 

By Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement & Western Field Representative

Starting with this article I will discuss the other factors that go into the calculation of EPDs, other than the measured traits that have been mentioned previously. These factors are what allow us to take out environment and estimate relatedness, in order to calculate EPDs. The first factor that I will discuss is contemporary groups, and basically a contemporary group are animals of approximately the same age and sex that have been managed the same. By properly forming contemporary groups the environmental effects can be taken out in the calculation of EPDs. In the calculation of EPDs the difference of the measured trait against contemporaries is what is important. For example, if there is a 50 pound difference between weaning weights of two animals it does not matter if the weights are 550 pounds and 600 pounds, or 750 pounds and 800 pounds the EPD calculation will not change. This is why it is important to properly form groups, so that accurate comparisons can be made.

Contemporary groups for birth weight are based on the owner of the cow at the time of birth, the sex of the calf, the birth year, the birth type, and the age of the dam. It is a good idea to try to keep calves born to cows/heifers that are managed the same in the same contemporary group, provided they are all born within a reasonable calving season. The easiest way to deal with birth contemporary groups is to have a defined calving season and use that as a contemporary group. Embryo Transfer (ET) calves are treated differently and will be in a contemporary group of one, unless the breed of the recipient dam is noted. If there are several calves out of the same recipient dam breed, then they can be in a contemporary group together. Calves that are the first progeny of a dam are grouped differently than calves out of cows that have had a calf previously. A breeder can also define contemporary groups by providing a birth group.

Weaning weight contemporaries are based on the original herd, the sex of the calf, the year of birth, the management group and management code, and ET vs natural calves. Calves that are raised the same and are of the same sex at weaning are an easy way to make a weaning contemporary group. When creating a weaning contemporary a breeder can assign contemporary groups using a management code and custom weaning group. Management codes define how the calf was raised until weaning, whether the calf had access to creep feed, if the calf is an ET calf or if the calf was raised by a foster dam. Again, calves out of recipient dams will be grouped alone, unless a breed of dam is provided for the recipient. The weaning group is defined by the breeder and each group should have a different letter or number designation. Making sure that there are several calves in a contemporary group is important for information to be valuable for the genetic evaluation.

Yearling contemporaries are based on the original owner, the sex of the calf, year of birth, the management group and management code, the type of calf, and previous contemporary group. Calves that are weaned at the same time and managed the same until yearling weights are taken can be kept in the same contemporary groups. If some of the calves weaned together are taken to another pasture and raised differently then they will become their own contemporary group. Animals that are in a weaning contemporary group can stay in a group through yearling as long as they are raised the same way until that point.  New animals cannot join a yearling contemporary group. The management codes for yearling weights deal with how much if any the calves in the group were fed from weaning until yearling, and management groups are breeder defined groups. Since many breeders scan at the same time that they take yearling weights, scanning groups are very similarly defined. However, if a breeder weighs some animals but does not scan the animals, then those animals that are scanned will be in a group together for scanning with other animals that have the same yearling group.

Contemporary groups are extremely important in allowing comparisons of animals that are raised the same, and allow the genetic evaluation to remove environmental effects. To be in a contemporary group animals must be the same sex, approximately the same age and managed in the same way. The differences in the performance of animals in the group are what matters in the genetic evaluation, making it important to have several animals in a contemporary group so that these valuable comparisons can be made. Forming proper contemporary groups is extremely important in terms of having an accurate genetic evaluation. In the next article I will discuss how traditional EPDs are calculated and how they can be used.

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The Full Story: Cowboys, Cattle and the Colorado River

 

Modern day Lonesome Dove happens twice a year, just outside the quiet fishing town of Matagorda, Texas. Can you picture it? It is a sight straight out of the Old West, but with a 21st century spin; iPhones in the shirt pockets belonging to sweaty cowboys and motorboats assisting swimming calves. Even with modern technology, this century-old tradition still takes place for the Huebner Brothers Cattle Company of Bay City, Texas. For over 100 years, this ranch has been driving its cattle from their winter pastures located on the 30-mile Matagorda peninsula, which runs from the mouth of the Colorado River in Matagorda to the Port O’Connor ship channel, to their summer pastures located at the Huebner headquarters south of Bay City. The ranch runs approximately 700 cows, primarily Beefmaster and Beefmaster influenced cows that are bred to registered Beefmaster bulls.

Keith Meyer, a member of the Huebner family and an operator at Huebner Bros., says “the main thing we appreciate about the Beefmaster breed is their hardiness, their fertility, and their ability to grow. It works in our program because of where we are located and the kind of country we are putting them on.”

While on the peninsula during the winter, the cows graze on salt grass and thrive in the harsh coastal climate. Meyer says that their Beefmaster cows really hold up well in the harsh country found on the peninsula, they thrive during the winter despite only grazing on saltgrass, dealing with flies and the humid climate.

“We bring the cows down here in early to mid-November, depending on the weather and growing conditions at home. They do very well during the winter and that allows us to rest our pastures at home. They [the cows] do know when it’s time to come home. When you start getting into spring, with warmer days, the flies get a little tougher on them,” says Meyer.

Not only does the heat and flies encourage the cows to go home, but the cowboys have to make sure to get the cows moved before the storm and hurricane season rolls in during the summer. So each year, around Easter, a dozen or so cowboys round up the cattle on the island and gather them in a holding pen. From there the smallest calves are loaded into a trailer so they can ride a barge across the Colorado River, which lies between their winter home and summer home. Then the cows and bigger calves are driven down the island to where the mouth of the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico.

To finish their journey, the cows and big calves must swim across the river, which is 200 yards across and 15 feet deep. According to Meyer, “every swim is a little bit different”. For example, this year 53 head of older, lead cows voluntarily swam across the river a few weeks early, so it took a little more pushing from the cowboys and horses to get the swim started. However, once the front cows made the plunge, the whole group followed suit and the swim was completed with no cows or calves being lost. To ensure that the calves make it across safely, there are two or three boats in the water watching the calves closely and assisting those that are too tired or swimming in the wrong direction. This year about five calves were pulled from the water onto the boats, they completed their journey in luxury and were reunited with their moms at the holding pens. This drive is still considered the oldest cattle drive in Texas, but recently lost the title of longest cattle drive in Texas. Until a few years ago, the cattle were driven by horseback all the way to the pastures in Bay City. However, with the construction of a nearby bridge, it became too dangerous for the cattle and the community. So now after the cattle swim across the river, they are held in pens overnight so that cows and calves can pair up, then they are loaded into trailers the next day to complete the journey to Bay City.

This same process is completed in reverse order around Thanksgiving each year. And if you are wondering, this cattle swim can be viewed by the public. Groups of people gather at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park, which is managed by Lower Colorado River Authority, to watch this scene out of an old western movie. So if you’re in the area of the Matagorda Bay peninsula around Easter or Thanksgiving, make sure to bring your camera and enjoy this century-old tradition.

Now keep in mind, driving cattle is not the sole purpose at the Huebner Brothers ranch, it is only a piece of the puzzle. The ultimate goal of any ranch is to make money and grow superior cattle. Huebner Brothers is no different. Their goals are to produce heavy weight yearling steers and superior replacement females and the Beefmaster breed has allowed them to accomplish both goals: weight and maternal traits.

“Most of the weaning weights on these Beefmaster influenced calves are going to be between 650 and 700 pounds in the fall. We will wean a lot of these calves and hold on to them and ship them as yearlings in the spring. We try to get them up to 750 to 800 pounds as yearlings,” says Meyer.

In the past the ranch has used Charolais and Gelbvieh bulls on their cows, but the move over to Beefmaster bulls has been significant in improving the ranch’s ability to replace with their own heifers. According to Meyer, they wanted to get the Brahman influence back into their cattle and the Beefmaster breed has been beneficial in allowing them to accomplish that. This is a ranch rich with history and tradition, and Beefmaster cattle is their breed of choice.

Whether your cattle operation is just starting or you have been running cows for decades, Beefmaster cattle will produce you extremely fertile, functional and docile females that the beef industry needs to rebuild America’s cow herds. While also producing profitable and efficient feeder calves that deliver results in today’s volatile marketplace. Adding Beefmasters to your program will offer proven maternal traits, proven efficiency and proven heterosis. Just ask the Huebner Brothers Cattle Company.

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Reproductive EPDs

 

The Breed Improvement Committee discussed different measures of fertility that could be measured and used to help producers make selection decisions. One of the traits that was discussed was heifer pregnancy. Heifer pregnancy is a measure that many breeders already take and can be even more informative in the form of an EPD. To look at heifer pregnancy is simple, the animals are recorded and a all that is needed is a simple bred or open call. To get even more in depth an AI date and bull turn out date, as well as a calving date can be recorded to help calculate an EPD for days to calving.

If you have any of this data collected historically it would be helpful in calculating these reproductive EPDs, which will help us in developing and improving our $M index to be the best index in the industry. Please download the form below and use the form to record your cow/heifer pregnancy data. Then submit the form to Lance Bauer at lbauer@beefmasters.org. If you have any questions feel free to contact Lance Bauer 210-732-3132.

2018 Pregnancy Worksheet

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Stephen F. Austin Heifer and Bull Development Programs

 

SFA Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that we will host their heifer and bull development program again this fall. Weaned heifers weighing between 400-700 lb will be accepted into the program beginning mid-October with a start date of November 1st. The bull development program is scheduled to begin January 11th. It’s not too early to start planning for fall weaning.

Producers needing to deliver cattle at an earlier date may do so by contacting farm manager Dustin Black. Information on the programs along with the signup sheets are available for download below.

SFA Heifer Development Program 2018

SFA Spring 2019 Bull Development Program

For more information contact Dustin Black (281)750-6270  or (936)468-6948 or Dr. Erin Brown  (936)468-4433.

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Beefmaster Uniformity Initiative

 

Beefmaster Breeders and Members,

First we want to thank the task force for its time and work on reaching a decision that all members felt was in the best interest of the Beefmaster breed and the association’s members moving forward. The BBU Board of Directors received the following recommendations on the 2018 Color Policy from the appointed task force and has acted to accept those recommendations. 1.)  The board of directors has voted to rescind the 2018 Color Policy as previously passed in the June meetings. 2.) The board of directors has voted to set a goal of reaching a more uniform breed identity in 15 years; through a voluntary pathway described as a Uniformity Initiative.

Beefmaster Uniformity Initiative

In the endeavor to further advance the position of Beefmaster cattle in the commercial beef industry, BBU recognizes the need to create a more consistent and uniform Beefmaster animal to enhance breed identity. A more distinct and positive identity should aid in the marketability and desirability of Beefmaster genetics and thus grow the membership and herd book of registered Beefmaster cattle. In furtherance of these goals, the BBU Board of Directors has adopted the following plan of action:

Member Input and Education Program Period

Beginning immediately and continuing for a period of approximately 12 months, BBU staff, directors, task force members, and others will engage in a grass-roots Member Input and Education Program at the request and direction of the BBU Board of Directors, focusing on members, Satellites, Marketing Groups, and the JBBA. This Member Input and Education Program will concentrate on industry concerns and requests as pertaining to the need for more uniform cattle. It will also highlight the tremendous gains Beefmaster breeders have already made, while emphasizing the endless potential for further industry expansion through the production of more uniform cattle with respect to both visual concerns, such as color and breed character, as well as consistency in carcass performance.

A Path to Achieve the Goal of a More Uniform Beefmaster

At the conclusion of the Member Input and Education Program period, the BBU Board of Directors will develop a Uniformity Initiative with the goal of creating a voluntary path to achieving a more uniform Beefmaster product over a 15-year period of education, promotion, and breeder participation. It is believed that this 15-year period will provide ample time for members to adjust without financial loss or radical changes to their breeding programs that could cause single trait selection or other unintended results. It is anticipated that this Uniformity Initiative will include: (i) continued education as to industry trends and demands pertaining to seedstock genetics; (ii) publication of diagrams and visual aides that will help breeders to better understand the end goal; (iii) field days and breeder tours that provide information on how to achieve the goal of more uniform and productive cattle; and (iv) the identification of achievement levels or goals that help members gauge their progress beyond that of just market results. The BBU Board of Directors acknowledges that future changes in the industry demand could cause this Uniformity Initiative to evolve, requiring continuous communication to keep breeders aware at all times of directional shifts or changes in order to stay relevant to the beef industry. The ultimate goal of this Uniformity Initiative is to develop a more identifiable Beefmaster animal and an even more educated, unified, and directed association of members.

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Junior Beefmaster Hosts 34th National Show and Convention

 

BOERNE, TEXAS – More than 200 Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA) members gathered the week of July 15-21, 2018, at the Four States Fairgrounds and Holiday Inn Convention Center in Texarkana, Ark., for a fun-filled week at the 2018 JBBA National Show and Convention.

In addition to the cattle shows, the event also included contests, leadership training, engaging speakers, a live and silent auction fundraiser, family fun night, the annual awards banquet and dance and other exciting activities.

Bonnie Ramirez, JBBA Coordinator, said if she had to describe the week-long event in a few words they would be “An Awesome Experience.”

“Though it was a long, hot and tiring week; the fellowship, fun and comradery experienced was one like no other,” Ramirez said. “I am so proud of the Beefmaster youth. They did great participating in contests, showing their animals, meeting and making new friends, and working. It takes a village to execute an event as such and our youth leaders, adult leaders, volunteers and generous sponsors definitely helped accomplish a successful event. I am proud to be a part of this great association and program.”

Collin Osbourn, BBU Executive Vice President, expressed appreciation for all those that made the event possible.

“We are thankful for everyone who donated their time and resources to make Nationals possible and support the JBBA this year be it through volunteering, donations, or participating in the auction fundraisers,” said Osbourn.

During the convention JBBA members elected the following individuals to represent them as the 2018-2019 JBBA Board of Directors and Officers.

  • President: Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas
  • President Elect: Braylee Mackie of Lott, Texas
  • Secretary: Amanda McCoskey of Simms, Texas
  • Treasurer: Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi
  • Reporter: Caitlin Vargas of Edinburg, Texas
  • District 1 Directors: Brynna Hardin of Sweeny, Texas, and Gracey Leopold of West Columbia, Texas
  • District 2 Directors:  Kodi Stapp of Shawnee, Oklahoma and Kevin Paris of Azle, Texas
  • District 3 Directors: Reece Wrobleski of Anderson, Texas, and Isaiah Madison of New Ulm, Texas
  • District 4 Directors: Victoria Vera of Edinburg, Texas, and Kirstin (Nikki) Brady of Carrizo Springs, Texas
  • District 5 Directors: Camrin Byers of Henrietta, Texas, and Troy Glaser of Rogers, Texas
  • Director at Large: Faith Martin of New Ulm, Texas

The annual event consisted of several competitions including public speaking, photography, power point presentation, livestock judging and herdsman quiz.

The winners of the public speaking contest are as follows:

  • Junior 1st place: Braeden Lee of Azle, Texas
  • Intermediate 1st place: Weston Brooks of China, Texas
  • Senior 1st place: Saige Tassin of Bush, Louisiana

The winners of the photography contest are as follows:

  • Junior 1st place: Eli Middleton of Alto, Texas
  • Junior 2nd place: Jackson Pounds of De Leon, Texas
  • Intermediate 1st place: Emerson Dean of Colleyville, Texas
  • Intermediate 2nd place: Sarah Wells of Grapevine, Texas
  • Senior 1st place: Mayson Pounds of De Leon, Texas
  • Senior 2nd place: Jarrett Mackie of Lott, Texas

The winners of the power point presentation contest are as follows:

  • Junior 1st place: Cody Barnett of Decatur, Texas
  • Intermediate 1st place: Bennett Janssen of Victoria, Texas
  • Intermediate 2nd place: Emerson Dean of Colleyville, Texas
  • Senior 1st place: Sierra Rhodes of Raymondville, Texas
  • Senior 2nd place: Haley Guerrero of Fayetteville, Texas

The winners of the livestock judging contest are as follows:

  • Junior 1st place: Cody Barnett of Decatur, Texas
  • Intermediate 1st place: Kortlynn Brantner of Sealy, Texas
  • Senior 1st place: Emily Martin of New Ulm, Texas

The winners of the herdsman quiz contest are as follows:

  • Junior 1st place: Jack Redden of Midway, Texas
  • Intermediate 1st place: Weston Brooks of China, Texas
  • Senior 1st place:  Emily Martin of New Ulm, Texas

JBBA members exhibited their cattle in six different shows over the week, including; an ultrasound carcass contest, showmanship competition, a bred and owned heifer show, a bred and owned bull show, a Beefmaster E6/Advancer heifer show and the JBBA National Heifer Show.

The winners of the showmanship competition are as follows:

  • Junior Champion Showman: Rheagan Karisch of Ellinger, Texas
  • Junior Reserve Champion Showman: Rebekah Eaves of Hooks, Texas
  • Intermediate Champion Showman: Braylee Cowan of Dodd City, Texas
  • Intermediate Reserve Champion Showman: Audrey Field of Celina, Texas
  • Senior and Pevine Hicks Memorial Champion Showman: Rebecca Small of Trinidad, Texas
  • Senior Reserve Champion Showman: Cade Judd of Gilmer, Texas

The winners of the ultrasound carcass contest are as follows:

  • Class 1 Heifers: Cody Barnett of Decatur, Texas
  • Class 2 Heifers: Haley Guerrero of Fayetteville, Texas
  • Class 3 Heifers: Trevor Glaser of Rogers, Texas
  • Class 1 Bulls: Troy Glaser of Rogers, Texas

The winners of the Beefmaster E6/Advancer heifer show are as follows:

  • Grand Champion E6/Advancer Heifer: Lyssy’s Iggy owned by Kaylee Beason of Rockdale, Texas
  • Reserve Grand Champion E6/Advancer Heifer: Shadow owned by Jacob Kolwes of Bellville, Texas

The winners of the Bred and Owned Bull Show are as follows:

  • Grand Champion Bred and Owned Bull: BMW Cain Express owned by Bodie, Wrobleski of Anderson, Texas
  • Reserve Grand Champion Bred and Owned Bull: Emmons Shiner Britches owned by Raegan, Emmons of Fairfield, Texas

The winners of the Bred and Owned Heifer Show are as follows:

  • Grand Champion Bred and Owned Heifer: WR Melania owned by Shawn Skaggs of DeLeon, Texas
  • Reserve Grand Champion Bred and Owned Heifer: SM Sweet Dream owned by Mallorie Touvell of Lake Charles, Louisiana

The winners of the JBBA National Heifer Show are as follows:

  • Grand Champion Heifer: BR Selena owned by Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi
  • Reserve Grand Champion Heifer: WR Melania owned by Shawn Skaggs of DeLeon, Texas

Friday evening, JBBA members and their families enjoyed a relaxing evening at the annual banquet and dance. Contest and event winners from throughout the week were announced and received awards. All-Around Champions were determined from points earned throughout the week were also awarded in each age division. The All-Around Champions are awarded on the basis of accumulated points in the National Junior Heifer Show, Bred-and-Owned Show, Judging Contest, Public Speaking Contest, Herdsman Quiz, Leadership Conference (Intermediate & Seniors only), and Showmanship Contest. The top ten in each age division received a buckle while the top two individuals in the junior and intermediate division and the top three in the senior division each received a buckle and a $1,000 certificate towards the purchase of an animal or if a graduating senior, they may use it towards college tuition.

The All-Around Champions Awards were presented to the following JBBA members:

  • All-Around Junior: Cayden Carpenter of Shawnee, Oklahoma (Received a buckle and $1,000 heifer certificate)
  • All-Around Intermediate: Braylee Cowan of Dodd City, Texas (Received a buckle and $1,000 heifer certificate)
  • All-Around Senior: Emily Martin of New Ulm, Texas (Received a buckle and $1,000 heifer certificate)

In addition to contest awards, several scholarships were awarded to the following senior JBBA members:

  • Brian L. Murphy Memorial Scholarship ($1,800/semester): Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas
  • JBBA Scholarships ($500): Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas, Saige Tassin of Bush, Louisiana, Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi, and Reid Lovorn of Como, Texas
  • Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) Scholarship: Caitlin Vargas of Edinburg, Texas, Reid Lovorn of Como, Texas, Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas, Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi, Seth Byers of Muleshoe, Texas, and Rebecca Small of Trinidad, Texas
  • Beefmaster Breeders Cattlewoman Scholarship: Nicole Thomas, Reid Lovorn of Como, Texas, Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas, Cory Sinkule of Abbott, Texas and Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi
  • Kenneth Lewis and Robert Miles Memorial JBBA Scholarship: Reid Lovorn of Como, Texas, and Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi
  • East Texas/Louisiana Marketing Group Scholarship: Caitlin Vargas of Edinburg, Texas, Reid Lovorn of Como, Texas, Raleigh Scherer of Brenham, Texas, Amelia Buckley of Collins, Mississippi, and Saige Tassin of Bush, Louisiana

This year, a new award was instituted called the WorkHorse Award, was presented by the BBU staff to Reece Wrobleski of Anderson, Texas.

“The WorkHorse Award is a staff sponsored and selected award to honor an individual that demonstrates a great work ethic, who willingly goes above and beyond what their responsibilities call for,” said Dusty Pendergrass, BBU Eastern Field Representative. “Not only does it call for dedication throughout the week of junior nationals but throughout the year.”

Finally, the JBBA Top Hand Award was presented to Madison Emily Lee of Sealy, Texas. This award is similar to the BBU Breeder-of-the-Year Award, as it recognizes the JBBA member that participates in JBBA and BBU programs and is involved in building their herd and marketing their cattle.

In recognition of outstanding JBBA volunteers’ service, dedication, time, and support to the JBBA progrm, the JBBA Helping Hand Awards were presented to Allison Wells and Darrell Glaser.

“I am proud to call Allison and Darrell friends because of JBBA,” said Casey Ballard, previous JBBA Adult Committee chair and current member. “They earned their names on this award – an award that is very special to this program. Lots of deserving individuals and organizations have won the Helping Hand Award over the years. I can not think of anyone else that has worked as hard for this program as Allison, Darrell and their families.”

Ramirez said both recipients are extremely passionate about the JBBA program.

“I have only been with BBU/JBBA for seven months, but within my first couple of months with the program I could tell how passionate both Allison and Darrell were about the youth,” Ramirez said. “Their dedication was undeniable.”

The BBU Staff and JBBA Board of Directors would like to thank all those that made this year’s event possible and congratulate all the participants. They look forward to next year’s 35th Annual JBBA National Convention and Show to be held in Belton, Texas, July 21-26, 2019.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United and its Junior Program please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Visit the website to download candid event photos and winner photos. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, follow us on Instagram, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, as well as receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.

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Beefmaster Breeders United (www.beefmasters.org), located in San Antonio, Texas, is a not-for-profit breed registration organization that provides programs and services for its members. Beefmaster, Beefmaster Advancer and E6 cattle are selected on the “Six Essentials” of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.

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Performance Article Series: Part 4 Ultrasound Carcass Data

 

By Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement & Western Field Representative

The end goal of the cattle industry is to produce beef to feed a growing population.  At harvest there are many measurements that are taken to determine the value of a carcass.  Some of these traits are; rib eye area, marbling and fat thickness.  These traits are all higher in their heritability (0.4-0.6) than many of the other weight and production traits that are measured (0.1-0.4).  This means that you can make fairly rapid genetic progress for carcass traits.  However, it is hard to measure carcass traits without harvesting an animal, so we use ultrasound to estimate REA, intramuscular fat (IMF), as well as rib and rump fat.  The ultrasound will have to be done by a certified ultrasound technician and should be done between 320 and 550 days of age for the data to be included in the genetic evaluation.

Rib eye area is a measurement of the longissimus muscle and is taken between the 12th and 13th rib.  REA is an indicator of overall muscling in an animal and is used in the calculation of yield grade.  Animals that have a larger REA will adjust the yield grade of a carcass down, which is good because yield grade 4 and 5 animals receive a discount.  When an animal is harvested a good way to receive a small premium is to have animals that are yield grade 1 and 2.  Rib eye areas have been averaging around 13 square inches over the last few years and this is a very acceptable size for REA.  Using ultrasound to measure REA is a good selection tool and the data reported back to the association is important in the calculation of the REA EPD.

Another trait that relates to yield grade is the animal’s fat cover.  When using ultrasound two different measurements of fat cover are taken, one is over the ribs and the other is on the rump.  When an animal is harvested the fat over the ribs is used to determine the base yield grade.  An animal with between .4 and .6 inches of fat cover will start off as a base yield grade 3.  Thinner animals will have lower numerical yield grades than fatter animals.  Again, this is data that is important to gather and turn in, in order to calculate the Fat EPD.

The final trait that can be measured using ultrasound for carcass is the intramuscular fat or IMF.  IMF is directly related to marbling, and marbling along with the age of an animal are used to calculate a quality grade.  In the U.S. quality grade system, Prime is the highest quality, followed by Choice, then Select and finally Standard.  The higher the percent IMF the higher the quality grade is expected to be.  Quality grade dictates the price of the final product and many times is evaluated by looking at the Choice-Select Spread.  IMF is another great selection tool and should be measured in order to help make mating decisions and to calculate the IMF EPD.

All of these carcass traits are important to measure using ultrasound, to help the producer make better mating decisions.  While the Beefmaster is a maternal breed it is important to keep acceptable carcass values for the commercial producer using our bulls.  Recording all of these measurements also helps in the calculations for carcass EPDs and all of the carcass traits are weighted into the $T index.  The $T index was developed looking at weight as well as quality and yield grades.  This series will continue with an explanation of contemporary groups and how they are used.

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Color Uniformity Task Force

 

Beefmaster Members: The task force has been contacted and set for the discussion on the color uniformity guidelines and they will begin meeting as soon as possible. After the task force has had a chance to meet and discuss the guidelines they will start setting up meetings across the entire Beefmaster footprint in the US to get input from membership before any recommendations are submitted to the BBU Board of Directors.

The task force members are as follows:

  • Gregg Booth
  • Mackie Bounds
  • Lee Compton
  • Kelly Cupp
  • Derek Frenzel
  • Darrell Glaser
  • Ruben Gutierrez
  • Jason Hendricks
  • Bill Howell
  • Clark Jones
  • Aaron Lowe
  • Mike Moss
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Trey Scherer
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BBU Board of Director’s Statement Concerning Color Policy

 

In response to the concerns voiced by a portion of the membership about the adoption of the proposed color policy by the BBU board of directors, the board has met and voted unanimously to incorporate into the education and grace period a broad review and reconsideration of the BBU color policy as proposed by the Long Range Planning committee and as edited and approved by the board. In addition, the board has unanimously passed a motion directing the President to appoint a task force of BBU members equitably representing all views and aided by outside industry resources, that is charged with the task of proposing potential options, edits, or revisions to the color policy that was passed by the board. The board regrets that incorrect versions of the policy were leaked prior to the official announcement and presentation of the policy to the membership in its approved and final form. The board also wishes to make known to all members that no ill will, harm, or emotional distress was intended by its actions and that the best long-term interests of the breed as a whole has been and will continue to be always at heart. The board encourages everyone to remain positive, constructive, and united as we move through this process and time of change and challenges. If we as members and true believers in this great breed of cattle resolve to work together for the best interests of Beefmasters as a whole, there is no doubt that we will flourish as a breed in all sectors of the cattle industry as we move forward.

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