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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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. [...]

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Shot At and Missed

 

by Dave Loftin

Dad’s call for help came right at calving time. The old brindle was in obvious distress. Of course we couldn’t get close enough to help much so we called for the vet and started moving her toward the barn and working pens. This turned into quite a merry go round with the vet impatiently waiting while we would herd her up to the gate only to have her turn back and run for a few acres. The vet finally said to call him if we ever caught her and he would come back. All this time, she was nervously splattering fresh green stuff everywhere.

We finally set up a wing of panels curving around the barn and my brother brought his horse and ran her into the wing where she rounded a corner and was caught before she had a [...]

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