Pick Your Cattle marketing Tools Carefully
EPDs are used as predictions about an animal’s genetic merit for a specific trait and how their progeny should perform for those traits. These are said to be calculated using pedigree information that includes relationships amongst all animals in a population (contemporary groups) and trait performance data on those animals. I believe EPDs should be used rather sparingly in Cattle Marketing.
In reality based on my many years of experience and observations very few seedstock operators actually register and or include all of their animals in the numbers they report as representative of their production. It saves money not to register all the animals but also skews the results. In other words the lower end gets culled and not included. The result is that the starting point is basically only the animals that are above average in that population. In my opinion this has a way of making the averages look better when none of the lower end get included in the statistics. I believe this information should be included if you use EPDs as a Cattle Marketing tool.
For a simple example I have 4 bull calves from the same sire and when weaned two weigh 420 pounds each and two weigh 720 pounds each. If I report all four the average weaning weight is 456 pounds but if I only report the two larger ones then the average weaning weight is 720 pounds. Wonder why some breeds have gone to what is called whole herd reporting and more or less compute the averages based on the number of breeding age females in a herd?
Genetic Improvement is Needed for Cattle Marketing
Beef Cattle Genetic Improvement in any trait is a function of four factors that include the generation interval of your breeding program, the selection intensity, accuracy of selection, and the genetic variability in the breeding population.
Generation interval is the average age of breeding animals in the herd when progeny are produced. The more superior young stock you can put into your breeding program that lowers the average age of your herd, the faster you make a noticeable genetic improvement.
Selection intensity is your program of selecting new replacement animals to place into your breeding program. The more selective or better job you do, the more rapid the genetic progress you will make.
Accuracy of selection is how well you choose the superior animals for breeding and is a function of the amount of performance data on animals and their relatives. The more accurate you are, the faster the rate of genetic progress. At some point in the past you have probably selected animals to use in your breeding program that failed to produce progeny that performed up to what you had hoped for. Your accuracy of selection was poor in those cases. Accuracy reflects your ability to select the “best” animals.
Genetic Variability in a herd also affects the rate at which genetic advancements can be made but there is little you can do to influence genetic variability short of line breeding over time to stack the desirable genes.
I encourage you to study all the tools available, pick the ones that are suitable to your specific needs and use them to your full advantage and in your Cattle Marketing program.