Basic beef genetics

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Information about Basic beef genetics

Published on December 19, 2013

Author: PSU-Beef



Powerpoint presentation on the basics of beef genetics

Basic Beef Genetics Tom Gallagher (CCE Albany) Meghan Filbert (CCE Delaware) Phil Trowbridge (Trowbridge Angus)

Selecting Your Next Bull Phil Trowbridge, Trowbridge Angus Farms

Importance of bull decisions • A bull in natural service normally sires 20 to 40 calves each year. • Herd improvement, for the most part, comes from the sires chosen to produce each calf crop. • Ask yourself: What do I want the bull to do other than breed the cows?

What first? • Analyze the market – Determine what type of animal is profitable to produce. What do you want the animal to do other than breed cows? • Decide what genetics are needed to improve your cow herd.

Bull selection criteria • Physical evaluation – is the animal structurally sound? In healthy condition? Show signs of potential problems? • Records – is there performance information associated with the bull? What can you expect from future progeny? • Strategy – does the animal meet your specific herd needs and goals?

Structural soundness • Starts from the ground up • Bull needs to be sound to avoid injury and last many years • Structure is heritable – offspring will have similar traits

Structural soundness • Scrotal size affects: – The serving capacity of the bull and hence the number of times the cow is served. – The number of normal sperm in each service, which depends on the size and condition of the bull's testicles.

Phenotype + genotype Understanding basic structure and physical attributes are important, but studying genetic and performance data is becoming increasingly important in the beef industry.

Analyzing genetics • Types of traits – simply inherited: differences among animals are due to one or two genes (i.e. hide color). – performance traits: differences are due to a number of genes (i.e. birth weight, marbling).

• Performance is a combination of genetics and environment.

Using technology • Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) – Derived from performance records, pedigree information and, where available, genomic data. – 18 available EPDs available for sire selection tools.

Expected Progeny Difference • An EPD is the expected difference in future progeny performance of one individual compared to another. • Used to compare all cattle within a breed. • EPD does not equal actual performance. • Considering EPDs can help you make the best possible bull decisions for your operation.

Example: Birth Weight BW EPD Bull A -1.0 Bull B 4.0 • On average, Bull A’s calves are expected to weigh 5 pounds less than Bull B’s.

Example: Weaning Weight • Assumptions – 67 Commercial Cows & 2 Herd Bulls – 90% Calf Crop average (per cow exposed) – Sell all calves at weaning – Feeder Calf Prices @ $1.40/pound – Use Bulls for 5 years – Bull 1 has weaning weight EPD of +40 lb – Bull 2 has weaning weight EPD of +20 lb Bull 1 Bull 2

BW EPD, lb +40 +16 YW EPD, lb +80 BW EPD, lb Bull 2 WW EPD, lb Milk EPD, lb Bull 1 +3 +3 WW EPD, lb +20 Milk EPD, lb +16 YW EPD, lb +80

30 calves at 550# 30 calves at 570# Bull 2 Bull 1 5 years $1.40/lb $115,500 $119,700 $4,200.00 Projected Gross Value Difference

Before buying a bull • • • • Think about specific herd needs Study performance data and EPDs Examine physical correctness Be confident in the genetics you’re purchasing

Questions? • Resources for more information: – –



Crossbreeding • Why crossbreed? – Heretosis is free money – We can design cattle to fit any environment – To use average breed effects – To target specific beef markets

Designing a crossbreeding system • Two breed rotation • Three breed rotation

Criteria for Selection • Market – Grass fed genetics – Devon’s – Replacement heifers – Feed resources – Management resources – Farm environment • Hills vs. flat land. Simmentals don’t like hills

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