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EPDs enhance beef herd breeding choices

EPDs enhance beef herd breeding choices

By Scout Nelson

Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are a crucial tool for beef producers when selecting the right sire for their herd. Dan Moser, a beef cattle geneticist and associate dean at K-State’s College of Agriculture, emphasized the value of EPDs on a recent episode of the Cattle Chat podcast.

Moser explained that EPDs, much like athlete performance data in sports drafts, offer a comprehensive look at potential genetic traits passed from sire to offspring.

This makes them more reliable than just analyzing individual performance measures such as weaning weight or yearling weight.

EPDs incorporate a wider range of data, including the genetic lineage from parents and siblings and, in some cases, genomics.

"Even if the EPD shows a low accuracy, it's still preferable because it includes individual trait measurements within its calculation," Moser stated. He also noted that producers should consult the possible change table for each trait to understand the associated risks, depending on the EPD’s accuracy level.

Brad White, a K-State veterinarian, added that while a bull’s genetics remain constant, their EPDs may change as more performance data from their progeny is incorporated, enhancing the accuracy of the predictions.

Bob Larson, another K-State veterinarian, highlighted the long-term impact of breeding decisions. He advised producers to carefully review all available data to make informed choices.

"Building the best cowherds involves making good decisions consistently, much like winning games in baseball doesn't always require a home run," Larson commented.

This conversation underscores the importance of using EPDs as a dynamic and evolving tool in beef cattle breeding, helping producers make decisions that can significantly affect the genetic quality and productivity of their herds.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-sstajic

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Categories: Kansas, Business, Livestock, Beef Cattle

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