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EPD’S

FINDING PROFIT

IN EPDS AND SELECTION INDEXES By Jaclyn Krymowski for American Cattlemen

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ost cattlemen understand how to use and implement EPDs and make them work within their herd. But how many can easily explain how those traits are directly influencing their profit margins? Do EPDs help increase profits or just improve cattle? This was at the root of the discussion at a recent webinar that was part of the NCBA’s ongoing series. “Cattlemen’s Webinar Series: Show me the money! Are there EPDs for profit?” was presented by Darrh Bullock from the University of Kentucky and Jared Decker from the University of Missouri. Index and trait selection

The traits that are important to some producers may not necessarily be for profitability. Bullock opened by asking what tool attendees would choose to increase yearling weight with, most agreed that the straight yearling weight EPD was the best way to go, as opposed to $Beef or $Weaning indexes. While the indexes can be very helpful to predict market value, they shouldn’t be confused with single trait selections. “For yearling weight, most all breeds have been increasing at an increas-

ing weight so growth has been a large component of all breeds,” says Bullock. “Now for most of the breeds, EPDs didn’t really come around till here in the early 1980s. We were making progress prior to that but once the EPDs came along you see kind of a jump to how much progress was made.” Bullock used a typical ad for a stud bull that listed a variety of both trait EPDs and dollar index information. “I think there’s a lot of people that do want to see as many numbers as they can and make their decision

as informed as possible,” he said. “But for most, particularly commercial cattlemen, within that group of information there’s probably not 3 or 4 numbers that really mean that much information.” For example, cattlemen in the commercial market selling weaned calves may not be as interested in EPDs for replacement animals, but the terminal dollar indexes can be beneficial. Of dollar indexes, the numerical difference the figures project is expected dollar value difference per calf. “A lot of times they’re just called selection indexes, but they are truly what we see and, in the industry, today are economic selection indexes,” said Bullock. “Now you can make an index based on anything but what’s important is that anything we’re talking about utilizes the economic factors to put together the best bull possible.”

Know your system and goals

Beef indexes come in 3 different * Continued on page 14

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American

June 2018

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American Cattlemen June 2018  
American Cattlemen June 2018