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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:21 am

"We have DNA, EPDs and other technologies that have brought insight into individual animals, and we want to supply our customers with everything that is available if they want to use it, but the basic process of selection from our point of view is still the same. The ability of a cow to thrive, do well, cycle as a yearling, bring a calf to the weaning pen every year, get rebred in any environment - that basic function doesn't change because we have more numbers and because we have more tools.

We continue to think that much of dad's thinking about the basics hasn't changed, even though it comes from a totally different era. We like to kid ourselves into thinking that because we have more weights and measurements, EPDs, etc. that sonehow that makes our cattle better. In our view, it doesn't."

-Dale Lasater from The Beefmaster Cowman
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:05 pm

So if Dale believes this then he has also quit measuring, weighing and testing.  Has he?
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:49 am

Whole Herd Reporting
205-day weights
yearling weights
scrotal measurements
yearling REA and IMF

(on sale bulls)
EPDs
ADG
parents and grand parents
ratio

Doing sale bulls from memory so I might have missed something.

DNA test 100% of progeny from 1st calf heifers
DNA test 100% bull battery
DNA testing is after the fact and doesn't figure into selection process. 

75 years closed herd, multi-sire range breedinng.
Tom Lasater was using scales before weighing was cool.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:12 am

http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:09 am

more rarity...a university professor that can think outside the registered mainstream...

One trend in some cow herds Texas A&M professor Jim Sanders isn't too fond of these days is the overemphasis on growth.
Sanders doesn't mind getting on a soapbox when he talks about a drop in maternal longevity in cow herds. He blames overemphasis on growth and milk EPDs for a trend toward larger, heavy-milking cows and high drop-out rates for commercial cows in tough environments.
"We've gone overboard on growth EPDs for a long time. We need to wake up and realize we've got too many big cows that give too much milk. We need cows that are more efficient and can make it on what feed and forage a commercial producer can provide," he said.
If you're saving replacement heifers, Sanders recommends buying bulls out of older cows with long track records of producing calves, especially in a similar environment to yours. "It doesn't make so much difference to me if a cow has 'Dam of Distinction' on her record as that she has stayed productive and raised a good calf every year for as many years as possible."
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:46 pm

That is way to simple mike.cherrycherry
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:01 am

Brubaker Sales & Marketing is introducing a new service to help producers increase the value of their cattle and their program

 

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For many of us keeping up with the paperwork that is required to sustain a Purebred Seedstock Program can become difficult just do to lack of time. Timing is everything when it comes to records and production and performance information does add value to your herd. Today's cattle buyers require that information to make buying decisions and if its not available they will look elsewhere.

Click the link below for more information. If you have any questions or wish to enroll in this service you can

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email us at [email=ken@brubaker]ken@brubaker[/email]

couldn`t find the id tag thread Larkota started; so I just posted it here...I guess I better look elsewhere to sell my cattle Rolling Eyes
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larkota



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:09 pm

dont know about marketing or feeding cattle.....but hauling them is profitable  Very Happy thanks Mr. Keeney.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:16 pm

That little extra  was for  the PR work you do along the way Briann...no one has done more for our cause, and received less other than personal satisfaction and the pleasure derived from a new course, than you my friend...time to right the ship a little by at least giving credit where credit is due...cheers
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MVCatt



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:41 am

MKeeney wrote:
Briann...no one has done more for our cause, and received less other than personal satisfaction and the pleasure derived from a new course, than you my friend...cheers

I'll second that!
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:45 pm

MVCatt wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
Briann...no one has done more for our cause, and received less other than personal satisfaction and the pleasure derived from a new course, than you my friend...cheers

I'll second that!

to make these quote and replies appear in the format as before {the one I prefer}, click on the last box "switch editor mode"...still trying to see just what the changes are...

http://help.forumotion.com/t124616-new-editor-for-forumotion-forums#830008
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:29 am

MKeeney wrote:
http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd

Closed herd....That means that no bulls, cows, frozen semen or embryos-no outside genetic material- have been introduced into the herd since that time.
Thought I'd post this for Big Jim...he uses a different definition, but this is the one I use...the correct one.

After 75 years of a closed herd, are there really outliers?
My question is after having 6 or more calves and satisfied all the female criteria, why would you penalize a cow for having higher than average calves?
Doesn't range breeding with a bull battery guard against "outlier" influence?
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:12 pm

RobertMac wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd

Closed herd....That means that no bulls, cows, frozen semen or embryos-no outside genetic material- have been introduced into the herd since that time.
Thought I'd post this for Big Jim...he uses a different definition, but this is the one I use...the correct one.

After 75 years of a closed herd, are there really outliers?
My question is after having 6 or more calves and satisfied all the female criteria, why would you penalize a cow for having higher than average calves?
Doesn't range breeding with a bull battery guard against "outlier" influence?
Quote :
"Bulls to be retained as herd sires are selected based upon weaning weight, post-weaning gain and yearling weight. Weaning weight primarily measures the milking ability of a bull's dam, but also gives an indication of a bull's own growth potential. Post weaning gain to a year of age (in our program) measures how efficiently a bull is able to convert native forage to pounds of beef. Yearling weight is a combination of weaning weight and post weaning gain and therefore is the most important weight used in selection."

"Only bull calves with above average weaning weights are considered as potential herd sires. These bulls will most likely sire daughters that will perpetuate the heavy milking characteristics demonstrated by their individual dams."

I wonder how many years you can select outliers and still have the same herd or breed?  If you select all of the bulls in the battery on high performance then they are a battery of outliers.
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:16 pm

Is 75 years enough to prove anything?
Doesn't the female criteria balance the overall program?
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:04 pm

If there are no phenotypic outliers, why measure for them ? my point is my standard one; that the genetic difference is less than the phenotypic difference...
so 85 % of the heifers are used for replacements... is this maybe because "a good average" cow is not good enough, as the big jammer would suggest? I see the Lasater program as just the same as jammers, it`s just a more limited population that results in far greater predictability than anything the jammer types have ever conceived, let alone tried to accomplish...like OT, they cross everything registered in the breed, but then criticize crossbreeding...Rolling EyesRolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:45 pm

MKeeney wrote:
If there are no phenotypic outliers, why measure for them ? my point is my standard one; that the genetic difference is less than the phenotypic difference...
so 85 % of the heifers are used for replacements... is this maybe because "a good average" cow is not good enough, as the big jammer would suggest? I see the Lasater program as just the same as jammers, it`s just a more limited population that results in far greater predictability than anything the jammer types have  ever conceived, let alone tried to accomplish...like OT, they cross everything registered in the breed, but then criticize crossbreeding...Rolling EyesRolling Eyes

When have I ever criticized crossbreeding? ...
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:07 am

EddieM wrote:
RobertMac wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd

Closed herd....That means that no bulls, cows, frozen semen or embryos-no outside genetic material- have been introduced into the herd since that time.
Thought I'd post this for Big Jim...he uses a different definition, but this is the one I use...the correct one.

After 75 years of a closed herd, are there really outliers?
My question is after having 6 or more calves and satisfied all the female criteria, why would you penalize a cow for having higher than average calves?
Doesn't range breeding with a bull battery guard against "outlier" influence?
Quote :
"Bulls to be retained as herd sires are selected based upon weaning weight, post-weaning gain and yearling weight. Weaning weight primarily measures the milking ability of a bull's dam, but also gives an indication of a bull's own growth potential. Post weaning gain to a year of age (in our program) measures how efficiently a bull is able to convert native forage to pounds of beef. Yearling weight is a combination of weaning weight and post weaning gain and therefore is the most important weight used in selection."

"Only bull calves with above average weaning weights are considered as potential herd sires. These bulls will most likely sire daughters that will perpetuate the heavy milking characteristics demonstrated by their individual dams."

I wonder how many years you can select outliers and still have the same herd or breed?  If you select all of the bulls in the battery on high performance then they are a battery of outliers.

Since the "Beefmaster breed" was started from 3 breeds , would not considerable variation have been, and still, be present? or it has been overcome by selection {culling} to a point of uniformity? could not selecting for "improved performance" create more uniformity than selecting for an "optimum average" ?
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:19 pm

EddieM wrote:
RobertMac wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd

Closed herd....That means that no bulls, cows, frozen semen or embryos-no outside genetic material- have been introduced into the herd since that time.
Thought I'd post this for Big Jim...he uses a different definition, but this is the one I use...the correct one.

After 75 years of a closed herd, are there really outliers?
My question is after having 6 or more calves and satisfied all the female criteria, why would you penalize a cow for having higher than average calves?
Doesn't range breeding with a bull battery guard against "outlier" influence?
Quote :
"Bulls to be retained as herd sires are selected based upon weaning weight, post-weaning gain and yearling weight. Weaning weight primarily measures the milking ability of a bull's dam, but also gives an indication of a bull's own growth potential. Post weaning gain to a year of age (in our program) measures how efficiently a bull is able to convert native forage to pounds of beef. Yearling weight is a combination of weaning weight and post weaning gain and therefore is the most important weight used in selection."

"Only bull calves with above average weaning weights are considered as potential herd sires. These bulls will most likely sire daughters that will perpetuate the heavy milking characteristics demonstrated by their individual dams."

I wonder how many years you can select outliers and still have the same herd or breed?  If you select all of the bulls in the battery on high performance then they are a battery of outliers.
After 75 years, what ever could have happened, did.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:09 pm

RobertMac wrote:
EddieM wrote:
RobertMac wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
http://lasaterranch.com/index.htm

some good reading here...closed herd; use the outliers; maintain the average of the herd

Closed herd....That means that no bulls, cows, frozen semen or embryos-no outside genetic material- have been introduced into the herd since that time.
Thought I'd post this for Big Jim...he uses a different definition, but this is the one I use...the correct one.

After 75 years of a closed herd, are there really outliers?
My question is after having 6 or more calves and satisfied all the female criteria, why would you penalize a cow for having higher than average calves?
Doesn't range breeding with a bull battery guard against "outlier" influence?
Quote :
"Bulls to be retained as herd sires are selected based upon weaning weight, post-weaning gain and yearling weight. Weaning weight primarily measures the milking ability of a bull's dam, but also gives an indication of a bull's own growth potential. Post weaning gain to a year of age (in our program) measures how efficiently a bull is able to convert native forage to pounds of beef. Yearling weight is a combination of weaning weight and post weaning gain and therefore is the most important weight used in selection."

"Only bull calves with above average weaning weights are considered as potential herd sires. These bulls will most likely sire daughters that will perpetuate the heavy milking characteristics demonstrated by their individual dams."

I wonder how many years you can select outliers and still have the same herd or breed?  If you select all of the bulls in the battery on high performance then they are a battery of outliers.
After 75 years, what ever could have happened, did.

hmmm...I have doubts about that...
but on a positive note, after 75 years, can they or you guarantee me good temperament and good udders in daughters of Lasater bulls?
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:54 pm

That’s Nice – But I Raise Cows
David A. Daley, Ph.D.1
1California State University, Chico
Why do we continue to talk about crossbreeding?
I am somewhat disappointed that we are continually revisiting the topic of crossbreeding
in commercial beef production—and actual debating the merits of the practice. Crossbreeding is
not a new concept and frankly, BIF needs to move past this discussion towards practices which
can take us to the next level of genetic improvement. Unfortunately, it seems that this topic
continues to fester, simply because we refuse to look at the issue objectively.
The inherent problem with the discussion is we have proponents and opponents rather
than a simple discussion of advantages and disadvantages—where it fits and where it doesn’t.
We can have outstanding straightbred or crossbred cattle. I find it simplistic and a waste of time
to argue one is better than the other. We need to put our resources and energy into a more
productive direction. As scientists, breed associations and beef producers, we should take a step
back and approach the issue rationally. It seems to me we have three failures in this discussion:
1) a failure to actually understand what heterosis means, 2) a focus on the wrong traits to
evaluate the impact of crossbreeding (we are chasing a red herring), and 3) a lack of
understanding of the impact of environment on crossbreeding results.
What are the genetic results of crossbreeding? Hybrid vigor or heterosis—we all know
the answer. However, based on what I see in the popular press, we may know the answer but we
fail to understand the definition. Heterosis is the improvement in the crossbred progeny
compared to the AVERAGE OF THE PARENTAL BREEDS. Proponents and opponents of
crossbreeding alike—please take note—NO ONE SAID THE CROSSBRED PROGENY WERE
SUPERIOR TO EITHER STRAIGHTBRED PARENT—JUST TO THE AVERAGE OF THE
PARENTAL BREEDS. So, if we cross Holstein and Hereford, the progeny don’t out milk
Holstein! Heterosis is the improvement above the mean of the two parental breeds.
This lack of understanding of hybrid vigor was driven home to me clearly on a visit to
Queensland in Bos Indicus country. One particular producer who raised straightbred Brahmans
seemed delighted to show me crossbred animals that he had tried in his environment that looked
absolutely miserable. His not so subtle point—crossbreeding doesn’t work. “See, my Brahmans
are better than the crossbreds!” That view represents a lack of understanding of heterosis. The
fact that the Bos Indicus cattle are better adapted to that climate doesn’t mean that crossbreeding
failed. Heterosis, by definition (and in practice) would be the improvement in adaptability of the
F1 (in this case Brahman X Angus) over the mean of the two breeds—not over Brahmans.
The biology of crossbreeding is clear and can’t be changed regardless of the dialogue that
occurs. The elegant research at the USMARC on germplasm evaluation will never be
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duplicated. The sheer numbers, classic design and life cycle analysis should provide irrefutable
evidence of the impact of planned crossbreeding. I am always amazed at how people want to
disagree with the data from USMARC. That usually occurs if we don’t like the results. Careful
study of the data will demonstrate what we know to be true with crossbreeding—small, net
improvement in many traits, but a large increase in lifetime productivity, particularly when you
evaluate longevity (Table 1.)
Table 1. Selected individual (direct) and maternal effect of heterosis (Cundiff
et al., 1970; Gregory et al., 1965, 1978)
Effect of Heterosis (%)
Trait Direct Maternal
Calving rate 4.4 3.7
Survival to weaning 1.9 1.5
Weaning weight 3.9 3.9
Post-weaning ADG 2.6 .
Number of calves . 17.0
Longevity . 38.0
One thing that has changed since the completion of the life cycle analysis of germplasm
evaluation and utilization at MARC is that our selection tools have improved. In particular, the
advances in EPD technology (accuracy, numbers, techniques) have changed dramatically—and
that doesn’t even include the recent additions of genomics to the mix. So, clearly, we can change
things like growth rate, feed efficiency and carcass merit more accurately and faster within a
breed than ever before. Does that mean crossbreeding is less valuable? No. You shouldn’t be
using crossbreeding to change growth rate, feed efficiency and carcass merit anyway. Those are
highly heritable, easily measured traits that we have excellent tools available. That’s not why
you crossbreed!
On the other hand, what about the lowly heritable (e.g. reproduction and general fitness)
traits where you receive the greatest benefit from crossbreeding? What tools do we have for
pregnancy rate, embryo survival, calf livability and lifetime productivity? NONE. In terms of
the economic bottomline from crossbreeding, we shouldn’t focus on short term individual traits
like gain and growth, but long term profitability. That is where crossbreeding will make the
greatest difference.
One of the reasons we seem to have difficulty focusing on the issue is because of our
varying experiences in vastly different environments. The data is clear. Harsher environments
see a greater benefit to crossbreeding. That is why large scale western ranches that may have
harsh winters or summers and limited feed at certain times of the year, see the benefits of
crossbreeding more directly. If you are from a softer, more intensively managed environment,
the benefits may be less obvious.
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This paper primarily focused on a basic discussion of understanding heterosis. I have not
even explored the value of how two or three breeds may complement one another in a
crossbreeding system. Since BIF has been kind enough to invite me to talk about this topic in
2006, 2009 and again in 2013, I thought it might be easier (and more efficient) to include my
paper from ’09. Things haven’t changed that much.
So, that’s nice, but I own cows. I have the unique opportunity to practice what I preach.
I run both crossbred and purebred programs in similar, somewhat challenging environments. I
could care less about weaning weight, quality grade or feedlot performance as a single
measurement taken out of context. By necessity, I am interested in the bottomline, long term
profitability. That includes looking at the entire system—labor, feed costs, replacement costs—
every input and output that affects my return. Crossbreeding reduces inputs while increasing
outputs. That adds value to my particular system.
Crossbreeding – Back to the Future (Adopted from Daley, 2009a)
Three years ago I was invited to address BIF regarding heterosis and how we have either
ignored or forgotten the value of systematic crossbreeding to improve profitability in beef cattle
production systems. In the interim period since that presentation, I am even more convinced that
this incredible genetic resource has been under-utilized and devalued. At a time when all of our
input costs have increased dramatically, and the value of cow efficiency is paramount, we
continue to find arguments against using crossbreeding primarily centered on the concepts of
consistency and marketability. Clearly, there are specific instances in the commercial cattle
sector where heterosis has been used effectively used. I would argue, however, that the potential
is far from realized. In fact, in the past few years, we seem to have drifted away from
crossbreeding to more traditional straightbred programs that intend to focus on phenotypic
consistency and end product, but not necessarily on profitability. Is there a rationale explanation
for our unwillingness to take advantage of a proven technique to enhance economic return? In
my previous paper I outlined the “top ten” reasons that we have failed to capitalize on this
important genetic attribute:
1) A cultural bias that clearly reflects “purebreds” are better! If for no other reason
than they have a registration paper. Society, at many levels, rewards purity. Is your dog
registered? Does your quarter horse gelding have papers? How far can you trace your ancestry?
Please don’t misunderstand---there is certainly value associated with that record, particularly our
ability to track performance and predict genetic potential of purebreds. But being purebred
should not be a presumption of superiority.
2) Our predilection for single trait selection focusing on “bigger is better”. The beef
cattle industry seems to choose a trait of importance and then put an inordinate amount of
pressure on that trait, ignoring genetic antagonisms. If a 90 pound yearling EPD is good, 100
must be better! It is intuitive! We have already done frame, growth (weight of all kinds), milk,
70
and carcass traits (both ribeye and marbling). I sometimes have to ask myself, “so what is the
trait of the year this time?”. It is akin to the “flavor of the month” at the local ice cream shop.
And because often have chosen relatively highly heritable traits, we have not needed to
crossbreed to achieve those goals. The subtle, and cumulative improvement that heterosis
provides does not lend itself to maximums.
3) We have decided that measuring outputs is more meaningful than measuring
inputs, as well as easier to do. It is certainly easier to measure calf performance on an individual
basis, rather than all costs associated with that production. “I can weigh them at weaning quicker
than I can determine differences in treatment costs over time.”
4) Uniform phenotypes for qualitative traits (color) have a distinct and real
marketing advantage that is difficult to ignore. That does not mean you cannot have
uniformity of color within a crossbreeding program, but the widespread and indiscriminate
planning (or lack thereof) of many crossbreeding programs certainly gave us some interesting
marketing challenges. Generally, it is easier to produce a uniform color in straightbred programs.
5) Heterosis is very difficult to visualize and even more difficult to measure. Because
heterosis is expressed as a small net positive in many traits we do not know it when we see it.
Slight changes in morbidity, age at puberty, conception rate and significant changes in longevity
are not easily observed. However, we all know when calves gain faster in the feedlot.
6) The presentation of complicated crossbreeding systems as a “normal practice” to
diverse cattle operations, especially the countless small beef herds in the United States.
Many of the systems that we teach as part of standard animal breeding or beef production
courses have very limited application in the real world. Most beef herds are too small to
implement the “standard systems”.
7) Our penchant for telling people how to modify their environment in order to “get
heavier calves, higher percent calf crop and more total pounds”, rather than how to increase
net return. How many new supplementation programs can you develop in order to get your
heifers bred or wean bigger calves? In fact, we can recommend programs for non-cycling
females…..you just have to pay for it and then pass those genetics to the next generation!
Heterosis provides some improvement in traits at relatively little cost. However, we have
obscured the opportunity for producers to focus on those traits, because they are so busy masking
differences with artificial environments.
Cool Historically, there has been active resistance to crossbreeding from some
traditional marketing outlets, some purebred producers and (in some cases) breed
associations. I would like to commend many of the associations who, quite recently, have taken
the risk of suggesting where their animals fit most effectively in crossbreeding programs.
71
9) Inappropriate use of breed diversity. Nothing undermines crossbreeding more
quickly than the unplanned “Heinz 57” or “Breed of the Month Club” approach. For those who
were willing to experiment in crossbreeding, there was often very poor planning of the
combination of breeds and the selection within those breeds.
10) Our industry and University systems have focused on individual trait
measurement for over fifty years. We have done a very poor job of incorporating real world
economics into our models. We have EPD’s for a plethora of traits ….and we are adding more!
Economic indices are starting to catch up, but we are still behind. Has anyone thought about
measuring return per acre or return on investment? We have had a disconnect between
agricultural economists and animal science that has not been well bridged. We tend to think
lineally rather than laterally, which has reduced the application of innovative crossbreeding.
As I review this list, I am convinced that the primary drawback (among all of the others),
is #3…the focus on measuring outputs rather than inputs. With a few notable exceptions, all of
the individual animal traits we measure reflect “bigger, faster, more”. And certainly, the glamour
traits of yearling weight, ribeye area, marbling---have accelerated at a rapid pace. You can make
very rapid genetic progress in these highly heritable traits by direct selection within a breed.
Therefore, many people fail to see the value of crossbreeding. The value in crossbreeding is
often underestimated because it has a small positive effect on many different traits that are lowly
heritable and difficult to measure. Frequently, maternal heterosis (the value of the crossbred
cow) is about decreasing inputs as much as it is about increasing output. For example, longevity,
livability and disease resistance are traits that impact the input side of the equation as much as
the output. Our industry has been on a mission to improve product quality and quantity, focusing
on carcass traits. We finally were paying attention to our consumers---a good thing!
Unfortunately, that effort has been on a per animal basis rather than per unit of input. Do we ever
ask ourselves how our long term selection programs affect the profitability of commercial
producers?
When EPD’s became a marketing tool rather than a genetic improvement tool, a great
deal was lost from beef cattle breeding. There was a decision to chase numbers in order to have
the “latest and best”, and function was often ignored. Purebred breeders were constantly looking
for the newest genetics. We utilized lightly proven sires throughout the breeds, before we tested
them carefully. And now look……how many genetic defects are we tracking in each major beef
breed? A quick check of most of the major breeds websites are somewhere between five and ten!
And we discouraged crossbreeding, while we simultaneously narrowed the genetic base of many
of the major breeds. Does that make sense? Our current “trait of the month/selection effort”
moves us in the direction of genomics. I applaud the scientists who do the work and I see the
eventual long term value. But as a commercial cattleman, if I am not capitalizing on
crossbreeding---a simple, inexpensive tool to make genetic progress---should I really be
worrying about gene markers? Do I really want to select for a marker that may only explain a
very small part of the variation of a complex trait ---a trait significantly influenced by
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genotypic/environmental interactions. If I had a goal for gene markers it would not be for
markers that identify highly heritable traits. I can make progress with those traits based on good
old fashioned selection programs. The gene markers that I would like to see are for things like
disease resistance, fertility, longevity---those traits that make the biggest difference in
profitability. Let’s not get sidetracked on what determines maximum sustained profit for all
segments of the industry. It is not the amount of pounds of product per head. It is amount of
product per unit of input cost. Every few years we seem to find another EPD or measurement to
chase. When are we going to focus on maximum sustained profit per unit of input?
Three years ago we began a study/field trial (Daley and Earley, 2009b) evaluating the
impact of crossbreeding in a vertically coordinated beef system, where premiums are paid for
carcass merit. Approximately 600 predominantly Angus based cows were exposed to either
Angus or Hereford bulls under extensive range conditions. DNA was used to determine
parentage at weaning, and only those calves that could be definitively matched to a single sire
were used in the data analysis. Collaborators included Harris Ranch Beef Company (Coalinga,
CA); Lacey Livestock of Independence, CA and the American Hereford Association.
Presently we are close to collecting the third year of feedlot/carcass data and the final
report should be completed by summer, 2009. However, preliminary results are not surprising.
As we measured direct heterosis (heterosis of the calf), there was a small positive advantage in
most traits. In particular, crossbred (F1) calves were slightly heavier at weaning, had a slight
advantage in feedlot gain and feed efficiency and a lower cost of gain. The crossbred calves had
lower quality grades, partially offsetting the economic advantage in the other segments.
However, in the first two years of the study, there was a consistent economic advantage to
crossbreeding, even factoring the reward for differences in quality grade to the Angus sired
calves. The data is not surprising and mirrors decades of research.
Although direct heterosis (heterosis of the calf) is important, we must remember that the
true value is maternal hybrid vigor—the incredible value of the crossbred cow. If the data in year
three is consistent, it appears there will be an economic advantage in vertically coordinated beef
production systems from direct heterosis of the F1. However, the most important economic
return will be when the crossbred cow enters the production system. In particular, the potential
increase in lifetime productivity and longevity are key to maximum sustained profit per unit of
input.
In academia, it seems that we tend to want to make the simple complex. The commercial
beef business is faced with a very difficult challenge to maintain long term profitability and
viability. There are countless battles (unrelated to cattle breeding) in order to survive and be
profitable in the long term. We need to keep cattle breeding simple. We have wonderful within
breed selection tools (EPD’s). We have the ability to capitalize on breed differences and capture
both heterosis and breed complementarity through crossbreeding. Designing simple, long term
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breeding programs to capture direct and maternal heterosis, while capitalizing on maternal and
terminal lines, is a significant step in attempting to maximize sustained profit.
74
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:40 pm

"Heterosis is the improvement in the crossbred progeny
compared to the AVERAGE OF THE PARENTAL BREEDS. Proponents and opponents of
crossbreeding alike—please take note—NO ONE SAID THE CROSSBRED PROGENY WERE
SUPERIOR TO EITHER STRAIGHTBRED PARENT—JUST TO THE AVERAGE OF THE
PARENTAL BREEDS. So, if we cross Holstein and Hereford, the progeny don’t out milk
Holstein! Heterosis is the improvement above the mean of the two parental breeds."

very direct, very accurate, very succinct.
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:34 pm

Outstanding post i have read it twice and will read it again.
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:24 am

Mike, can you post a link to this article?
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:17 am

outsidethebox wrote:
Mike, can you post a link to this article?

Warren,
you`ll have to scroll several pages...might be something else of interest as well...

http://www.beefimprovement.org/PDFs/Proceedings/2013_BIF_Proceedings.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: Numbers are about individuals   Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:43 pm

Apologies in advance for not providing an "active/clickable" link. Cattle and computer savvy but decidedly discussion boards ignorant.

For those who might be interested...additional articles by Dave can be found here:

http://www.csuchico.edu/ag/faculty-staff/college-faculty/daley-david.shtml

I've known Dave and his remarkable wife Cindy (highly respected in her own right in the beef industry and like Dave, has a doctorate) for many moons (going back to the early 80's)

Not surprisingly...What sets them apart from the asinine fluff of academia is their multigenerational experience with running commercial cattle in a less than hospitable environment (i.e. California public lands) Nuff said.

I'm even dumber than I thought...preview shows the above link as clickable. Go for it.
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