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 Principles of Livestock Breeding

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df



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PostSubject: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:00 pm

The breeders of the time of Bakewell suspected him of possessing and concealing special principles of breeding. It is often believed today that successful breeders have some mysterious method of which others are ignorant. Instead, the principles of the successful breeder have been exceedingly simple. He isolates and fixes a good type by careful selection and close breeding. If ambitious to take a greater step in advance, the crosses types with characteristics which seem to offer possibilities for a desirable combination and fixes the new ideal by continued selection and close breeding. He brings inferior stock up to a higher level by consistent use of prepotent sires of the same improved type. The difficulty lies not so much in knowing the principles as in applying them. Without skill in feeding and management, the possibilities of the animals can not be brought out in such way as to give a satisfactory basis for selection. Selection of breeding stock, moreover, requires the best judgment in estimating the merits of the animal's own performance, its conformation, ancestry, and previous success as a breeder, and also in giving each of these its due weight. Good judgement, industry, and persistence in following a given aim, as well as knowledge of sound principles, have been the qualities which have made successful breeders.

-Sewell Wright

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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 pm

df wrote:
Without skill in feeding and management, the possibilities of the animals can not be brought out in such way as to give a satisfactory basis for selection.

Selection of what, the best terminal animal? Does this sentence embody the whole line of thinking behind bull tests?
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:54 pm

Tom D wrote:
df wrote:
Without skill in feeding and management, the possibilities of the animals can not be brought out in such way as to give a satisfactory basis for selection.

Selection of what, the best terminal animal? Does this sentence embody the whole line of thinking behind bull tests?

absolutely not...skill is not covering flaws with feed; or failing to find flaws from lack of feed...for instance, the ultrasound scores of yearling bulls feed to weigh 700 lbs at a year are meaningless; operator error would have greater difference than the bulls; just something to create aggrandized illusions with...
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:03 pm

So the "skill" is knowing the appropriate level of management that is necessary?

Well here's what I was working on before I hit send and found out that you had already sunk my battleship.

I think that many people confuse master cattlemen with master cattle breeders. A master cattleman is skilled in animal husbandry, feeding, and management. A master cattleman can make ordinary stock look extraordinary. A master breeder is skilled at breeding, period. He can make extraordinary stock look (or sound) ordinary. In my opinion, there are major differences in the skillsets and mindsets required for the two professions. A favorite saying of mine is "Talent hits targets no one else can hit; Genius hits targets no one else can see". I don't know who said that, I think I clipped it out of a newspaper. Anyway, to me that kind of sums up the differences between cattlemen and breeders. Now, obviously there are some guys that have it all together, and are good at management, breeding, roping, welding, political debate, you name it. All their cows settle on the first heat and they change their oil every 3,000 miles. But I prefer my geniuses a little quirky, letting some stuff slide, so they can focus on hitting targets no one else can see.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:31 pm

Tom D wrote:
So the "skill" is knowing the appropriate level of management that is necessary?

Well here's what I was working on before I hit send and found out that you had already sunk my battleship.

I think that many people confuse master cattlemen with master cattle breeders. A master cattleman is skilled in animal husbandry, feeding, and management. A master cattleman can make ordinary stock look extraordinary. A master breeder is skilled at breeding, period. He can make extraordinary stock look (or sound) ordinary. In my opinion, there are major differences in the skillsets and mindsets required for the two professions. A favorite saying of mine is "Talent hits targets no one else can hit; Genius hits targets no one else can see". I don't know who said that, I think I clipped it out of a newspaper. Anyway, to me that kind of sums up the differences between cattlemen and breeders. Now, obviously there are some guys that have it all together, and are good at management, breeding, roping, welding, political debate, you name it. All their cows settle on the first heat and they change their oil every 3,000 miles. But I prefer my geniuses a little quirky, letting some stuff slide, so they can focus on hitting targets no one else can see.

good analysis; many years ago, I used to fool myself regularly with feed and clippers...it was my job...at the university...I learned better finally; not sure the university did...
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:31 pm

I helped out for a few months on the farm of what you call a "master cattleman" Tom D. It was an enlightening experience. Purebred Angus herd pretty close to the top of the tree in Canada - but the skill set the owner had was totally alien to me. He was outstanding at identifying calves at birth that would look great on sale day and bring big $$, hugely skilled in feeding, grooming and fitting these growing calves. He was also a fairly good marketer.
On the other hand his grass management was non-existent as was his experience of the commercial cattle business - the only "beef" sold off the farm were two 4H steers a year with all the other males being sold as bulls and females as herd replacements. The genetic plan as far as I could see was "hot bull of the season" and an ET flushing program for the string of ton show cows. What surprised me most though was that he was not really what I would call a stockman - he couldn't spot a calf that was slightly off color the day before it needed treated for a high temperature etc. For someone who looked at cattle so intensly that they would spot a tail hair out of place on a show bull yet be unable to see a calf that was only 98% right didn't make any sense to me - I guess it is just priorities.
It was an interesting period and I certainly learned more things that I wouldn't do than things I would. A total contrast to my upbringing where any purebreds we ever had were first and foremost commercial animals, running with the rest of the herd/flock.
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Double B

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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:22 am

"Talent hits targets no one else can hit; Genius hits targets no one else can see".

Seems the problem is very few can put the two together in any industry, although it seems lots folks think they are talented geniuses. I'm not smart enough to what they are rabbit
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: Principles of Livestock Breeding   Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:16 pm

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