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df



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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: Breeding Program   Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:05 pm

Well, MKeeney is tired of me poking him with a stick so it is time to go (for a while). As you might have guessed, I am fairly data oriented as it is required in my field. Integrity of data and statistical analysis is also critical as a researcher's career is over if found to be unethical. It is not like a research loses one job so can easily run over to another institution and get another. The data and analysis need to be as good as it can be. No guessing or fudging with numbers. It is often said "figures don't lie but liers figure". Well, it is also possible that some data may be analyzed in a different manner as the model to analyze it the first time may not be the best. As DaveK often stated "all models are wrong, but some are useful". The big questions have probably been answered and the limitation may be adoption. But does that mean you will have more profit? No, because just like when all stand up in a movie theater, the first no longer has the advantage. Proper capital allocation is the key, say the New Zealand dairymen.

Do I believe in breeds? Of course. As MKeeney states, why turn Angus into Wagyu when you can just crossbreed with Wagyu and get what you want in one generation. i think there is a lot of truth to that and works quite well for many traits. Dennis Voss uses Longhorns for their calving ease and maybe no breed does it better.

However, the issue of making more profit is much more complicated, IMO, than using a breed for its single trait superiority. Reproduction is a "messy" trait in that it has low heritability and thus greatly impacted by environment. As part of this trait is adaptability and finding animals that excel, not just survive, is a continual challenge in some environments. Consequently, most data shows inbreeding to have a negative effect on fertility. I think it can be overcome with time and increasing inbreeding levels slowly could save some heartburn for those willing to go this route.

Current data suggest inbred populations are more negatively impacted by environmental changes compared to crossbreds. In addition, composites have no more variation compared to straightbreds. This data has been around for a while. What must be kept in mind is poorly designed crossbreeding is still poorly designed crossbreeding.

I highly respect LL and MK for their focus on producing Angus cows that fit their environments. I think I am a little surprised that the cattle produced in WY work fairly well in KY but am reminded that the cattle are not the the high-input type and can probably make this adjustment with less difficulty.

I am discouraged that neither participate in data collection, which I think still has value to commercial producers. Quality data submitted for an analysis could show the most profitable maternal cows are produced just outside of Nancy, KY. Those cattle may be the perfect answer to KY cattlemen's woes. But we will never have the data, which I like, to prove. Instead we will rely on the integrity of the breeder. Obviously MKeeney has not problems as he sells his bulls and has a waiting list of people who want heifers. I say "kudos" to him.

This line of Angus, selected under a maternal index which included stayability, could someday be mated with confidence to another breed selected under a similar index. The result would be an F1 cow with the benefit of maternal heterosis and additive genetic merit (EPD) for fertility. In addition, this cow would be acceptable for growth and carcass in that, when mated to a terminal bull, would produce consistent progeny to hit a specified target. If the target moves, the cow remains the same but the terminal bull is changed.

I am a believer in breeds and a believer in indexes. Yes, EPDs still have some value in the computation of indexes and possibly limiting the range of certain traits which may not be totally acknowledge in the index.

Is the mainstream promotion tiring? For most, it probably is. The seedstock business is highly competitive and everybody essentially has the same access to genetics. Some ranchers obviously have a greater ability to offer services, which are often not cheap, but are setting them apart from others.

This is not my site but I do enjoy reading it. If I could make one suggestion, I would encourage more complete explanations. Obviously from my post you can see short answers tend to be "poking with a stick" and not normally useful to the discussion. Smile

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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:18 pm

It is very interesting to me that you seem to be unable to believe what linebreeding for funtional cattle can be accomplished. That the data is more important than results. I would be very interested in you observing what line-breeding has done in our enviroment. You are more than welcome to come to our ranch any time and observe the difference between reality and numbers. The bottom-line is that we sell beef by the pound and think that because of linebreeding and terminal crosses that we are way more sustainable than when we believed academia and all of their number games. The other thing that I find interesting is that you always use carcass data as a reason. How can you have accurate data with out stabalizing the gene pools from which they come.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:08 am

Bob H,

You have asked how I believe the data is more important than the results. Again, the numbers don't lie. If you have data to support your success, then continue in that direction. You will be happier in the end. And I would love to see your progress some day.

As far as the numbers games, even though the first genetic analysis (SM, then AN) was performed in the early 1970s, EPDs did not become widely available to the major breeds until the early 1980s. In the last 30 years, there has been tremendous changes in several breeds due to their use. Unfortunately, EPDs measure several traits but their misuse and single trait selection has had bad results. It is certainly no different than using the bull test station winner each year. LL can testify to those results better than I.

I am surprised that more breeders have not embraced selection indexes. They are robust in that typically no EPD has a major effect on the ranking of the bulls. I personally believe the linebreeders who have "stayed at home" so to speak, making maternal cattle, would be in the drivers seat if their cattle were truely shown to be superior. I guess it is a character flaw on my part. Wink

I am not sure what your comments are concerning carcass data and stabilizing the gene pool.

The most consistent cattle should be the F1 from linebred parents. The challenge I see is somebody has to maintain the linebred parents, of which there are few filling this role. Recreating the F1 in corn and other plants is much cheaper than in cattle. Even in the poultry and swine industry, they really don't linebreed to the extent of corn.

If you cross a corn plant with itself (selfing), the result is 50% inbred. This is accomplished in one generation. In the second generation of selfing, the result is 75% inbred. If the line you are producing does not have the traits of interest, it is easily and relatively cheaply disgarded.

Even the Line One herd is more like 30-40%. Certainly it can be done faster than the Line One herd but it is well proven this comes at a cost as well. I know MKeeney has some cattle that are really inbred and I assume LL does as well.


As far as carcass data, the cattle primarily need to fit a window. The window is not small. Packers accept a wide range of carcass weights and quality grades and prefer cattle that are not excessively fat. Although you can now buy oil for your vehicles at Wal-Mart made from tallow, so the fat may not be as big of an issue if the margins for producing it are favorable.

I absolutely don't believe hybrid vigor has much if any value for carcass traits. This has been proven time and time again. I do, however, believe breed complimentarity is important as I don't expect commercial producers to maintain straightbred Charolais herds. Charolais have their place but I am not aware of anybody who thinks a straightbred Charolais herd is the most profitable.

I have discussed Stayability at length as fertility has proven to be a very important trait to profit. Increasing the number of females that get pregnant (and raise a marketable calf) could greatly increase profit in many herds. However, I don't think just selecting sons of old cows would get you where you could go compared to having data. In fact, it is much harder considering the low heritability of the trait. If you wanted to select for muscle, then visual appraisal would be more appropriate as the phenotype and genotype are more consistent with each other.

Selecting for fertility is also not as important if fertility is not an issue. However, I believe the industry as a whole has a 15-20% replacement rate. If somebody is doing significantly better than that, and can genetically (and more importantly reproduce it phenotypically) improve commercial cowherds, this would have great value.

Sorry for the long discussion. If I have not stated my position well, I apologize.

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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:34 am

One thing that I did not make perfectly clear and will do that now, if possible. Basing 100% of sire selection on EPDs and indexes is foolish. I don't normally use words quite that harsh as I don't want you to think I am "pissy". There are lots of traits that are very important that are difficult to quantify but have great economic importance. Certainly if they can be described and there is enough variation, it could be done.

For example, docility is very important and there is a scale of 1-5 with a description that a breeder could use to score calves at weaning. I know it sounds like more work but the heritability is high and progress can be swift. When one thinks about the reputation of Limousin prior to the formation of Docility EPDs, it was not good. The cattle were not seen in a favorable light. While there are still some Limousin that are flighty, I can guarantee the problem has largely been reduced or eliminated because breeders had the tools to make progress.

Feet quality, udder structure and mothering ability are other traits of economic importance. These could actually be accounted for in the disposal code when collecting data for Stayability. If the cow is being sold due to poor udder structure, she could be coded in that manner and that bloodline would be shown for what it is . The same could be true of other traits.

Dennis Voss brought up a great example of chasing numbers, but getting a cow that would not claim her calf. This may have been an isolated incident with this cow or that could be norm of the bloodline. If Dennis had the data to make that decision and it showed that this bloodline is full of cows with "a lot of dumb in her head", I am confident he would not have used that bloodline.

IMO, EPDs coupled with the accuracies reduce some risk in sire selection. It can't eliminate it all and I know several will jump all over this claiming they have used EPDs and got nothing but bad out of it. But I would contend that high accuracy sires are what they are. If you are going to use low accuracy bulls, then the integrity of the breeder could be just as or more important. I think that might have been stated by others but I think it is worth mentioning again.

Some folks would claim that genetic evaluations are not very useful because management and nutrition play a huge role in the economic success of their operation. This is true, but the only permanant change you can make is genetic. Nobody has drought every year (well almost nobody Smile ). And we all have to fit cattle to the environment, of which your environment might be significantly different than your neighbors just based on stocking rate.

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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:42 am

Bob H wrote:
It is very interesting to me that you seem to be unable to believe what linebreeding for funtional cattle can be accomplished.
I reread your post and thought I should clarify. I think several breeders are linebreeding because they are comfortable with the bloodlines. These bloodlines have proven to work for them so they are concentrating their influence in the herd. For them, these bulls are considered "high accuracy, low risk" because they know more about them than bloodlines they might source from an AI catalog, for example. I don't have a problem with that as long as their reasons are primarily to reduce risk by using what they know.

I am not as comfortable thinking that linebreeding fixes most of your problems. If you linebred poor cattle, I think you would have poor cattle. You can linebreed and combined with selection produce desirable cattle after several generations. But I think it is important to not start with poor cattle.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:04 am

df wrote:
Bob H wrote:
It is very interesting to me that you seem to be unable to believe what linebreeding for funtional cattle can be accomplished.
I reread your post and thought I should clarify. I think several breeders are linebreeding because they are comfortable with the bloodlines. These bloodlines have proven to work for them so they are concentrating their influence in the herd. For them, these bulls are considered "high accuracy, low risk" because they know more about them than bloodlines they might source from an AI catalog, for example. I don't have a problem with that as long as their reasons are primarily to reduce risk by using what they know.

I am not as comfortable thinking that linebreeding fixes most of your problems. If you linebred poor cattle, I think you would have poor cattle. You can linebreed and combined with selection produce desirable cattle after several generations. But I think it is important to not start with poor cattle.
df,
you`ve put forth a nervey and good proposition; now I`ll poke at yours. Epd`s are the most accurate breeding estimation available...for what they measure...output...they measure no input. I don`t like indexes; they combine numbers for different traits into averages that were averages to begin with...breeding cattle based on averages once is bad enough, but averaging the averages compounds it.
Of course the more numbers/data etc the better as far as evalaution is concerned; a no-brainer...but not worth the cost of accumulating and compling for me; especially for competition in the registered marketplace where the con men beat you in the "data game" every time...read the economic concoctions at 4.9 for proof of that; a joke.
Every time I go to the bank; I see proof my little program works...how much can I attribute to genetics? I have no clue...have I left money on the table I could have had? I have no clue...if I could have had more, it would likely have been at someone`s expense...enough is enough for me.
Instead of compete in a number data backed con game, I choose to resign from it...the few people that come here don`t want to be robbed of their common sense, and they won`t be robbed of their money selling them an illusion created with numbers...birds of a feather flock together...until extinction anyway...
after 50 years of data collection and selection based on it..."cool" is the most common descriptive word in the gar footnotes...
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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:29 am

What you are talking about is right with f1 crosse's. The problem is that you are alway's terminal. About the numbers game the reason it has no value is that all that they are doing is measuring the heterosis of cross-breeding. We do that all the time we recieve 100 dollars per hd for the char x calve's the problem is that the input to get any bigger % of cross-bred cattle on our ranch is to expensive. Feed costs, lack of longevity, lack of mothering ability ie dry cows.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:57 am

MKeeney wrote:
df wrote:
Bob H wrote:
It is very interesting to me that you seem to be unable to believe what linebreeding for funtional cattle can be accomplished.
I reread your post and thought I should clarify. I think several breeders are linebreeding because they are comfortable with the bloodlines. These bloodlines have proven to work for them so they are concentrating their influence in the herd. For them, these bulls are considered "high accuracy, low risk" because they know more about them than bloodlines they might source from an AI catalog, for example. I don't have a problem with that as long as their reasons are primarily to reduce risk by using what they know.

I am not as comfortable thinking that linebreeding fixes most of your problems. If you linebred poor cattle, I think you would have poor cattle. You can linebreed and combined with selection produce desirable cattle after several generations. But I think it is important to not start with poor cattle.
df,
you`ve put forth a nervey and good proposition; now I`ll poke at yours. Epd`s are the most accurate breeding estimation available...for what they measure...output...they measure no input. I don`t like indexes; they combine numbers for different traits into averages that were averages to begin with...breeding cattle based on averages once is bad enough, but averaging the averages compounds it.
Of course the more numbers/data etc the better as far as evalaution is concerned; a no-brainer...but not worth the cost of accumulating and compling for me; especially for competition in the registered marketplace where the con men beat you in the "data game" every time...read the economic concoctions at 4.9 for proof of that; a joke.
Every time I go to the bank; I see proof my little program works...how much can I attribute to genetics? I have no clue...have I left money on the table I could have had? I have no clue...if I could have had more, it would likely have been at someone`s expense...enough is enough for me.
Instead of compete in a number data backed con game, I choose to resign from it...the few people that come here don`t want to be robbed of their common sense, and they won`t be robbed of their money selling them an illusion created with numbers...birds of a feather flock together...until extinction anyway...
after 50 years of data collection and selection based on it..."cool" is the most common descriptive word in the gar footnotes...

I have not read all of the KC post on the 4.9 as you call it; I wasn't sure if the post were futuristic or reflective so did not continue.

I would suggest there are EPDs for cost which include mature wt. I'll concede there are only a few as these have been a bit more challenging to get. WW is the easiest to get, I assume but all others are more difficult and like ultrasound, require more than just running them across the scale in a group. Certainly milk is computed and has the same cost as collecting WW. Milk can be a cost but may have returns above those costs, so both have to be taken into account in the index.

I will have to disagree on the indexes, if properly made. They can be valuable as long as the index contains all of traits of interest that it describes. One problem that is helped concerning the milk EPD is that you can still set limits as to what you desire. If an index said that all milk is good, then that index would not be rooted in reality. You and I both know that excessive milk has a cost beyond just being a wasteful conversion of forage to milk. There are longer post partum intervals and often more open cows. These are huge costs as the calves are born later and are smaller at weaning. Open cows tend to be expensive to replace.

I have no problem with you breaking away from the breed association and forging your own path. However, I think you do yourself a disservice by asking people to follow you with no more than " the old way is bad, follow me". I might suggest the 60's had a whole group of young people who were fed up with the US but were not able to change the direction of the train. Later they cut their hair and got jobs. That may be a bad analogy but the one that came to my head first. Smile

One of the thoughts running through my head when the students and I visited you this winter was "cool". Here is a guy who seems to know what he wants and is focused enough with the resources to get it. I suspect GAR was describing a bull that was ideal to them and their customers. I think the same could be said about your focus. I don't totally get it yet but do hope to see it again when it is "cooler". Very Happy



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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:05 am

Bob H wrote:
What you are talking about is right with f1 crosse's. The problem is that you are alway's terminal. About the numbers game the reason it has no value is that all that they are doing is measuring the heterosis of cross-breeding. We do that all the time we recieve 100 dollars per hd for the char x calve's the problem is that the input to get any bigger % of cross-bred cattle on our ranch is to expensive. Feed costs, lack of longevity, lack of mothering ability ie dry cows.

I don't know if you are discussing the CH crosses you had but I think we covered the fact that they did not work for you. You may be discussing the HH crosses and that they did not work for you either. I am not sure from your posts.

As far as the numbers measuring the crossbreeding, I can only assume you are discussing the introduction (unethical sneaking) of non-Angus parents into the Angus gene pool. It is well established there is not much hybrid vigor to be had crossing cattle within a breed, although I suspect that Wye/Shoshone and Ohlde might be divergent enough to beat the average. It still would not be as great as mating a HH to an AN or CH. Again, before I leave this I want to reiterate. Hybrid vigor is about maternal traits, not the growth and carcass traits. To think HV is about weaning weights is doing a disservice to the crossbred cow.

I think this is interesting because your desired breeding program is a linebred cow mated to the same linebred bloodlines to make the maternal herd and the CH only enter as terminal sires.

I think MKeeney established that he was ok with crossbred cow developed via a two-breed rotation of linebred sires and the CH again enter the herd as a terminal sire. If this is incorrect, MKeeney can certainly set me straight. Wink

So what does LL think? Which camp is he in? Let's continue to establish the futuristic part of this discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:21 am

This is a great disccuion and it needs to start taking place all around the industry especially with the commercial producers. The problem is on several levels as I see it and the blame for the misuse of EPDs and data falls on just about everyone. EPDs were sold as a tool in a large tool box but they soon became the only tool needed to have in your tool box. The breeders did this with the help of, an sometimes the insistence of the breed assoc. and so did academia, but you can't rape the willing. The commercial breeders as a whole have been a willing participant. They wanted more and they wanted it quick and easy. What is quicker and easier than looking at at a number on a reg. paper. It's the path of least resistance. Once the breeders and bred assoc. figured out the commercial industry would pay for animals based on EPDs and indexes the horse race was on to raise numbers not cattle and it is easier to change and manipulate numbers than cattle or genetics and it was and is being done without regard to it's negitive impact to the actual cattle population. It's not the data tools fault, it's the misuse of the tool and until the commercial buyers get off their asses and say I'm not buying this bull&$&* anymore it's going to continue to happen. More and more of them are starting like Bob H, but there is a large % that never will. Same with seedstock producers. It's just too easy and the whole world loves easy. We are fortunate to have a costumer base that make their living totally of livestock and they understand better the cost of more because they see it in their bottom line and at years end that is all that matters to them. There are 3 very different ways of looking at and using data though. Academia looks at it and says everyone is honest and so ther is no way the data can't work. The producer looks at it and says this would be very helpful, I hope it will work. The mainstream seedstock producers looks at it and says I've figured out a good way to make this work for me.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:29 pm

I would contend that some data is edited out by academia. If the contemporary group as an average WW of 550 yet one bull has a WW of 1000 lbs, I think it throws a red flag that something is wrong.

I know of a producer who puts the bulls developed and shown at the NWSS in with the bulls that stay home in the same contemporary group. This is obviously not desirable. Academia is well aware of issues such as these. However the geneticists are limited to a certain extent by what is collected by the breed association. They are the ones that "police" these, not academia.

I will acknowledge that frame score, and other traits, were promoted as some sort of "salvation" to the beef industry. Obviously academia, producers, feeders and packers know a whole lot more than they did 30 years ago. And there were some people warning of problems of single trait selection back in the 70s and 80s but were drowned out by the bigger, faster crowd. Surely the elephant ads was a wake up call by AAA to be careful of what we wish for.

But instead of being "reflective" and cussing the past, I would prefer the discussing of "futuristic" where should/could this go.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:40 pm

A friend of mine used the NWSS Grand Champion bull, a bull that had Birthweight EPDs "suitable for heifers". Low and behold, he used this unproven bull on purebred heifers and spent the next winter staying up with them every stressful night. It was not to save the calf but to save the heifer. Of course, after the data was sent in the bull's BW EPD jumped to an "unacceptable" level. I suspect this is replayed every year where the seedstock breeder puts some faith in the low accuracy EPD and gets burned.

After this experience, he went to using only highly proven bulls whose dams were moderate in size with nice udders. Essentially he was using phenotype and EPDs to make informed decisions to reduce risk. I think he has a fairly uniform herd. They have pretty good udders and he does not pull hardly any calves, except a few from heifers. He actually has a pretty relaxing life, IMO.

They are not the most impressive cows except when you step back and look at the big picture. Any deficiencies in growth, carcass weight and muscle can be quickly corrected with a Charolais bull. Pretty well thought out program, IMO.

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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:24 pm

df wrote:
Bob H wrote:
What you are talking about is right with f1 crosse's. The problem is that you are alway's terminal. About the numbers game the reason it has no value is that all that they are doing is measuring the heterosis of cross-breeding. We do that all the time we recieve 100 dollars per hd for the char x calve's the problem is that the input to get any bigger % of cross-bred cattle on our ranch is to expensive. Feed costs, lack of longevity, lack of mothering ability ie dry cows.

I don't know if you are discussing the CH crosses you had but I think we covered the fact that they did not work for you. You may be discussing the HH crosses and that they did not work for you either. I am not sure from your posts.

As far as the numbers measuring the crossbreeding, I can only assume you are discussing the introduction (unethical sneaking) of non-Angus parents into the Angus gene pool. It is well established there is not much hybrid vigor to be had crossing cattle within a breed, although I suspect that Wye/Shoshone and Ohlde might be divergent enough to beat the average. It still would not be as great as mating a HH to an AN or CH. Again, before I leave this I want to reiterate. Hybrid vigor is about maternal traits, not the growth and carcass traits. To think HV is about weaning weights is doing a disservice to the crossbred cow.

I think this is interesting because your desired breeding program is a linebred cow mated to the same linebred bloodlines to make the maternal herd and the CH only enter as terminal sires.

I think MKeeney established that he was ok with crossbred cow developed via a two-breed rotation of linebred sires and the CH again enter the herd as a terminal sire. If this is incorrect, MKeeney can certainly set me straight. Wink

So what does LL think? Which camp is he in? Let's continue to establish the futuristic part of this discussion.

df,
LL is not so sure we need an F1 cow...if we do, is it not a sign of failure on the part of purebred breeders? or a sign of an insurmountable challenge achieved only by crossbreeding? when all else has failed, crossbreed?... but then , to dredge up your past comment, Tru-Line hasn`t taken the industry by storm...but to throw that dart back at you, ...neither has crossbreeding...and certainly neither has AI...if there was such great profitability in crossing genetics, or using the "best" genetics via AI, how come neither have much impact on the industry despite an extension service promoting the idea all across the USA?
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:39 pm

I am not sure why it is a failure on the part of purebred breeders. If the crossbred outperforms the purebred, is it the fault of the purebred? Unless you are single trait selecting, I don't know why the purebred (such as Holstein or Wagyu) would automatically beat the crossbred.

I don't think getting heterosis is all that hard, certainly not the 1200 cows required by another poster.

I think commercial producers are looking for simplicity, hence the purchases of Balancers, SimAngus, Stabilizers, Brahman-derivatives, etc. And of course many are using straight Angus.

I don't think AI has taken off, and not really sure that it needs to. The optimum bulls are usually available for $1500-$2500 where I live. Now if bull prices continue to be $4,000, I think the commercial man should seriously look at AI, not because of genetic improvement but because it will be cheaper than buying bulls. I would suggest there are plenty of reasonably priced bulls east of Kansas City. I do think there is a lot of value in using high accuracy bulls on heifers, so AI would certainly be useful.

When I hear commercial producers go to bull sales and can only find a few that they want, I suspect that is a failure of the seedstock producer to deliver or it might be too high of expectations on the part of the commercial producer.

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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:51 pm

Quote :
and certainly neither has AI

Do you think that people found out that not all is told about catalog bulls or that things are not as green across the fence as the captions lead one to believe?
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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:17 pm

I am going to ask a personal question DF. What is your princple source of income? If you do not wish to anwer I would respect that. Our only source of income has came from the commercial cattle industry since 1976. That is not brag or feel bad about but it may explain our difference of opinion.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:29 pm

I teach stockmanship, forage management, beef production, as well as seedstock and commercial marketing. That is my main income.
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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:36 am

Bob H,

The difference in opinion is really not the issue. The difference is academia is not suppose to inform/"promote" something that has not been backed up with studies. That is not a problem for others who don't have to meet that criteria. For example, in this part of the country, there is a lot of discussion about mob grazing. No research has been done on it so we are left with anecdotal information from farmers and ranchers, who may or may not realize all of the interactions that make it work (or not work). And even after a study is done, the grazier with the experience can point to flaws the researcher was not able to control or was aware of.

It is also why farmers and ranchers may think of lots of things that should be researched and are left wondering why academia isn't doing anything. Well, often it is because of funding. Systems research is expensive when you are going to tie up a (part of a) farm and the animals to collect one piece of information. You also have more expense per head to pay as one person may be working with ~ 50 hd while a rancher may have one person take care of 1000 hd. They may spend the same amount of time with the cattle, but vastly different number of cattle. It certainly doesn't mean the 50 hd study is not applicable to the 1000 hd ranch. Researchers are forced to do replication to ensure the data is right.

It is also why some researchers like to collect data from ranchers, such as Dr. Barry Dunn did with the SPA data or others do with breed association databases. The data is already collected and the cost becomes computer time instead of tying up land and animal resources.

It is just as frustrating to have someone promote how linebred their herd is when in reality, it is not anymore linebred than the average of the breed they are using.

I am currently reading "Animal Breeding Plans" by Jay L. Lush with the fourth printing in 1956. It discusses the same things you and LL believe. The commercial animals should be straightbred and all crossbreds should be terminal although he does discuss several colleges trying two-breed rotations (pigs and dairy cows) with success and felt it was worth watching. Some of these females from a two-breed rotation were mated to terminal sires (pigs). He discusses inbreeding and linebreeding, promoting the "pure" offspring but questioning the wisdom of these if the financial rewards were not in place. He questioned uniformity from a marketing standpoint, stating farmers were not currently paid for uniformity.

Lush questions prepotency and hits on many things discussed on various chat boards across the internet. Some of them he shoots full of holes, others he says happens but is blown up beyond what breeders believe and still others he discusses why they should be done.

Now this book was written by a highly respected man who collected this information in the early 1900s. What are we to believe when other highly respected scientists such as Cundiff and Gregory, working with 8,000 head of cattle of multiple breeds at MARC in the mid- to late-1900s, determines other breeding programs are acceptable? Who should we believe? Certainly I don't want to discount your success and experience as it is invaluable. On the other hand, there is research that contradicts these methods.

One point I forgot to mention is Lush does discussed the balance between financial rewards and the actual breeding program. He discusses how genetic defects might cripple a breeding program and how many breeders use outcrosses to avoid the possibility of genetic defects. Keep in mind the dwarfism was top of mind in the 1940s and 1950s and peaked in the Herefords in the early 1950s. However, his view was that seedstock should be linebred and any outcross animals might be used for display and promotion purposes, yet should be considered market animals and not used as breeding stock. Very interesting; I wonder what he would say of current breeding programs if he had all the data we have today Smile And it seems to me that the display of the outcross animal would be unethical if the same results were not available to the farmer.

I hope that clears up why I ask the questions I ask and why I sometimes want to say "BS" but don't. You have a lot of experience I don't (although I am not as young and inexperienced as you might think Wink ) and I have had some of the best teachers in this field.



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OAK LANE FARM



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:03 am

df wrote:
I teach stockmanship, forage management, beef production, as well as seedstock and commercial marketing. That is my main income.
My son Kyle and I have provided the beef classes for a local judging contest for years. We have tried to opt out and let some of the other 5 or 6 seedstock producers around the area bring in classes but they all are too busy or whatever. My sons and I helped with the judging most of the years. I took reasons for years from the likes of the past Genex sire selector and other now famous students. Last year I saw the official judges do such poor work I went home with the heifers. When I came back to pick up Kyle they were looking for someone to give officials on the beef so instead of the traditional reasons I gave them the Bonsma wedge- cofffee cup talk and told them if they got nothing else out of there judging career they needed to remember that females should look like females and bulls like bulls. This year my son took them in and they imported the NDSU Judging Team for officials. The wet behind the ears- little snot beef reasons guy said our March-April calved 775 # heifers were in such tough shape they would have little chance of breeding. I wish I had been there - I would have grabed the mike and set him down and told him they have been like that for 35 years and always bred up just fine. My point DF is that expose your students to as many of the Larry Leonhardts, Mike Keeneys, Gene Meitlers and other stubborn -independant breeders as you can. The common sense index ( the ratio between how smart these university trainees think they are and how darn dumb they really are) would be something worth tracking. Not making light of the importance of your job or the potential good that students could get from school. I am saying the traditonal brain washing should be replaced with something useful to the students and for the industry
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:49 am

I have exposed students to MKeeney, Greg Judy, and Tall Grass Beef. They also learn of Joel Salatin and how Greg Judy became successful, partially by reading his book (required reading). The discussion that follows is pretty good. Then they read about Gordan Hazard and building a stocker operation and to round it off they read Land, Livestock and Live by Allan Nation. They learn about Bud Williams, both through marketing and stockmanship. I take "wet-behind-the-ears" city kids and teach them how to halter break cattle in three days with little to no stress on the animal or themselves. I can build a lot of confidence and patience into these kids in three days, if they want it.
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jhudson



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:43 pm

df, As one who has read and followed the Stockman Grass Farmer crowd for many years and before it was cool, I still do not know how Allen Nation gained his expertise and same is true of a number of these folks. What have any of them added to the art of breeding cattle? They all come up with cure all programs, then write a book and then go on the speaker circuit where they charge exorbitant fees to speak of their sucesses and provide info that most cannot implement and is unproven except in their world. Most do have one thing in common, like Kit and Jim Leachman they are excellent marketers. This is not to say some of their ideas are not worth considering but for most part haven't those ideas been in place many years, i.e., LL, Keeney,Voss. These are folks who have proven way to improve cattle for the commercial man and who have proved they can actually make a living doing it. If you want to see how promotion of forage only cattle fad has gone crazy read about the program James Coffelt promotes and then read the articles in recent 5L Red Angus cattle log. 5L is endorsed by Churchill but program vastly different from Coffelts(Kits). How is commercial man to know what to do. Reminds me somewhat of utilization of EPDs. Jim
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jhudson



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:50 pm

I should have said programs similar but cattle vastly different. Jim
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:04 pm

df wrote:
I have exposed students to MKeeney, Greg Judy, and Tall Grass Beef. They also learn of Joel Salatin and how Greg Judy became successful, partially by reading his book (required reading). The discussion that follows is pretty good. Then they read about Gordan Hazard and building a stocker operation and to round it off they read Land, Livestock and Live by Allan Nation. They learn about Bud Williams, both through marketing and stockmanship. I take "wet-behind-the-ears" city kids and teach them how to halter break cattle in three days with little to no stress on the animal or themselves. I can build a lot of confidence and patience into these kids in three days, if they want it.

Do you expose yor students to Allon Savory's Holistic Management model? Some of his principles maybe more important for business and personal success than anything Allan Nation or other experts have preach. I would also suggest Jim Gerrish work for your students.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:49 pm

jhudson wrote:
I should have said programs similar but cattle vastly different. Jim
Jim, did you really mean...I should have said promotions similar but cattle vastly different. Jim
Very Happy
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jhudson



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PostSubject: Re: Breeding Program   Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:47 pm

Mike, Yes. Thanks. Also when I said most cannot implement I was referring to those paying to hear these folks. I have heard that failure to be able to articulate is one of signs of old age and looks like may be true in my case. Jim
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