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 Longevity post...rescued from the ruins

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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 9:33 pm

Acouple of good post lost in the melee at the 4.9; I`d like to see a picture of everyone`s oldest cow...

DV wrote
While I've got you here, let's talk about this thread and the issue of milk. I hear breeders stating that they're cutting down on their milk. All the while they are calving early and grazing cattle in the lushest of conditions compared to the semi-desert, high altitude country I operate in. What this tells me is that their udders are shot early. When we made huge changes here with regards to milk, it was because we set our calving back to May/June from late Jan/Feb. We could no longer calve on green grass in May & June with high milking Angus cows. This is when we went in earnest search for the right bull to influence our new direction. All in all this has been Shoshone Encore 6310. The udders start out quite small and nifty and they stay beautiully made all the way out to old cows. I have long appreciated his genetic impact on our current direction. I've had a lot of experience with high milk Angus bulls. And my guess is one of the reasons a lot of mainstream Angus cows are culled early is because of poor udders.
What a tragedy. Guys can't afford to have those old swing bags around where people can see them, thus the terms "front yard cattle" and "back yard cattle". This country is jammed with poor uddered Angus cattle. What a tragedy. And then we could talk about fertility, mothering ability but I'll wait for a later date. Dennis Voss, in the vicinity of 60 degrees in Two Dot.



Dylan wrote

Regarding the lack of attention to overall maternal qualities of Angus I could not agree more. A maternal breed that has been selected for everything but, is destined to sacrifice basic maternal integrity, and for the most part it appears that the percieved "progress" is considered worth it by the mainstream.

Part of the problem as I see it is a lack of distinction in seedstock herds between selecting for maternal function versus growth and carcass production.

If one takes a look through the ABS sire directory of the 30 some pieces of data provided on individual bulls, the majority tells one nothing about longevity, fertility, and or overall suitability from a maternal standpoint.

The data provided tells one quite a bit about what one can expect from the calves in terms of birth growth and carcass. Little if any is given interms of what one might expect from the female calves regarding their potential as range cows.

From the standpoint of range cow potential evaluation the data that would be of interest to me would be producing age, structural integrity of udder, feet and legs, average and range of calving intervals, number of live calves weaned, mothering ability and overall maternal attentiveness and vigor of calves of dam and grand dams, great grand dams etc, and overtime of daughters in production. A maternal before and after evaluation. To me knowing the natural and management environment that the cattle are raised in is also vital.

In addition the strength of the bias toward growth and carcass immediately nullifies the value of any bulls that don't match growth and carcass production expectations regardless of proven maternal value.

In our commercial herd we have a number of 13 and 14 year old AI sired cows that have never skipped a beat. They are sired by a 1983 born bull and a1985 born son that by growth standards of today would be considered worthless.

Two of these cows I happened upon two days ago. Scruffian range cows. Both 14 this year.





Ranchers know the value of longevity and yet the disconnect to the seedstock world seems to be widening.

Yet the mainstream perception continues to perpetuate the growth carcass selection bias at the expense of maternal function with the fallacy that a bull that is only average, or god forbid, less than average on growth and carcass is of no value maternal or otherwise.

I am left to speculate as to the reasons why.

IMO part of it is flat out inattentional blindness, part is a habitual linear "more is better" production paradigm that makes it impossible to concieve whole system maternal function analysis, part is short term ROI power marketing focussed hyperbole that capitalizes on the grass is greener bigger better faster marketing appeal, part is the sheer time involved in proving maternal value, and last but not least the everlasting appeal of the "eat your cake and have it to" illusion.

The reality of the maternal sacrifice production selection focus seems to be gaining recognition among commercial cattlemen. The all purpose Angus lament is becoming more common.

The commercial segment at least IMO is on the verge of a shift, what is left genetically to meet the growing demand for parent stock genetics is becoming the topical question.

Dylan Biggs


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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 9:52 pm

Indeed Mike, there is some usefulness in that topic. But, way too much happening in the stands, to watch the game. I really like the Black Hole analogy and haven't found a appropriate time to bring it up, but really, just awesome Dylan. Now I hope the discussion stays on longevity. I will try to take a picture of a few grannies. I don't have very many as I followed the path of the beaten DeadHorseSociety, and sold my '''97" and 98's when they still had value as 8's. Never again, or least for a very long time. It is so very tiring, yet refreshing to know better, rather than listen to such unsound theories, on improvement. The temptation for improvement is the modern forbidden fruit, so very tempting, but then we must live with the consequences.



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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 10:06 pm

Brian`s flush cow 15...15 a good age to be flushing I believe...
Sniff`s dam below at 15 reminds of Dylans first pictured cow in body type...
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Mean Spirit



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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 10:08 pm

Oldest cow, 13.

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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 10:10 pm

Mean Spirit wrote:
Oldest cow, 13.


wow...she`s not getting older, just better Smile I think the biggest difference in her and sniff`s mom is color??
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Mon May 09, 2011 10:34 pm

My longevity picture - cow front right 21, cow front left 20, cow back centre 20. Not fancy udders by any means, indeed
probably their biggest fault but they were never assisted to suckle.


My old favorite who has been posted here many times before including above - pictured at 19.


Last picture of her at 23 1/2 years old just about to wean her last calf. Udder was producing watery milk on the last calf.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 7:09 am

what are the reasons that let your cows get this old and still look this look Grassfarmer? genes, type, environment, production levels?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 10:03 am

Not quite sure Mike. First I got to pick survivors - they were 14-15 when I bought them. The fact they have Highland
blood in their makeup likely creates the potential to go 20+more often than most other breeds. This dry climate is conducive to cows getting old here - in Scotland arthritis was the biggest culler of old cows due to the damp climate. Production levels would be all over the place in the herd these cows came from - the only criteria that they got culled for was failing to bring in a calf. No specific culling (or selection) for size, type, production, temperement, age, feet or udders. I suspect environment and management may have had the biggest role. The owner thought he ran the cows tough because he allowed nature to take care of them as much as possible but that overlooked his contribution to nature of having what most would consider an understocked ranch. It's in a tougher climatic zone than me but the native foothills fescue is high quality grazing. The place is a sea of grass summer and winter and consequently the cattle were generally in very good condition year round. I speculate that the way I (and most of us) run cows involves taking more condition off the cows in winter and this seasonal fluctuation of weight somehow wears out cows quicker. I think also the chopping and changing our cows get to diet year round will be tougher on their organs - going from poor quality banked grass to high quality, wet, tame pasture to winter grazing then silage and straw must all take a toll.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 10:40 am

Thanks a lot MK for bringing this thread over to KC. I tried posting on Dylan's response several times and I lost both of them so it might take me a couple days to regain my momentum.

Dylan has made some excellent statements and I attribute the disparity between "value of longevity" and the seedstock world to an ever gluttonness American Angus Assn, which like a big, fat pig munches on CAB. CAB being the only game in town according to AAA. Those folks who can point to me efforts being made by the AAA to help commercial producers with issues like longevity in their cowherds, speak up and tell me what they are doing. I personally don't know of anything. They may patronize the idea but that is all. They throw a little bone out every once in a while but most of the effort is about selling more bulls to produce more CAB. Don't get me wrong, I think CAB is great especially if you're dining on it. Dylan says, "Yet the mainstream perception continues to perpetuate the growth carcass selection bias at the expense of maternal function with the fallacy that a bull that is only average, or god forbid less than average on growth and carcass, is of no value maternal or otherwise". Right on the money. One of the little bones the AAA has thrown out to us is the little cow efficiency/energy EPD which I think is a joke of a bone. It just looks to me like the older your pedigree, the bigger the number. Certainly the mainstream has made it into a joke. To tell you the truth I think it is a joke.

So then Dylan says that the disparity between the mainstream selectors and the maternal function selectors is "flat out inattentional blindness". I think that term is beautiful and well worth pursuing discussion on. My personal theory is that it has to do with the insecurity of being a human. In other word the reliance on social grouping support systems whereupon the dialogue is all about the next bull that everybody is going to be using sons of or semen from. All perpetuated by both commercial producers who buy into it and AAA's robotically trained seedstock producers. Having been part of the whole thing from beginning to end, all of the issues that arise from this interest me a great deal. Even though Keeney's Corner has a lot of comraderie, the whole group is a bunch of individualists as bad-assed as the bulls they raise or use. I personally don't think anybody can accuse the members to this blog group of being hooked at the hips or the head. I think we all smell a revolution. And I think the main revolutionary is Larry Leonhardt and LL is also the common bond. I'll leave you with Dylan's last sentence, " The commercial segment at least IMO is on the verge of a shift, what is left genetically to meet the growing demand for parent stock genetics is becoming the topical question". Dylan puts it all together. Another aspect to this whole sense of a revolution is that it spans 2 countries, Canada and the U.S. The contributions and intellect coming out of Canada is absolutely impressive, something that intrigues the hell out of me.

Grassfarmer, the pictures of your 20 yr old cows floor me, as does your candidness about things that you would like to change. But just remember this, those udders got them to 20 yrs old and their overall phenotype is very interesting. Those girls look like they've raised a lot of beef and punched a lot of coupons.

Dennis Voss, back from the 4.9barY after trying to teach a dog in Iowa to quit chasing cars even after putting a gunny sack tied to the rims of my truck watching him bite, twist his neck, roll into the ditch, repeating it day after day after day. I decided to quit trying to get him to quit chasing cars. A black hole with a painful neck.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 11:20 am

I can see a genetic shift occurring as Dylan states. Most ranchers in my area are tired of all the BS in the industry. There are quite a few who are raising there own bulls and they are having better results than many people thought. We all must keep a open mind as the whole world is changing fast. I can just see in 10 yrs the AAA seeking out select breeders to register their cattle so they can reestablish the breed.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 1:23 pm

I guess this is a dumb question, but is all of the flushing that goes on in the main AAA herds due to poor fertility, improper conformation and lack of longevity? Or is it pure marketing? It almost seems that they have to flush to have enough cows to cover the ones that fall out quickly. And it might just be a way to turn money quicker on the investment. I'll try to muster up a picture of a 16+ YO. She has a son we use for calving heifers that my brother calls "the ugly bull". A bit longhornish but my how those calves do come and then they can run like the deer! I would try to get a picture of him but it might tarnish my image!

DV, What kind of problems are they having over at 4.9? jocolor
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 2:11 pm

I think it is that lower maintenance cost trumps calf premiums.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 3:32 pm

EddieM wrote:
I guess this is a dumb question, but is all of the flushing that goes on in the main AAA herds due to poor fertility, improper conformation and lack of longevity? Or is it pure marketing?

ME TOO syndrome , bragging rights, marketing, trying to recoup investment, too much money need tax right off and maybe some of the cows are worth flushing.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 6:23 pm

Eddie...... I'm not biting on your 4.9 question, you think I'm that easy?
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 8:49 pm

What will bring out that "AHHHHH" moment for commercial guys? I see a lot of stubbornness, arrogant attitude, plain old hard headed in most guys in my area. There's that farmer mentality of "I own the hay/alfalfa/feed bales. It doesn't cost me anything to feed my cows." So, they pour it to 'em and don't think about the expense. Since reading these posts, looking at these pictures, talking to a number of you on the phone or in person, I look at cattle differently now. I study the pens at sale barns and nearly run off the road looking at cows in pastures! They all look the same. Sparrow assed, masculine featured, tall, narrow cows. They're ugly. If you never realize your cows are crappy, how do you make a change for the better? There's the semen pimps & multipliers sale catalogs hawking the newest, bigger numbered bull that make your calves bigger and make you more money. I heard that one this morning on the radio. It was an ad for Genex. Bigger calves/more money at sale time. There's been an idea planted that "I'm almost there. The next calf crop will be it." Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 10:12 pm

Quote :
Eddie...... I'm not biting on your 4.9 question, you think I'm that easy?

No, just piddling around.

Can EPD's be used to select the bulls to breed these cows with longevity to recreate them? I'm asking about bulls that would be at or below the level of the cow's EPDs. Or do you use average bulls from your environment/herd? I probably have used the wrong bulls in the past but I do not find longevity to be predictable.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Tue May 10, 2011 11:33 pm

Mike, I am glad this discussion was rescued from the ruinous black hole, thanks.

Mike, photos of the oldest cow or the oldest cow still producing?

Here is a link to an excellent example of inattentional blindness, passing video

Dennis, I missed the insecurity ingredient, excellent point. People want to belong, they want to be included, strong flocking instinct, we the sheeple, not we the people. No doubt this should be included as a contributing factor to the selection disparity.

Dennis, what would or do you envision in place of or in addition to the "joke of a bone"?

Grassfarmer, great old girls. I think there is something to management enhanced longevity. Specifically moderating swings in BCS, calving closer to the longest day of the year with the increased photo period and earlier weaning.

Bootheel, the AAA seeking out, not holding my breath.......glad you appreciate the black hole analogy Laughing Laughing

Dennis, those blue heelers are about as tenacious as anything, combine that with their obsessive compulsions and thick strong necks....... high RPMs are no problem......chances of rehab are slim. Laughing Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 12:13 am

"joke of a bone" Just seemed like the AAA way, throw them a bone, the mainstream thinks its a joke, and I think its a joke, about the only thing I agree with them about. Is it a joke? I don"t know, I sure don't put any value on it. I'll have to do more thought on what they could do to help the cause, only problem, I'm not in the mood to work with/through "the system" What do other people think of it, do I have it all wrong? Scott? Jack? Anyone? Dennis Voss, near flooding Two Dot Bridge
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 6:59 am

there is no compunction to change the system, it works just fine, continual outcrossing = greater numbers = bigger bragging rights = more outcrossing, no danger of linebreeding - til later, then it can be called 'environmental'. If it weren't for EXT the mainstream would have been in a hole it would never have gotten out of in functional terms.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 8:37 am

Dennis Voss wrote:
"joke of a bone" Just seemed like the AAA way, throw them a bone, the mainstream thinks its a joke, and I think its a joke, about the only thing I agree with them about. Is it a joke? I don"t know, I sure don't put any value on it. I'll have to do more thought on what they could do to help the cause, only problem, I'm not in the mood to work with/through "the system" What do other people think of it, do I have it all wrong? Scott? Jack? Anyone? Dennis Voss, near flooding Two Dot Bridge

Re "joke of a bone", was not an editorial comment, i am not convinced one way or the other.

Your comments re Jerseys and fertility certainly point out the strength of superior fertility independent of production level.

Dairy semen quality makes beef semen quality look like a joke, may be something worth considering.

If you were going to create a system that relected the value of maternal function as a priority, assuming a system is required what would you include.

Stayability? Heifer pregnancy?, Averagre Calving Interval data, productive life span data, number of weaned calves, structural scores like dairy, sire semen quality data.

Got to go, lets get some ideas, critisism is great alternative suggestions and ideas are even better.

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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 8:43 am

Not only has CAB ruined most of the Angus breed it has taken the Red Angus breed down with it. The traditional purebred seedstock producer has been willing to add layers upon layers of busy work (marketing tools mostly -rarely breeding tools) to differeniate themselves from their competition. What can't be proven is claimed in expensive glossy journal proclamations. For different reasons most of the misfits at Keeney's Corner failed out of the traditional seedstock model. Our failures forced each of us to become focused on practical production and resource management (financial and environmental). Quite frankly it probably is in our best interest if the Mainstream and AAA stay their course-we don't need the competition. Our stories of struggle and failure resonate with commercial producers like Chocolate Cow who realize their seedstock choices were not working. I can't count the number of times a seedstock producer has stated they did not like some of the cattle they were using but the commercial producer expected a certain size or weight, maybe the chance at a popular pedigree or a certain trait focus. If we maintain decent cattle that cover the basics well, take decent care of them and explain our breeding program we all have had plenty of customers. Do we get the kind of respect we deserve? Probably not. We are far better served being able to respect ourselves and learning to respect the works of the other misfits. We do all have plenty of positive to talk about.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 9:28 am

Dylan Biggs wrote:

If you were going to create a system that relected the value of maternal function as a priority, assuming a system is required what would you include.

I don't think you need a "system" if that means a numerical score or a series of scores akin to EPDs. Given the way numberical scores are always misused the less scores the better. All you need is breeders with herds of cows selected for the objective. Get back to what the job used to be about - having herds, strains or breeds selected and purified for the desired traits and attributes. It worked in the past to create the breeds why can't it work again?
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 10:10 am

If only. This goes back to the whole problem of selling the Tru-line concept, or anything like it. I fear today's consumer of beef cattle genetics has been conditioned to want some numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 10:27 am

Grassfarmer wrote:

Dylan Biggs wrote:

If you were going to create a system that relected the value of maternal function as a priority, assuming a system is required what would you include.



I don't think you need a "system" if that means a numerical score or a series of scores akin to EPDs. Given the way numberical scores are always misused the less scores the better. All you need is breeders with herds of cows selected for the objective. Get back to what the job used to be about - having herds, strains or breeds selected and purified for the desired traits and attributes. It worked in the past to create the breeds why can't it work again?

I'd be pretty compatible with your idea Grassfarmer. When someone says, "Why can't it be that simple?" I'm always interested. What's always astounded me over my lifespan of developing ideas or participating in the development of ideas, is the best and clearest are always the simplest. It seems to me like everything that has been thrown in front of breeding cattle numerically becomes roadblock after roadblock to progress. I go over to Advantage for my mainstream hit. Typical of this hit would be posters such as Foxx and Dunc, both evidently burning and churning in the mainstream bathtub. And the things they say and the things they come up with reconfirm everything I'm trying to do to get back to simplified breeding strategies. Not to pick on these 2, there are plenty more over there that do the same for me. For me, theirs represent fun little make believe worlds called "aren't we happy breeding cattle", "aren't we making progress", "tweet, tweet, tweet, I'll use him for my feet problem", "I need just a smidge more frame than that", "his birth is just a little too much in the wtong direction although I do appreciate the growth from those kind of calves", "I talked to the owner and he runs them tough so I think they would really work in my more lush environment". Anyhow, you get my point.

Dennis Voss, in the vicinity of 60 degrees in Two Dot.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Longevity post...rescued from the ruins   Wed May 11, 2011 10:59 am

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream
of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life


Can there be widespread revolt based on truth and genetic reality? Given human nature, I doubt it...
we have a hero, but a reluctant one {wasn`t that nice not to say an old hero Very Happy }
who was that old wise man in Star Wars?
Is there a Luke Skywalker among us?
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