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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:38 am

I`m putting this under a new topic as well since it is more sobering than our usual post..

Well Mike, when you asked me to post some of my innermost thoughts on the Keeney’s Corner website, I had to laugh because you seem to be a such a glutton for punishment. You must have an ulterior motive since you more than anyone knows how my breeding philosophy has gone over like a lead balloon in the more glamorized high dollar segments of the registered sector. If there is one thing I have learned well, it is that cattle can be changed relatively easy but it is nearly impossible to change people. People tend to go wherever the money is, but sooner or later we learn that all that glitters is not gold : )

You know how I've been standing on this isolated soapbox for over 30 years talking about ways to genetically improve the predictability and efficiency of hybrid beef production..... about things the purebred industry could do to harness hybrid power for the benefit of all segments in the commercial beef industry, yet it remains unleashed. And most of us know all the reasons why we're stuck in the rut of tradition. Anything I have to offer seems pretty redundant, I'm like a broken record saying the same things over and over again over time....does that make me "predictable" ? : )


Publicly posting my thoughts tends to upset the applecart of traditional selection directions or methodology so I suppose that's your intent. At my age, I am no longer interested in opinions about different kinds of cattle, we need diverse kinds. However, I am interested in discussing genetic principles and ideas of how we can better utilize this diversity. When I heard that someone said they enjoyed breeding cattle much more before they met me, it bothered me because I'd rather not be known as a spoilsport..... just because I've accepted and profess genetic reality. Like the illusions of the magician, we all know traditional illusions of grandeur are more exciting. But these temporary illusions offer little lasting value to improving the economics of beef production. And then my futility steps in as I realize not many breeders really care about the big picture beyond themselves anyway.


The question always is who will be the gainer and who the loser from our traditional selection emphasis in this multi-faceted beef business. Some people may think I have an axe to grind but I actually have nothing personal to gain by exposing some of the gamesmanship that is practiced in this business.... a practice of always accentuating the positives and ignoring the negatives of any direction. I would prefer to just ignore all the crazy things that go on in this business but it seems the only way reality can compete with all that nonsensical stuff is to factually expose it for what it is. Then people can let their conscience decide what road to take.


Many people in your area enjoyed reading your old Keeney’s Korner articles and I'm sure your new Keeney’s Corner will encompass broader interest and enjoyment since it's accessible by the entire internet world. For all the right reasons, I know you do enjoy doing what you do while sharing the reality of your experiences to justify your directions without all the superficial hype and fanfare that is so prevalent in this business. I've noticed how your viewpoints comfort those who already agree with you, annoy those who do not, and some of the currently disappointed breeders out there will look to your cattle to solve all their problems.....at a cheap price after paying high prices for cattle that got them into trouble in the first place : ) Most of us go through these common learning phases.


Your topic "The Problem with Breeding Maternal" seems to be very active and struck a nerve with me. You asked the question "is change, or predictability the role of the breeder?". I would like to dwell at some length on that question but first I want to offer the comment that I think your "Guests of Honor" thing is a bit superfluous. After all, we all have our own opinions for all our own different reasons, but in one sense we're all equal since most everyone that's been in this business for any length of time has made and continues to make their fair share of selection errors. The positives of our selection are always readily apparent, but since we only discover our "selection errors" in hindsight, time has just allowed us older guys to see more of the errors of our ways.


Change, or predictability. For people that don't know me, they might want to know that over time, I developed this intense interest in the amazing wonders of genetics fueled by a comprehensive study of the historic results of cattle breeding and 45 years of experiencing all the ups and downs of the registered business. From what I gleaned out of all this, I formed the opinion that most of our "selection errors" are caused by over ambitious, short term objectives going from bull to bull or cow to cow in order to sell next year's progeny for more money. We all seem concerned about time and many of us suffer from our disappointments down the road due to our shortsightedness .... NOT MANY PEOPLE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN 120 YEAR BREEDING PROGRAMS as set forth by Gavin Falloon, but nearly everyone would like to capitalize on his work.


I should let Gavin speak for himself about his program to genetically improve the entire population of his herd. But I am only using him as an example here just to put time into perspective. Since people have been breeding Angus cattle FOR OVER 200 YEARS , one would think that breed purity/predictability would be vastly improved by now .....THAT FINALLY, WHAT WE SEE IS WHAT WE'LL GET. To the contrary, the reality is that prepotency is rare today due to continual directional change.


Our individual time seems to be so precious that too few of us take the time to stop and really think about where we're going, what the ramifications might be, etc.. I have been criticized for using hundreds of words to make a point when people who post on chat rooms like Advantage, 5barx or now Keeney's Corner prefer an unending series of short little witty quips exchanging opinions about this or that bull, types or whatever.....mostly short term stuff that collectively still consumes alot of time. So I figure that anyone thinking long term will have the time and interest in reading what I have to say and reach their own conclusions as to the worthiness of any of it.


To be more successful in long term breeding programs, we can learn alot from the thousands of words and pages in our history. Before embarking in a direction with a definitive destination, I think there is merit in analyzing all that has been done before us, we're really not any smarter than many former breeders. Modern technology won't really change the basic anatomy of the bovine. We can choose to either accept reality or not. There is not much to argue about when we deal with factual reality so let's start with "purity".


We have a registered society initially formed to preserve the purity of the breed. Now with all the different sizes and shapes, all the measures and technology I wish someone could tell me what that purity actually represents in the population of the breeds today.....or explain to me how we have utilized breed purity by itself to improve the economics of beef production, or how our misuse and abuse of expected progeny differences improves breed purity.


Being a strong proponent of improving the economics of hybrid beef production for every segment by improving the purity of the parent stock, from strictly a genetic standpoint, isn't it strange that after 200 years of historic experience to learn from, that we're still diluting "functional purity" with continual change chasing the illusions of within breed or across breed "genetic" hybrids. It goes without saying that while many have produced more beneficial "genetic hybrids", however, collectively as a whole we have failed in our ability to replicate or reproduce them more economically. Doesn't anyone stop and wonder why?


I suppose some of us could say we/ve made progress by making the little short blocky fat ones longer, taller and leaner; or, we've made the slower growing ones grow faster; etc.etc. There are an abundance of justifications for changing cattle. But it seems to be an endless list of continual correctional change using the top of whatever to bring up the bottom of whatever. The reality is that "fire & ice" will do very little to ever improve the frequency of functional purity.... all it can do is change averages.


I must be naive since I believed that purity was synonymous for prepotency or predictability - the unusual ability of an animal to transmit its characters to its offspring with more consistency. Most of us want more predictability but by our actions and directions, doesn't anyone wonder why we don't accept it even when we begin getting more of it? The quick simple answer is we always want more than we can genetically get in one animal and consequently we experience the continuous cycles of change. We can choose to have a little bit of alot of things or alot of a few things, but it is genetically impossible to have a prepotency for alot of everything in one animal.....but oh my goodness, how hard we've tried even with composites.


Now Mike, the peak of hypocrisy in this so called purebred business was when a few of the mainstream followers called you a "dishonest, blue sky" breeder for trying to improve the functional purity of your cattle ..... so what people see at Keeney Angus is more likely what they'll get. I laughed as I thought "it takes one to know one" and I probably know you as well as anyone in this business. But what I don't know is whether you are advancing or regressing by going from being "a greedy paranoid" to a "dishonest, blue sky" breeder : )


Everyone knows the reality is that any genetically mongrelized animal with or without registration papers can have trait progeny averages while ignoring the range of deviation from the means. So the factual reality is that many of your customers will likely get "more than they see" from some of your cattle.... and "less than what they see" from some of your cattle .....part of the amazing wonders of genetics : ) Your "Blythemaker and Unwanted stories" are good examples. There is only one way to improve functional prepotency in a population.


Another reality is that our breed national sire evaluation reports document the continual spherical expansion of the deviation from the ever changing means of the many functional values in beef production. Since I formed the opinion that the beef industry needs more functional prepotency in the parent stock, in order to move onward in this direction without restrictions or approval by the society's rules, I accept the universal criticism for my divorce from the registered society for our irreconcilable differences. No need to further explain, they can do their thing and I'll do mine.


There is nothing I abhor more than hypocrisy, so I really had no other choice since at my age I'm running out of time and patience. I think it was Thoreau who said something like if a man travels alone, he can start anytime, but if he travels with others, he must wait until they are ready. I've already waited too long, most people aren't interested in accepting the limitations of special purpose strains, so why would they bother forming them. The reality is they want all purpose cattle that continually do everything better everywhere as we witness the creation of more and more composites and the movement of many breeds towards a similar biological type .... at least as portrayed in the promotions.....what is not portrayed is the distributions of all the rest.


On the other hand, we're told that the principles to successfully improve functional prepotency are exceedingly simple, the difficulty is in the application. I am not about to get into any debates arguing over which type is better or worse than another. The reality in this direction is that Nature does provide the form that eventually follows functional selection irregardless of breed, whether we like it or not. The devil in the details is that beef production involves many functional traits that interact with each other under many different environments. Obviously, since all breeds want to be superior for everything and the mainstream wants cattle better for everything, we can all attest to the fact that Nature is providing us with a distribution of many, many forms. From those we then select the ones we seem to prefer what we call the best and cull the rest. I don't see that as improvement of a population.


Whatever type anyone prefers, the first question I always wonder about is whether that type is sustainable with minimal culling or if it requires a high percentage of culling to sustain the type.


Promoting high standards is admirable and fashionable in the registered business but ultimately I often question whether these high standards are economically practical in commercial beef production. For example, the Billings auction yards list the prices and consignors of cattle that sold at their weekly sales. I couldn't help but notice that a very successful well known reputable high performance herd recently sold 17 cull cows that averaged 1704# with one cow weighing 1901#. The reality is cattle simply do get larger with emphasis on increased individual performance.


Another interesting example of form/function is that Gavin says he selecting for the highest performing genes in his closed herd while allowing the environment to determine the type that emerges ....and says that after forty years the type that is emerging is more classical Angus, just thicker, longer, more massive.... believing that it is the only type that will emerge for those who want grass only beef.


I probably respect and enjoy corresponding with Gavin about genetics as much as anyone I've ever met in this business. We can be very open with each other since we both have relatively closed herds and don't have anything to sell each other : ) On one occasion he told me that his production consists of bulls, beef and cull cows, that his long term program has cost him alot in all ways but would do it all over again because it is working....readily accepting the cost to achieve his objective. Without a doubt, he will continue to improve the functional prepotency of the emerging type. What you see is what you'll get, it has absolutely nothing to do with whether everyone agrees with the type or not, the qualities are there with more certainty for those who have a need for them.


The single biggest difficulty is to determine an acceptable, more realistic, sustainable functional type. It all starts with the cow and how much cow we are willing to support. And then, as Eddie says, we all still need to learn how to replicate any ideal MORE OFTEN which is nothing more than improving the consistency of a functionally useful type. Consequently, and economically, the pros and cons of close breeding to speed up this process is a very controversial subject. One of the first questions I had to resolve from my observations was why do the so called "good genes" seem to disappear when we intensely inbreed a preferred type and yet they somewhat reappear when outcrossed. I shall not forget your question to me when you asked if we are going to restore the so called inbreeding depression, why would we inbreed at all in the first place. The simple short answer is to improve the desired consistency of the complimentary cross OVER AND OVER AGAIN !!!!.


Mike, you did an excellent job by portraying the dam of your "blythemakers" as an example.... I am not sure people actually comprehend what you're trying to explain to them, I think you ought to tell more of your "once upon a time" stories illustrated with pictures, especially since you're such a good picture taker. From the content of the responses and debates in the forum, I still notice the mindset seems locked in on the concept of one kind doing everything to make more profit over another kind....I'd guess profit is at least 85% management and remember what I said in the beginning, it's nearly impossible to change people by pushing them. It's easier to lead a bunch of cows with a bale of hay than it is driving them with whips, I got a great kick out of Bootheels "Thou shalt not covets ..." : )


Of course I could write pages and pages on the details of the general principles regarding "is change, or predictability the role of the breeder". 'Nuff said for now, the rest is up to you. Could sum up everything by simply saying "we reap what we sow" - but the problem with just saying that is pretty simple, we never seem to know just exactly what we're sowing until we harvest it, and by then it's too late to change it .... so now you know what I think the role of the breeder is : )


Larry


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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:41 am

This last weekend I was privelaged to enjoy a conversation with Mark Hannon , Steve Viker and Kim Viker. Steve and myself had explored on several conversations during the weekend the concept that in our pursuits of an ideal type , or perhaps in the pursuit of ideal genetics that we might be pursuing something that is not really the ideal. We talked about the wisdom of Mike's concept of "average". Mark Hannan milks 5000 Jersey cows at Murcheson,TX. Mark stated that the dairy industry tracks production as well as inputs daily. When I asked about his priorities for his Jerseys he stated that he paid attention to structure (feet and legs) , udders , and size. Mark wanted 5000 Jerseys that were 925 lbs. When I pressed Mark about milk production he talked about his experience that cows producing more milk comsuming more feed and those milking less eating less. Mark was happy with average milk production and impriving milk production was not a priority.


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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:18 pm

Larry, glad as always to hear from you and read your thoughts. Had a chance last weekend to ride for some hours and talk about cows, breeding and such. A question came up that is challenging to me in practice. Can you find the time to develop thoughts into words on the difference of "culling" and "selection" as you move a group of animals toward a type?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Scott,
Optimum is what we all must find in a cow for our circumstances and market goals; for me, that`s a pretty average sort of Angus cow. My use of the word "average" is very un-American; not a good choice as an advertisement...what sells is Be all you can be etc...my "average type cows" may not be all they can be; but they are all they need to be to sustain profitability.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:34 pm

I was cutoff this morning in the middle of my post but my point was that our industry needs cattle that reliably function at a certain level of production. Larry's ideas whether writings or in person have challenged many of us to rethink our ideas on seedstock production. I would guess for most of us that have done this any amount of time, we are thankful that most of things we wanted to accomplish early on have not happened. If the lesser producing Jersey is more profitable is it not likely that lesser producing beef cattle are also more profitable. Mark Hannan's production goals may seem less ambitious than many operations but his greatest desire is to survive in a business where operations fail at a high rate. Thank you for your reflections Larry . I hope the beet harvest goes well.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:29 pm

Thank you for contributing to the re-education of some of us slow learners Mr. Leonhardt........I puzzled over your ponderings a good bit today, I am still confused.....I understand the concept of maternal and terminal lines, to a limited degree, the purity concept I guess is where my thought process gets derailed a bit. I understand the maternal cow bred to a terminal bull or breed to optimize commercial returns, but then we have the theory that the crossbred cow, gives greater returns, when bred to another breed, they tell us she lasts longer, breeds up better and such.

I guess my question, or point is, do we not create the same inconsistencies when using the three way cross, as using the divergent types so common in the registered sector? This is where I really get lost at, and start having second thoughts, someone of better cognitive reasoning needs to straighten me out.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:05 pm

Larry might be back to work; the beet harvest has been delayed by warm weather; after being lost last year from freezing in the ground.
Bootheel, I`ll make a quick stab at this...I don`t think Larry will agree to the common theory of crossbreeding as the best way to make a commercial cow; only as the best quick fix cow...don`t think he believes the best commercial cows will be linbred very much either; but could be line crossed Angus cows instead of crossbred cows. I say this, because we discussed it this summer again. I am always amused at the chilling effect Larry writings have on a thread or a subject; the ultimate respect I think...whereas when I post Very Happy ...some feel intimidated with Larry; you shouldn`t. Sometimes, I argue with him, just to be arguing...surprise; surprise Smile
I have never won; we had one argument{ fire and ice} turned my way once; I thought he had actually accepted my theory/proof; then he backed up on me Shocked I intend to bring it up again here when the time is right; I bought the calves today that will be that topic of discussion sometime soon.
Now a comment back to Bootheel`s question...why are registered breeders always "crossing"? don`t you think to create illusions of superior "performance"; "performance defined as more from one animal most always? How many breeders are committed to stabalized types? Aren`t most committed to adding more to a type; rather than making a useful type more often?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:32 pm

EddieM wrote:
Larry, glad as always to hear from you and read your thoughts. Had a chance last weekend to ride for some hours and talk about cows, breeding and such. A question came up that is challenging to me in practice. Can you find the time to develop thoughts into words on the difference of "culling" and "selection" as you move a group of animals toward a type?
hummmm..isn`t culling the result of poor selection? Can we, or nature for us, cull our way to profit? I don`t think so in commercial production at all; anything is possible in breeding herds dependent upon how high you can sell breeding stock...
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:46 pm

How many generations does it take to create stabilized types?

How much of culling is bad management? bad selection? bad luck?

There are 2 operations up here that seem to be doing quite well taking the worst of the worst cattle and feeding them out and selling as fats. Sick, blind, open... does not matter. They outpay the yards for these and are buying more land.

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:01 pm

Quote :
EddieM wrote:
Larry, glad as always to hear from you and read your thoughts. Had a chance last weekend to ride for some hours and talk about cows, breeding and such. A question came up that is challenging to me in practice. Can you find the time to develop thoughts into words on the difference of "culling" and "selection" as you move a group of animals toward a type?

hummmm..isn`t culling the result of poor selection? Can we, or nature for us, cull our way to profit? I don`t think so in commercial production at all; anything is possible in breeding herds dependent upon how high you can sell breeding stock...

Mike, you have held to the "can't cull our way to profit" as a steady quote. But I still think of the newest crop of calves as approximately 3 groups. There is the group that you'd rather not have for some reason. There are some that you are positive that you want to keep around to watch and potentially keep for use or sale. Then there is a group in the middle that you judge can go either way. So, I'm guessing that the bottom end gets gone in the least profitable way. The top group attracts you and the visitors. The middle group, in a situation like I'm guessing Larry has, might be great parent stock but show regression or have some unknown or environmental reason for lesser appeal at the point in time of sort.

I'm interested in Larry's and anybodys thoughts on reasons to cull (or maybe not cull?) in the less desirable group and reasons to select from the other two groups for in-herd use moreso that outside sales. I'm thinking in terms of a closed group and seeking the desired type, not a outside sire test.

And does anyone know what the Falloon cattle looked like 80 years ago (pictures) or the idea type that is desired in picture or description?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:35 pm

The reason to sell is the need for money to pay bills. Top of the list to cull our those with a disposition/handling problem followed by eye appeal/stuctural soundness and lastly how many do you need for replacements or to expand? Performance of half sibs will come into culling discissions this year on this operation. One cow had 2 daughters come up open this fall so future offspring will make nice heavy feeders to sell. What is your most beneficial market to sell into for your area? Lately in my area freezer beef is the most profitable followed by 7 to 8 weight feeders then breeding stock.

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:53 pm

Culling and Selection, to me are interchangable words or meaning, to a degree, depending on the goals of the breeder or the needs of the business. I made a poor attempt at expressing the challenges of expansion recently......if one is working with a limited capacity, your culling or selection standards will certainly vary. To me, a cull, is an animal that is unfit, or unable to continue to function in their designated role.......but when we are keeping or "culling": we are mainly dealing with preferences, or selection, then the prejudices or preference of the stockmen determine the "fitness" of the individual.


I view Mikes, culling your way to profit, as; The most profitable way, is not to have a continual abundance of animals that are unfit, for basic production, for the ideal useful life of the animal. If there is no need for expansion, one can continually push the envelope, sort and cull away, when expansion is desired or needed, the "culls" become rather problematic for increasing quantity, and maintaining acceptable salvage values of the culled product.

Now if the stockman is simply selecting, for personal preference, the culls as we call them, may still even have breeding value and should, if there is a continuity of standards, practical as they must be.........and in my view this is where the MATERNAL herd should have its advantage, in the marketplace......an abundance or oversupply of quality females, reducing replacement costs, bulls I think, are and should be in less demand, as the commercial stockmen should have a need for more terminal bulls than maternal.

The terminal supplier, I believe, will and should have, more culls, in the female category, his premium should be in his bulls, females will rarely be sold as replacements. This is the main reason I no longer care for the terminal side, as the competition is stiff, the money fake, and the atmosphere too much like the horse industry.

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:23 pm

cows...culling is getting rid of animals that are unacceptable...bad disposition, lack of reproduction/production
...selection is deciding which of the acceptable animals to keep or sell as breeding stock.

bulls are about selection.

If culling is minimal, selection is on track.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:10 pm

Culling bred 3 yr. olds for a premium=good business
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:31 pm

[quote="EddieM"]
Quote :
EddieM wrote:
Larry, glad as always to hear from you and read your thoughts. Had a chance last weekend to ride for some hours and talk about cows, breeding and such. A question came up that is challenging to me in practice. Can you find the time to develop thoughts into words on the difference of "culling" and "selection" as you move a group of animals toward a type?

hummmm..isn`t culling the result of poor selection? Can we, or nature for us, cull our way to profit? I don`t think so in commercial production at all; anything is possible in breeding herds dependent upon how high you can sell breeding stock...

Mike, you have held to the "can't cull our way to profit" as a steady quote. But I still think of the newest crop of calves as approximately 3 groups. There is the group that you'd rather not have for some reason. There are some that you are positive that you want to keep around to watch and potentially keep for use or sale. Then there is a group in the middle that you judge can go either way. So, I'm guessing that the bottom end gets gone in the least profitable way. The top group attracts you and the visitors. The middle group, in a situation like I'm guessing Larry has, might be great parent stock but show regression or have some unknown or environmental reason for lesser appeal at the point in time of sort.

I'm interested in Larry's and anybodys thoughts on reasons to cull (or maybe not cull?) in the less desirable group and reasons to select from the other two groups for in-herd use moreso that outside sales. I'm thinking in terms of a closed group and seeking the desired type, not a outside sire test.

And does anyone know what the Falloon cattle looked like 80 years ago (pictures) or the idea type that is desired in picture or description?[/quote]
I trust Mr. Falloon won`t mind me posting the answer to the above question of Eddie`s that I had already asked Mr. Falloon personally...

Mike

I did not reply to your query about changes in conformation. In spite of all the comments that we would breed something that looked like a camel or a bison nothing has happened at all except that the cattle have become more classical Angus, just thicker ,longer, more massive. I believe that this is a feature of their ability to cope with the vagaries of feed and climate.

I firmly believe that the type that is evolving is the only type that will appear if breeders want grass only beef. I have mention often that we have never dictated type ,to the programme, because our geneticists told me at the beginning he had no idea what type would appear, so we have let the environment decide.

Given the selection criteria of the Falloon program, I would think we should find these results quite expected...we`ll all pretty smart Rolling Eyes after the fact; but only men with courage start and stay the course from which we should all learn; and their findings should be our beginning points; instead of going back 40 years to repeat what they have accomplished...
more later from me to clarify "my groups" as defined by Eddie...let`s mull this first Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:15 pm

MKeeney wrote:
Larry might be back to work; the beet harvest has been delayed by warm weather; after being lost last year from freezing in the ground.
Bootheel, I`ll make a quick stab at this...I don`t think Larry will agree to the common theory of crossbreeding as the best way to make a commercial cow; only as the best quick fix cow...don`t think he believes the best commercial cows will be linbred very much either; but could be line crossed Angus cows instead of crossbred cows. I say this, because we discussed it this summer again. I am always amused at the chilling effect Larry writings have on a thread or a subject; the ultimate respect I think...whereas when I post Very Happy ...some feel intimidated with Larry; you shouldn`t. Sometimes, I argue with him, just to be arguing...surprise; surprise Smile
I have never won; we had one argument{ fire and ice} turned my way once; I thought he had actually accepted my theory/proof; then he backed up on me Shocked I intend to bring it up again here when the time is right; I bought the calves today that will be that topic of discussion sometime soon.
Now a comment back to Bootheel`s question...why are registered breeders always "crossing"? don`t you think to create illusions of superior "performance"; "performance defined as more from one animal most always? How many breeders are committed to stabalized types? Aren`t most committed to adding more to a type; rather than making a useful type more often?

Here I sit, as stumped as ever, thinking I have thought it out, and come to a decisive conclusion..... then I go check the cows, see the good and bad, the outliers, exceptions to the rule, the black widows, the sprinters, and marathon runners......oh the divergent types, and what direction to take them, and will they all "average out" in the end.

There is probably a best type here, or there, or yonder, several that seem to work. Oh how I can get proud of some of my work, progress, and disgusted at ill fated decisions. In order to get really humbled, I just walk thru the spring commercials, mainly descendants of a $300 Holstein cross, at a time when "good cows" were bringing $800, they have reproduced like rabbits, all with the too much milk, lack of fleshing, and such.
She had managed to make it to 15 or so, only because no one would ever buy her......we'll take 'em all but her......was the common theme. I guess the Good Lord does look after fools, as they say.

But I would call them the exception, the crossbreds are touted for longevity and fertility, heterosis ...we all know. But, without the consistent selection in the paretage for the "maternal traits" , I have seen little benefits from the crossbreds. What always really puzzles me, was how I could improve that common commercial cow, using the not so impressive home raised or owned bulls. My final eye opener, was, when I began the unthinkable, using the proven AI, cure all, bulls on the commercials also. With diminishing results from the ever compensating crossbred cow, was the proverbial straw on the camel's back. So here I am rambling away, with folks maybe less confused than I, but I have lots of X's, on the list of things not to do.

All of this to say, Mike, is the line crossing, really different than crossbreeding.......are the lines still somewhat closely related? If she cannot be a good commercial cow, do we still need her? Is the inbred really regressed, or just a sorry no-account? How do you KNOW? What value does ET really have in a maternal herd, is the breeder bringing up rest, or trying to make the best, better?


Last edited by Bootheel on Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chocolate cow



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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:35 pm

I quote Baxter Black:

"It occurred to me that every dog ever dumped at the end of my driveway was a composite."

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:38 pm

Is the inbred really regressed, or just a sorry no-account? How do you KNOW?

I asked the same confused question of Larry once, and he answered "Is the outcrossed cow good, or is it just heterosis?"
Best I can do for you right now Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:40 pm

chocolate cow wrote:
I quote Baxter Black:

"It occurred to me that every dog ever dumped at the end of my driveway was a composite."

Stay in that confrontational mode CC; for I will make a case for composites soon, and you and I can argue...I think you can count on LL to be on your side Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:03 pm

Smile Not trying to sound confrontational. I've always liked that quote. Markets today were an aggravation. Guess it's still got a hold of me.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:02 am

chocolate cow wrote:
Smile Not trying to sound confrontational. I've always liked that quote. Markets today were an aggravation. Guess it's still got a hold of me.
I know; I`m trying to prod you into being confrontational Smile volitile markets for sure Exclamation
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:54 am

Funny thing about those driveway composites is they usually were not bad dogs. Their personality made up for their below average phenotype! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:01 pm

cragar wrote:
Funny thing about those driveway composites is they usually were not bad dogs.

Perhaps thats because we never expected anything more out of them then to just be dogs.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:22 pm

On a more serious note on canine composites Very Happy , complementary crosses are not a bad thing, I had a McNabe by Border Collie, that was as good as they come. My dad also raised some Pointers X Blue Tick pups that were the government goat huntingist' machines ever created. scratch He kept the one, that retained the look of the Pointer, as it was a little more incognito. Cool

Now I would not breed a lab to heeler, so as to get a dog that would fetch the cows up.....maybe this can be applied in cattle breeding philosophy, you know a complementary cross, not divergent types to fill a need. As I entered into the goat business, I found a need for a guard animal, but also need one to gather stock, I guess I could cross the two, and 300 generations later, I might have one that could do both rather well, but I think the specialist route is far cheaper, easier, and they will be better at doing one thing.....rather than trying to get them to do ALL THINGS BEST.


Ya'll have a good day
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:32 pm

[Mike wrote;
hummmm..isn`t culling the result of poor selection? Can we, or nature for us, cull our way to profit? I don`t think so in commercial production at all; anything is possible in breeding herds dependent upon how high you can sell breeding stock...

I don't believe you can cull your way to profit. I've tried. I think one of the most misguided statements I've heard in this business is "great cow herds are culled, not bred". For years I believed my role as a seed stock producer was to push the envelope for performance, maintain my environment, then cull what couldn't handle that pressure and move forward with the rest. Problem was very few survived to move forward. Of the ones that did survive, every sire group was different. I was culling 25% of my cows every year for all kinds of problems and my replacements were not good enough to maintain enough numbers to keep my ranch stocked. Thats poor selection. The only reason I survived at all was I refused to change my environment. I kept watching the good commercial producers. If they weren't changing their operations to fit their cows, than I refused to change mine. That kept me out of a huge wreck.

I believe all types of cattle whether it be breeds or lines are sustainable if your are willing to manipulate their environment. No matter what the problem, conventional wisdom says it can be cured with either more feed, more mineral, or more vaccine . Thats why most seedstock producers dry cows out weigh most commercial producers cull bulls in the sale reports.
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