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MKeeney
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PostSubject: "Sometimes things aren't exactly the way we see them"   Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:14 pm

from LL

"Sometimes things aren't exactly the way we see them"


Eddie quote

Larry, how do we know when genes are turned on and turned off.....Is there a telling sign of genes off vs. other genetic things going on in an individual?

Yes Eddie, there are some telltale signs but only in a situation of closed breeding when you have an intimate familiarity with the stock. In a randomized outcross population I have no idea how you would ever distinguish the difference between detrimental and turned off genes....as always, intimate familiarity of the ancestry is very important.

My first encounter with this confounding selection issue began in 1971 with some sire/dau matings (from the first Wye bull we bought) which produced heifers who weighed about 600# when my other heifers weighed 900#. Being of a performance oriented mindset at that time, I quickly learned why people avoid inbreeding. That same bull's outcross progeny in my mixed up herd were completely on the other end of the spectrum....his first progeny were like a miracle so I was going to intensify it. Of course that "intensification" was halted damn quick.

Those inferior inbred heifers did, however, produce progeny that equaled my other heifers except that their progeny were exceptionally uniform compared to the rest. But in my genetic ignorance, I did not sell their male progeny as bulls because I thought, "My God, if they breed cattle that "look" like their mothers, it would surely be a disaster".

Just as many cannot accept the look of Hilly's bull today, I did not like the look of the Wye bulls back then either, unaccustomed to the lack of "squareness" or whatever that was the most acceptable ideal during my era of growing up. Old habits are slow to die, we only bought a Wye bull because we spent 3 days there looking thru a cow herd that was second to none in the entire USA.during the late 60's, also acclaimed as such by Dr. Bonsma.

Eddie, you have an inquisitive mind like me. Many things happened over the next 10 years to cause me great consternation along with all my "success". One of many examples was Career of Wye, I thought rather a pathetic looking bull, yet he sired many notable bulls for Wye, one of which was Lodge who sold for $250,000.00. Our first Wye bull just happened to be out of a Career dau and those first inbreds were just as pathetic as Career, yet our first generation "Wye" daus were good ; alot like the Career daughter who earned her way into Wye's elite point field. Please do not confuse what I am not saying here that we should select pathetic looking bulls. I also learned alot during those years when we also had to oversee those sire/dau matings on 35 daus to test some of our bulls for those genetic defects monitored by the Assn.

The accumulative observations I made over those years stimulated the initiation of my planned experimental project in the very late 70's, the birth of my Tru Line thinking. Intensive inbreeding was initially used to identify any conformational strengths and weaknesses. I quickly learned the difference between breeding cattle for improvement and multiplying cattle by mating everyones bulls to everyones daughters.

At that time as I looked forward, it seemed to be a very long, time consuming road to travel, today as I look back, the time zoomed by. I am planning to present many examples without any embellishment whatsoever for educational purposes under the topic of "reflections" that will hopefully be of some assistance to anyone as we enter a new era of beef production.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:10 pm

Quote :
Just as many cannot accept the look of Hilly's bull today, I did not like the look of the Wye bulls back then either, unaccustomed to the lack of "squareness" or whatever that was the most acceptable ideal during my era of growing up.

I know that we are not discussing type as we discuss genes turned off so this question probably has no validity. When I see Hilly's bull, the closest thing that I can think that comes close is a Wagyu. Could the Wagyu breed be an entire population with their genes turned off in every generation? It would go along with what little I know about the growth rates, conformation, etc?

Quote :
Old habits are slow to die, we only bought a Wye bull because we spent 3 days there looking thru a cow herd that was second to none in the entire USA.during the late 60's, also acclaimed as such by Dr. Bonsma.

Eddie, you have an inquisitive mind like me. Many things happened over the next 10 years to cause me great consternation along with all my "success". One of many examples was Career of Wye, I thought rather a pathetic looking bull, yet he sired many notable bulls for Wye, one of which was Lodge who sold for $250,000.00. Our first Wye bull just happened to be out of a Career dau and those first inbreds were just as pathetic as Career, yet our first generation "Wye" daus were good ; alot like the Career daughter who earned her way into Wye's elite point field. Please do not confuse what I am not saying here that we should select pathetic looking bulls. I also learned alot during those years when we also had to oversee those sire/dau matings on 35 daus to test some of our bulls for those genetic defects monitored by the Assn.

This is more of a history question than a genetics question. Mr. Lingle had the growth line that may have "peaked" with Conan. Were the Career, Lodge, Churchill daughters pleasing to Dr. Bonsma and the growth line females unsatisfactory or am I jumping decades and breeding lines? Was Mr. Lingle plowing ahead with his breeding program in spite of the looks of bulls like Career from blind faith or from an understanding of ancestory and genetics? I probably know too little to ask a good Wye question?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:57 am

Wagyu closest to Hilly`s bull? too extreme a comparison...we are looking at one picture of one bull one day in his life...and having the usual problem of looking at the egg and can`t see the eagle...
Larry searched for this bull for two hours to show me as a long yearling; and when I saw him, I thought why have we wasted time looking for him?
I ran across this bull below three years later and asked Larry where he had hid him from me...only to be told it was the same bull he had taken great effort to be sure I saw...
All of this is why I don`t run around the countryside looking at cattle anymore...a one day visit tells me little; only by experiencing the cattle over time do you learn their pluses and minuses, and their unique characteristics...all stuff not taught by livestock judging team coaches where most everything evaluated is dimensional...right Norcal? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:16 am

Quote :
Wagyu closest to Hilly`s bull? too extreme a comparison...we are looking at one picture of one bull one day in his life...and having the usual problem of looking at the egg and can`t see the eagle...

My thinking out loud can be dangerous and usually leads to correction. But it is my feeble way of learning. Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:11 am

the words that keep rumbling through my mind at feeding time this morning come from Dennis Voss...
I don't know what you thought when you were here for the visit because we never did get up to see the final product on the butte
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:01 pm

What a bull. To think you turned your nose at him at a long yearling makes me scratch my head again. scratch That bull shows incredible masculinity IMO. Registration or not, who cares. I would LOVE to have a bull like that running my place. Does Larry need a hired hand who will work for peanuts? That job would be worth more to me than any I beleive. I have run broke with my way. This forum has time and again showed me I have so much to learn. Keep the pics coming Mike, I love em.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:06 pm

So this is what Hilly's bull will look like is a couple years?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:48 pm

dwight@steadfastbeef.com wrote:
So this is what Hilly's bull will look like is a couple years?
a good chance; some time and one other factor...
A blind man stood closely by listening to cowboy`s brag about one of their buddies recent stud horse acquistion...one bragged about his stifle muscle; another the horses`s depth and width of chest; another the strength of jaw and masculinity, another the sleekness and shine of his coat; and on and on until there was finally a pause...and the blind man stepped forward and said, "I bet he`s fat"...
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:27 pm

I kept help but wonder Mike did LL tell you anything about that bull when LL showed him to you as a yearling or was he just a bull with 50 cows and no other info provided? What is more valuable about that bull? his phenotype in that picture or how he has been selected and bred for over the past 30 years?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:53 pm

Maybe I have re-read through the late breaking news here enough, since my absence, to once again return to being an uneducated nuisance, in the never ending journey of higher learning.

Thank you, Mr. Leonhardt, for clarifying the 20 percent more production scenario, but leads to my next pondering from my opaque view of genetics.....Is the 20 percent, just in more growth in the calves when outcrossed, or are you also trying or breeding for an equal increase in effective life span, or longevity, of the parentstock?

I would also like to know, the standards or qualities, to qualify an animal to be classified as maternal stock, in your system......and the reciprocal of the maternal, paternal, as it is now called, and their ensueing qualities, to harness hybrid vigour, and optimize production. I apologize if these topics are covered in your publication, as I have not had access to it, but would readily consume the propoganda, when available.


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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:02 am

Mark Day wrote:
I kept help but wonder Mike did LL tell you anything about that bull when LL showed him to you as a yearling or was he just a bull with 50 cows and no other info provided? What is more valuable about that bull? his phenotype in that picture or how he has been selected and bred for over the past 30 years?
I was so unimpressed that I didn`t pay much attention, but I do remember that Larry was stressing his maternal ancestry{as always} and also his individuality. To me, he was just another Shoshone bull...and now that I think about the outcome of progeny etc, that was a correct assessment...the bull was nothing special, just another bull along the way of the 280 or so bulls Larry has used in this steady progression of first learning about, and then building consistency...but mind you, he was not shown to me as a miracle, just as an example of the breeding direction...I`m sure I was still in a miracle bull mindset at that stage of my thinking...perhaps that should be more properly phrased as non-thinking...but the immediate point is, form changes over time with maturity and feed.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:31 pm

Mark Day wrote:
I kept help but wonder Mike did LL tell you anything about that bull when LL showed him to you as a yearling or was he just a bull with 50 cows and no other info provided? What is more valuable about that bull? his phenotype in that picture or how he has been selected and bred for over the past 30 years?
Mark,
would you use a son of the above pictured bull out of this 10 year old Shoshone cow without ever seeing him first ?
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:17 am

Quote :
Mark,
would you use a son of the above pictured bull out of this 10 year old Shoshone cow without ever seeing him first



I can guarantee you I have done stupider things in my career and I doubt I have done anything less risky...but that has to be one of the lesser quality pictures you have ever posted. Would you use him?


Last edited by Mark Day on Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:23 am

Mark Day wrote:
Quote :
Mark,
would you use a son of the above pictured bull out of this 10 year old Shoshone cow without ever seeing him first



I can guarantee you I have done stupider things in my career and I doubt I have done anything less risky...but that has to be one of the worst quality pictures you have ever posted.
the sun is not always at your back when the cow is at your front...as long as the quality of the cow suits; don`t sweat the pic...the afore mentioned sire/dam combination is what I have in mind for you to breed to this fall; the bull has been hid out here a long time waiting for him to get pretty so those who evaluate breeding bulls based on steer/terminal shape and dimension might like him...
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:59 pm

Jack McNamee wrote:

Larry wrote:
For instance, If I had a group of cows that produced 100, and mating them back to their own kind, producing 100, I could mate them to certain kinds and those same cows would produce 120 rather than a range of 80 to 120.. That in itself is nothing earth shattering, the simple choice is do we ever want to reduce the distributions, another way to say the word consistency.


Larry I'm a little confused. What is the difference between sabilizing a type and consistency?
Jack, I`ve read the partial answer a couple of times; but that, and other questions/answers are being readied...more soon Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:58 pm

Quote :
Larry searched for this bull for two hours to show me as a long yearling; and when I saw him, I thought why have we wasted time looking for him?
I ran across this bull below three years later and asked Larry where he had hid him from me...only to be told it was the same bull he had taken great effort to be sure I saw...

Are the bulls with "genes off" more masculine in later years than contemporaries that are "genes on"? And for my endless thoughts, are the genes off or delayed? And if you had to describe what is "off" in the male, would it only be rate of maturity?

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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:27 pm

In the Shoshone/Keeney experience have there been bulls with this "less masculine, slower developing" type that remained that way all their lives but still produced the expected type of female? What I'm asking is have you ever had some that remained plainer looking all their lives and still passed on their ancestors type? Wouldn't we expect that if we are breeding for genotype not phenotype?
Stupid question maybe and I hate using the terms masculine, later maturing and plainer in conjunction with your cattle.
I really liked Larry's point about a dairy farmer not caring what the bull looks like - never thought of it in that context before but it certainly makes sense. A bull in a maternal program should not need to look like a finished steer to gain acceptance yet that is the industry standard.
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:05 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
In the Shoshone/Keeney experience have there been bulls with this "less masculine, slower developing" type that remained that way all their lives but still produced the expected type of female? What I'm asking is have you ever had some that remained plainer looking all their lives and still passed on their ancestors type? Wouldn't we expect that if we are breeding for genotype not phenotype?
Stupid question maybe and I hate using the terms masculine, later maturing and plainer in conjunction with your cattle.
I really liked Larry's point about a dairy farmer not caring what the bull looks like - never thought of it in that context before but it certainly makes sense. A bull in a maternal program should not need to look like a finished steer to gain acceptance yet that is the industry standard.
the bull I`m offering Mark to use from the above combination has remained somewhat plain all his life; and a reason for limited use...so few females to evaluate; and a reason to let Mark test him...I mean, afterall, a guy like Mark who AI`S cows to someone elses bull is about the ultimate risk taker when it comes to building a cowherd, isn`t he? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:11 pm

Quote :
a guy like Mark who AI`S cows to someone elses bull is about the ultimate risk taker when it comes to building a cowherd, isn`t he

Like I said -
I can guarantee you I have done stupider things in my career and I doubt I have done anything less risky...and I think that is the exact answer you wanted but I only realized it after I typed it. I must say though that it has been several years since I AI'd (probably 6 years now and the bulls I used then roamed the suburbs of Nancy at some point in time) and while I have bought semen since then that bull is a member of the dead bull's club that has sold for enormous amounts of money and the certificates are even higher so I figure he will stay in the tank and I will do what I did with my first purchase from you (the 021 bull) and what I have seen most of your customers do over the years at your sale - purchase bulls sight unseen. Only this year I will be bringing 2 bulls back for my use sight unseen and likely dropping a 3rd bull off at Charlie Boyd's neighbor's house that was also a sight unseen purchase. I know I will have to keep some daughters out of this bull to see what they do. I was really hoping I would not want to keep any of the heifer calves from next year's crop but I just might have to now because these might be a lot a lot of fun to own . Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:17 pm

Mark Day wrote:
Quote :
a guy like Mark who AI`S cows to someone elses bull is about the ultimate risk taker when it comes to building a cowherd, isn`t he

Like I said -
I can guarantee you I have done stupider things in my career and I doubt I have done anything less risky...and I think that is the exact answer you wanted but I only realized it after I typed it. I must say though that it has been several years since I AI'd (probably 6 years now and the bulls I used then roamed the suburbs of Nancy at some point in time) and while I have bought semen since then that bull is a member of the dead bull's club that has sold for enormous amounts of money and the certificates are even higher so I figure he will stay in the tank and I will do what I did with my first purchase from you (the 021 bull) and what I have seen most of your customers do over the years at your sale - purchase bulls sight unseen. Only this year I will be bringing 2 bulls back for my use sight unseen and likely dropping a 3rd bull off at Charlie Boyd's neighbor's house that was also a sight unseen purchase. I know I will have to keep some daughters out of this bull to see what they do. I was really hoping I would not want to keep any of the heifer calves from next year's crop but I just might have to now because these might be a lot a lot of fun to own . Smile
spoiled my devious plans again by talking too much about an ole sorry, late maturing bull Exclamation Exclamation Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:49 pm

MKeeney wrote:
Jack McNamee wrote:

Larry wrote:
For instance, If I had a group of cows that produced 100, and mating them back to their own kind, producing 100, I could mate them to certain kinds and those same cows would produce 120 rather than a range of 80 to 120.. That in itself is nothing earth shattering, the simple choice is do we ever want to reduce the distributions, another way to say the word consistency.


Larry I'm a little confused. What is the difference between sabilizing a type and consistency?

Jack, I`ve read the partial answer a couple of times; but that, and other questions/answers are being readied...more soon Smile

Thanks Mike. Maybe a better way to ask my question is, how do I stabilize my type without reducing the distributions?


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PostSubject: IF TIME STOOD STILL by LL   Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:28 pm


IF TIME STOOD STILL,
HAPPINESS IS


ignoring all that happened behind us...without knowing the hidden that lies ahead

I ended my last post saying " I am planning to present many examples without any embellishment whatsoever for educational purposes under the topic of "reflections" that will hopefully be of some assistance to anyone as we enter a new era of beef production". But, first things first : )

.Eddie wrote- My thinking out loud can be dangerous and usually leads to correction. But it is my feeble way of learning.

Eddie, I know that so well. You will take comfort in hearing that I once asked an old long time customer of mine in Roundup, Mt (who had raised & sold a calf crop using Wagyu bulls on 500 Angus heifers) what the Wagyu bulls looked like .... He said, "damn sorry Angus bulls" : ) I enjoy using the term "the look" rather than phenotype, they're both subjective .

Jack McNamee wrote-Larry I'm a little confused. What is the difference between stabilizing a type and consistency?
All of the below Smile

Bootheel wrote- ...... to once again return to being an uneducated nuisance, in the never ending journey of higher learning....leads to my next pondering from my opaque view of genetics....are you also trying or breeding for an equal increase in effective life span, or longevity, of the parentstock

Yes. .....

I have not had access to it, but would readily consume the propaganda, when available.
Propaganda ?...
...The initial purpose for the formation of Tru Line was to market a free concept, the same as I am doing here, and in 30 years I have one member....well, almost : )
.
Mark - I can't help but wonder......Mike replied -.........the bull was nothing special, just another bull along the way of the 280 or so bulls Larry has used in this steady progression of first learning about, and then building consistency..

As always, intimate familiarity of the ancestry is very important

Kit has his PCC, Leachman has his LCC and when Mike started this web site, he now has his KCC = Keeney's Corner of Comments. Or the CC's might stand for Keeney's Corners of Criticism, or Concerns, or Contentment, or Comfort, or Corraling Crap. The ASA's = Ambitious Self Achievers, have the AAA with their 4C's =- Charades of Crossing Composite Cattle and calling them purebreds. I and Mike 4C his ABC's =- Always Better Cattle and my XYZ's = Xtra Yield at Z end, as a way to improve singular genetic order from A to Z ,,,,, but.a rose by any other name is still a rose which ever way we do it. Don't we all like to present a rosy scenario while avoiding the hidden thorns in the bush Smile .

The preceding paragraph is to demonstrate one way to say something nonsensical that causes us to stop and reflect about what was just read rather than just skimming through it....or we can just choose to ignore the hidden messages and go on. Whenever I read scientific research projects, I tend to skim thru all the interim complex details and skip to the conclusion described in the ending summary. But when we are doing a project ourselves, the details become the core of interest

Note the words in the above poster's quotes highlighted in red. They relate to why I would prefer the topic "reflections" to be a primary branch of KCC - Keeney's Cattle College, to be of one of many branches to help earn a PhD - Practical Doctorate, in a new version, yet old philosophical approach to breed parent stock as the roots of beef production, to produce the fruit. I liken this simple concept to the process of producing seedless watermelons, grapes or oranges....steers or spayed heifers : ) There is always a reason behind any basic philosophy and a prerequisite here is a genuine interest in the subject. .

Most of us want simple answers to singular questions like those in the above posts. So do I, but they are often interrelated with too many other factors to provide definitive answers. Many years ago I recognized that I desperately needed therapy to resolve my discontent and wanted answers. Psychiatrists take us back into our lives to find the origin of our problems by self-recognition in order to begin the long and often difficult road to recovery. In a similar manner, I went back in time in order to help me resolve my addictive efforts to reach a state of contentment with why I do what I do. .

From those answers, I simply believe what I am doing is the right thing to do for those I choose to serve and that in itself provides me contentment, a sense of personal fulfillment. I have learned that everything else, the money, the marketing or whatever will take care of itself only if what we are doing is the RIGHT thing to do as determined by customer satisfaction. IMHO, the simple basic problem is that regardless of our different directions, we breed cattle for marketing.advantages rather than improvement when we could do both.

Apparently most everyone is happy and content in their oblivious state of mind just casually walking along day by day not too worried about what lies ahead or just taking pills to relieve the pain of our ills of yesterday rather than seeking a cure for a better tomorrow. To keep whatever I say or do in perspective, this is all really no big deal, it just boils down to choices of whether to keep moving with the flows wherever the money goes, or not. There seems to be a great lack of creative thinking in the beef business. Like zombies, we're stuck in a traditional rut, and this is the nature of the beast.
In this relatively vacant therapeutic room, I'm reminded of the Cinderella story when the clock strikes midnight and a new day begins, equating the fairy godmother to our mother nature .....will there be pandemonium among people seeking therapeutic treatment to cure whatever ails us. Well, so much for my prelude on a philosophy of life to put things in perspective....our cattle are a reflection of the one who owns them.

If we want to improve genetic order, first the mindset must be redirected towards producing the seedless fruit. I am trying to also put some order in my posts as well so they will make sense step by step. This is difficult for me since the tendency is to get ahead of ourselves as we each reflect back to associate some topics with how it would affect our own cattle and the direction we have been going.

Jack, by my delay you may think I have ignored your simple question but your question addresses the heart and souI that stabilization is the road to improving consistency for every segment without the expense of another.. Very few are addicted to that direction like I am. Seeking a cure for my addiction, I want to go into the boring details of needing you to listen to my problems as I talk about why I got much more than just a "little confused" along the way...... Most of my confusement involves selection so bear in mind this part is indeed therapy as much for me as anyone else. .

Trying to untangle the webs we weave when at first we try to deceive, I had to go back in time before I learned that the single primary purpose of a purebred is to increase consistency and most importantly REPEATABILITY while trying to refine a functional type. I once thought maybe we no longer need "purebreds", so when the formation of the EPD system was being developed, I asked a couple of the notable, directly involved geneticists if there was a future for purebreds in beef production ...... might pedigrees merely be used as tracking devices for numbering traits. . Of course, science marches on and they have little actual familiarity with what is all that is required in the whole of the species as each value is being measured singularly. Science breaks the mechanics of it down but we have to put it all together again.

Based on my previous experience with trait interrelationships and consequential frustrations, I became acutely aware of what would happen based on the track record of human behavior in this business. So, I began to prepare for the inevitable.. I published my Tru Line booklet in 1983 .....an unsuccessful attempt to offer a cure for what surely would transpire in the future. I did not find one cooperator, not one, but I did find one supporter and that was Mr. K. A. Clark. He was an old an experienced linebreeder, an avid believer in the importance of pedigree and functional purity....the 5 yr old story.of our acquaintance is interesting but not pertinent here.

So as I proceeded, the difficulty during this lengthy search for a worthwhile type was to find one that wouldn't go out of style, and.most important, was that the type could be both genetically SUSTAINABLE and ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE in its' role for commercial beef production. My over ambitions logistically overwhelmed me with trying to breed too many distinct types at the same time.
Then, I got very confused during the pursuit of higher percentages of functional purity. I got even more confused from not knowing the difference between progress and more lasting improvement. I was unhappy since I had been brainwashed like we all are into accepting the mentality that standing still is not progress. These resulting perpetual disappointments led to constantly changing my direction towards a different seemingly more comprehensive ideal type. I was torn between following this path to progress while trying to please everyone else. These are prolonged, sometimes agonizing stories, I often thought "why do I do this, why do I even care".

I was no different than most anyone else, we do forget what happened behind us and seldom know what's hidden that lies ahead. But slowly as I learned, I did become happier when I could accept that refining is improvement for more enduring progress .... as opposed to the perpetuity of constantly changing what we had before into something different calling that progress....I look back now and call it the progressive stages of learning. Perhaps the biggest hurdle we all have to overcome is our mindset that true purebreds must have the "look" we all want for everything.

Speaking of some of the things that happened behind us pertaining to stabilizing types and consistency, I have articles written in 1968 - "Breeds Aren't Breeds Anymore"; in 1986 - "Too Many Breeds, Not Enough Predictability"; in 1987 - "Maintenance Requirements Biggest Obstacle to Overcome in improving Efficiency of Beef Cattle Production; in 1987 - "There is No Such Thing as a Pure Breed Today, Those Days are Long Gone; in 1994 - "Don't Do Hybrids Until You Can Do It Right, Bigger isn't Better Anymore"; in 1995 - "Testing the Limits of Selection", a 24 yr ongoing experiment" and hundreds more that when they are all summed up, there is lots of talk and action but too little reaction to reach simple enduring solutions.

For example, I enjoyed Mike's "stick man" ad a few years ago wherein he described his dilemma....the stick man being the only one at some positional centerpoint to establish a type and everyone else is going in all different directions all around him getting financially fat and sassy in the pursuit of different and presumably better types.....being skinny from eating crumbs, and lonely the stick man shouts "where did everyone go". We hear lots of talk about "consistency" but I honestly cannot see how we can collectively either sustain or increase variation and address consistency at the same time in one type....what is, is.

I am not a geneticist who can explain the how's and whyfores of "things" that genetically happens, I just need to know what the reactions are from our actions to better know what lies ahead. I recently received an email from Mr. Gavin Falloon, a man with utmost character and integrity, with an intensive interest in studying genetics, and who has spent a lifetime of experience breeding cattle by following the basic genetic principles.
He said:

I follow with much interest your effort to set up a new outlook for cattle breeding. I have of course been through that with a singular lack of success. For I think that it was 40 years ago that Dr. Keith Gregory and I toured New Zealand trying to change the direction of animal breeding. Not one person either understood what we were talking about, let alone thought to try the principles. Not one ! The only way is to demonstrate. We have made more progress in beginning to get them thinking. In the last herd walk they commented to William "it is bl...dy well working, do not stop now". And we are beginning to sell Stud bulls to the industry ....... I am still learning.

After 40 years. We both agree that we would do it all over again, it has cost us alot in all ways, but it has been a fascinating trip and any monetary rewards are insignificant in comparison. It also took Wye 40 years (38 - 78) to reach the peak of its popularity in 1978 when the herd was donated to UMF for research. On the other hand, I did begin by riding on the coat tails of Wye genetics, selling popular stud bulls to the registered industry. And as you know, I have reverted to the point that I don't sell registered stud bulls to that industry after 40 years (65 - 05), not one!

Mike says he began getting smarter from his college and subsequent days with great ambitions to go from raising commercial cattle into the registered world and that after 27 years he has "nearly but not completely" reverted back to my position : ). And Jack, our mutual friend Dennis Voss, raised on a commercial ranch, started his own about 25 years ago and ......well, I'll let him tell his own story word for word::

"I don't know what you thought when you were here for the visit because we never did get up to see the final product on the butte. Everything is based on price per pound for me. If I raise my own bulls, I'm clearly saving a lot of cash outlay. I'm still stocking my commercial herd with $15,000 to $20,000 bulls, they're just raised by me - a lot cheaper now.
The half blood Falloon bull eventually will provide outcross to my commercial cattle, which I am planning on doing fairly regularly by flushing non-Shoshone cows to provide additional outcross. These cows have earned their way here and stand second to none. With respect to my breeding approach, I'm probably more like old Falloon. But genetically, I have the best of both. If you imagine the analogy of using snowballs, some of my Shoshone bred cattle are tight, well packed, hard hitting and really sting when they hit you. Some are clearly packed, but not as hard. Some are loosely packed, don't hurt at all, all the way out to loosely rolled wet snow. I use this analogy because it's my way of understanding genetics.
An ugly little Shoshone bull with 4 functioning feet, a stick, 2 nuts and a nose, that's packed tight genetically accomplishes a great deal round here. But most of its value for me is in creating females. The Falloon bull strengthens the feet, looks like he adds muscle and fulfills my need for outcross. If I discover something about him that I no longer wish to pursue, no harm done because I sell them by the pound and I have enough fundamental maternal based cattle devoid of his influence to plod on that way.
Some of the longhorn cross heifers will be kept for cows to provide herd markers and rangeability influence to my straight Angus cows. The only thing that could be replacing the longhorn influence on the heifers would be Waygu bulls, which I am looking into. These would all be terminal cross and sold by the pound.
The reason I am so into the sale of cattle by the pound, is because it does a number of things for me. I no longer have to be a grand marketeer, I no longer have to be on the phone day and night to sell or exchange ideas with other purebred breeders and my life is much less complicated. To tell you the truth Larry, I got tired of trying to convince some guys that the mother cow can make you more money than all the terminal crap in the world. I got tired of being a teacher because I got tired of teaching years ago and didn't come to ranching to teach.
Therefore I think what I have best to offer tru line is this: my story which is always available, and of course something genetically that Larry would determine he needed on his end. Otherwise for me, it's all Larry's deal. So somewhere in the future you come up here and say, "Dennis we need some of that and some of that.", I'll be glad to provide it for you with the same generousity that Larry has shown me over the years.
I want more than anything to see Larry's full spectrum of accomplishments to be achieved. He has been the most important influence in my cattle breeding history. He's been a friend as well as a paternal influence. Paternally speaking, he's the kind of Dad I wish every kid could have, because for me he has let me fail and also let me succeed. The patience involved in this process bestows a lot of learning capacity on the student or the son.
Raising cattle for me is a life fulfilling dream. Raising cattle that I have had a hand in genetically makes it even better. Paying the bills with these cattle by the pound really is the frosting.
Later, Dennis

HBR is but one of several examples of my lasting rewards, the kind I will never cease from wanting more of. We all may have our own different reasons for our own directions but the commonality here is down to earth reality rather than hyperbole. The central theme behind Tru Line is exactly what the name implies. I have no axes to grind, I simply have chosen to continue refining my purebreds for direct use by the commercial industry hopefully in order to offer them more predictability as well as any benefits they might gain from any heterosis therefrom. Lord knows, they are not perfect nor for everyone. It is unimportant as to how far any of us get, it is only the continuation of the constant direction that counts.

I cannot emphasize enough that the extremely important point I want to make here is that truer purebreds do offer the commercial producers better choices with more reliabilty for their success in their production systems. This is simply called customer satisfaction for genuine value exchange. It is such a simple choice, do we offer them the more reliable parts or will we keep offering them the expanding variation of the whole to dream the genetically impossible dream .

It is not necessarily a difficult task but a very time consuming one to establish some genetic order and I do not want that order to be disrupted by registered breeders who may or may not capitalize on any outcrossed benefits at the expense of the commercial producers.... which of course is beyond my control....the one I chose to serve. We all know what the registered industry is all about.
And a distant secondary reason is I do resent the monopolistic mandatory rules and regulations controlling the technical advances by tying everything to a registration number by a society who's leading proponents practice hypocritical methodology little different from crossbreeding ..... but that is my competitive marketing problem, not theirs. There is absolutely no justified reason anyone cannot keep their own pedigress and records which are obviously needed for familiarity to improve the direction of THEIR OWN breeding program. This can be called simple self-responsibility.

To the contrary when breeding to increase marketing values, we all know there are lots of monetary reasons to maintain public pedigrees in order to inflate the market value of their cattle in their direction ... so often based on the individual popularity and singular performance values of each individual in a pedigree.... derived from the different multi-combinations therein for authenticity to show how much different they are from all the rest.....ON AVERAGE.. Just like reading this last sentence, this can be called making the simple complicated. I often wonder when we will ever tire of the futility of searching the world for rare superior individuals that have nothing to do with actually improving the economics of beef production.....in fact it is contrary to that fundamental purpose.

In Gavin's closed herd, he has told me he uses his own pedigrees for his own reasons to further his direction which is not for me to discuss here, he has his own web page for that. And for those who may not be familiar with his also publicly recorded pedigrees, each individual therein consists of his Pinebank name and a number along with the year of birth, i.e. 41/97. I have not seen a public pedigree filled with all the EBV data of each individual listed therein, only the data of those Stud bulls that go out in the industry when they are evaluated with other cattle. Gavin is thoroughly familiar with the vast randomization of genes and genetic principles to put much stock in trying to evaluate each value in each and every individual. Its called population genetics.

Now I wish someone out there could tell me what in the sam hell they can tell from looking at a Pinebank pedigree and which animals in that pedigree attributed just what to the new star of the day. The first thing registered breeders look for of the few Waigroup Stud bulls available is which in the hell is the best one when in fact the variability in your own cow herds will contribute to half of what they produce.

So you might wonder why do I keep talking about Gavin. He is my example for demonstration. A couple of years ago on 5barx he originated a topic "closed herds" and said I fear I may open a can of worms. He sure did and without ever adding any further comments just sat back and watched as the tangled worms tried to free themselves from each other each going their separate ways while remaining bonded to.each other within the can bearing the same old AAA label of habitual traditional values of self-preservation.

Naturally I was interested in this topic and I was confused by Gavin's absence from any further participation. Fate provided me with a way to come to know and understand him. I quickly understood his primary reason was to stimulate people to think.... heaven forbid, never to tell anyone what to they ought to breed. So here we are today, still looking for answers tied to tradition, which I call the inability to wean ourselves. Life is tougher when we have to go out and fend for ourselves but it can be as Dennis said, more fulfilling.....the frosting.

I am not going to worry about being "political correct" , diplomatic or indirect on these issues. Stopping here to review what I said, it sounds like I am a "Dad" lecturing his kids. No, I am sharing the real life history of my background and this is laying the groundwork to provide clearer understanding. There are too many misunderstandings of either the Tru Line or my own objective. If I cannot change any mindsets, anything else I have to say would be an irrelevant and a waste of your time.

When you have time to give the foregoing some serious thought, as Gavin says the only way is to demonstrate. I will begin this demonstration process with real life details with my next post. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow. We all have to start somewhere or some day so why delay. Thank you all for allowing me to speak my piece in this therapeutical session.....it has done me good.....now it's your turn Smile


Last edited by MKeeney on Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:48 pm

I like KCC = Keeneys Corner of Contrarianism !! Wink Razz Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:25 am

Oldtimer wrote:
I like KCC = Keeneys Corner of Contrarianism !! Wink Razz Laughing
actually malcontent is now the proper word...contrary people grumble, but grudingly go along with the traditional system...
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PostSubject: Re: Reflections from LL ©   Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:59 am

Since their are several companies providing Genomic profiles, 1 not aligned with the AAA, would you consider sampling some of your cattle for your own personal use and interest?

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