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LCP



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PostSubject: Questions from a commercial producer   Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:48 pm

I have not read all 73 pages of Reflections from LL, which I told myself I needed to do before asking questions, but I just can't wait any longer. I think I have the general idea (I'm on pg 14) but have a few questions about how I as a commercial cow/calf producer uses these types/strains properly. I figured there might be others who don't have the endurance to read 1092 posts before asking questions too.

1) I raise my own replacement heifers. So I want to bring in prepotent maternal-type bulls to use on cows I want to get replacements out of. Hypothetically, for 10 years I buy bulls from Breeder A that has linebred for maternal traits for many years. In the meantime, I'm raising my own bulls sired by Breeder A's bulls. In effect, I'm linebreeding my own herd using Breeder A's genetics. At some point would it be advisable to switch to Breeder B, who has the same level of maternal prepotency in his closed, linebred herd, in order to gain some heterosis? Or is there none to be had? Is heterosis only realized when crossing to a different type? In a nutshell, how to I create the best maternal cow to maximize heterosis when bred to a terminal/paternal sire?

2) Which traits are best carried by the different types? There are some obvious ones - growth, frame, REA by the terminal sire, but what about marbling and backfat? I am willing to admit that I don't understand all the antagonisms between these traits. A cliff notes version of these interactions would be great.

3) What do I do with the steers resulting from the maternal matings? Have any of you finished these cattle, in a feedlot or on grass? If I wanted to feed them in a lot, what differences should I expect vs what I'm doing now - straight Angus breeding, middle-of-the-mainstream genetics - no Upwards, no Jipsey Earl, but average performance with above average carcass (I know what a curly calf looks like as a result). If I sold them into a grass finishing market, how would that price compare with conventional grain-fed markets?

Questions 1 and 3 are somewhat related also, because I can see that if I linebred my own herd just to get excellent maternal females, I would also have an equal number of steers that would be some poor quality "fruit"...or would I? Maybe it depends on the market I sell into?

4) I might get in trouble with this one, but I'm here to learn. Is there anything I ought to be measuring when selecting my replacement heifers? I don't take weights of any kind right now. I score udders and take note of the mean ones and those with bad feet - I don't keep replacements out of them. Otherwise, I give preference to heifers born to old cows (selecting for longevity), and all of them must pass the eye test - not to horsey, not to scrawny, good hair, feminine. We keep about 50% of the heifers to breed. What else should I be measuring (perhaps I should say "evaluating" to keep myself out of trouble.)

5) Bull selection is still a question mark. I like the idea of trusting my seedstock producer to recommend the right bull. But as we all know, not everyone likes the same kind of cattle. So I have a hard time just leaving the direction of my herd in the hands of someone else. I know the general consensus here about EPD's but I think part of the reason they are so appealing is that they give the buyer just enough rope to hang himself. Well I have hung myself with more than just EPD's. Case in point - frame score. Please turn with me in your 2011 Genex catalog to page 33. DR Sierra Cut7404 had a yearling FS of 5.9 and a mature FS of 5.0. Now flip back to Oak Hollow 7709 - yearling FS of 4.0, Mature FS 5.0. I have been selecting yearling bulls with frame scores between 5 and 6 for a few years but now I think that yearling frame score has nothing at all to do with making good cows. I don't really know what it has to do with anything, frankly, without knowing mature FS. I'll answer my own question here and say it goes back to having consistent, predictable genetic lines that do the same thing over and over. So, maybe Questions 5 is just how the heck do I select the right bull?????


6) Who would WANT to raise the terminal bulls if all the great maternal qualities are found in the maternal lines? Is the mainstream [insert breed here] gene pool terminal enough to use in the cross? They must have just enough maternal to keep the house of cards standing - pushing the envelope, some might say...

I know this is a lot of questions from a dumb commercial guy, probably too much for one post, but I just had to ask these questions before I forgot something. Mike, feel free to split this into different posts or something if you want. I hesitate to make a recommendation, since I'm the new kid on the block, but maybe a Commercial Application of Tru-Line for Dummies section would be warranted for the slow ones like me Very Happy


Luke, the big wheels keep on turnin', but very very slowly
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LCP



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:49 pm

Crap - I didn't realize this was under the For Sale topic, and I don't think I can move it...Sorry Mike...do with it what you want.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:26 am

Great questions Luke. It's too late to take a stab at it tonight but great questons. I don't care what heading it's under.

Jack
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Danny Miller



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:30 am

These are good questions Luke. The talent on this site with the experience will have some good answers
to your questions and will answer some of mine as well. I know of no better site where you could find answers
to these questions.
DM
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:36 am

LCP wrote:
Crap - I didn't realize this was under the For Sale topic, and I don't think I can move it...Sorry Mike...do with it what you want.
I moved it to breeding philosophies Luke...mostly just to see if I could...good stuff you have posted; more than I can handle on my 4 am sleep break ...can`t be half asleep while addressing those questions...
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:59 am

I want to keep this front and center in our minds until we get answers...I`m starting with the easiest question, and even then my answer is...maybe...
Is the mainstream [insert breed here] gene pool terminal enough to use in the cross?

in general NO, because they keep trying to keep both terminal and maternal traits in the mainstream cattle...largely a result of breed association competition instead of a co-ordinated effort to enhance commercial profitability providing complimentary types and harnessing hybrid power...
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:31 am

I have not read all 73 pages of Reflections from LL, which I told myself I needed to do before asking questions, but I just can't wait any longer. I think I have the general idea (I'm on pg 14) but have a few questions about how I as a commercial cow/calf producer uses these types/strains properly. I figured there might be others who don't have the endurance to read 1092 posts before asking questions too.

Mike, we need to get Luke a Shoshone collection book. Does Briann still have any? Is Brainn back from fishing yet?
1) I raise my own replacement heifers. So I want to bring in prepotent maternal-type bulls to use on cows I want to get replacements out of. Hypothetically, for 10 years I buy bulls from Breeder A that has linebred for maternal traits for many years. In the meantime, I'm raising my own bulls sired by Breeder A's bulls. In effect, I'm linebreeding my own herd using Breeder A's genetics. At some point would it be advisable to switch to Breeder B, who has the same level of maternal prepotency in his closed, linebred herd, in order to gain some heterosis? Yes not only advisable but necessary. The difference between commercial and seedstock producer summed up in this paragraph. Or is there none to be had? I think there is heterosis to be had if you are crossing two line bred lines but not if your crossing two hybrids. Is heterosis only realized when crossing to a different type? In a nutshell, how to I create the best maternal cow to maximize heterosis when bred to a terminal/paternal sire?
By doing just what you've discrbed in this paragraph.

2) Which traits are best carried by the different types? There are some obvious ones - growth, frame, REA by the terminal sire, but what about marbling and backfat? I am willing to admit that I don't understand all the antagonisms between these traits. A cliff notes version of these interactions would be great. I'm not sure I understand this question but to me you will need to define your goals before you move forward with your question.

3) What do I do with the steers resulting from the maternal matings? Have any of you finished these cattle, in a feedlot or on grass? If I wanted to feed them in a lot, what differences should I expect vs what I'm doing now - straight Angus breeding, middle-of-the-mainstream genetics - no Upwards, no Jipsey Earl, but average performance with above average carcass (I know what a curly calf looks like as a result). If I sold them into a grass finishing market, how would that price compare with conventional grain-fed markets?
Do what ever you want to with the steers. They are not going to be throw aways just because the come from maternal types. Quite the opposite. I think you will be surprised with what the steer mates to these heifers will do. I hope Bob Howard will weigh in on this.

Questions 1 and 3 are somewhat related also, because I can see that if I linebred my own herd just to get excellent maternal females, I would also have an equal number of steers that would be some poor quality "fruit"...or would I? Not in my opinion. You will not get the performance that you would get from the terminal cattle but the quality will be there. Maybe it depends on the market I sell into?
Don't forget the value of those heifer calves you will sell too. They're worth more, in the right market than the steer calves.

4) I might get in trouble with this one, but I'm here to learn. Is there anything I ought to be measuring when selecting my replacement heifers? I don't take weights of any kind right now. I score udders and take note of the mean ones and those with bad feet - I don't keep replacements out of them. Otherwise, I give preference to heifers born to old cows (selecting for longevity), and all of them must pass the eye test - not to horsey, not to scrawny, good hair, feminine. We keep about 50% of the heifers to breed. What else should I be measuring (perhaps I should say "evaluating" to keep myself out of trouble.)
The thickness of your wallet.

5) Bull selection is still a question mark. I like the idea of trusting my seedstock producer to recommend the right bull. But as we all know, not everyone likes the same kind of cattle. So I have a hard time just leaving the direction of my herd in the hands of someone else. Find a breeder you can work with to attain your goals. That means you will have to spend some time with the breeder but it will be money well spent for both of you. I know the general consensus here about EPD's but I think part of the reason they are so appealing is that they give the buyer just enough rope to hang himself. My opinion on EPDs is that they are a wonderful tool to measure output but tell you nothing of the costs involved to attain that output. I can put in center pivots and run on irrigated pasture and I will increase my output but at what cost. Well I have hung myself with more than just EPD's. Case in point - frame score. Please turn with me in your 2011 Genex catalog to page 33. DR Sierra Cut7404 had a yearling FS of 5.9 and a mature FS of 5.0. Now flip back to Oak Hollow 7709 - yearling FS of 4.0, Mature FS 5.0. I have been selecting yearling bulls with frame scores between 5 and 6 for a few years but now I think that yearling frame score has nothing at all to do with making good cows. I don't really know what it has to do with anything, frankly, without knowing mature FS. I'll answer my own question here and say it goes back to having consistent, predictable genetic lines that do the same thing over and over. So, maybe Questions 5 is just how the heck do I select the right bull????? Define your goals, find a breeder who will work with you to select bulls to achieve your goals and then commit to your goals long term.

6) Who would WANT to raise the terminal bulls if all the great maternal qualities are found in the maternal lines? Is the mainstream [insert breed here] gene pool terminal enough to use in the cross? That depends if you want full heterosis or just leftovers. They must have just enough maternal to keep the house of cards standing - pushing the envelope, some might say...

I know this is a lot of questions from a dumb commercial guy, probably too much for one post, but I just had to ask these questions before I forgot something. Mike, feel free to split this into different posts or something if you want. I hesitate to make a recommendation, since I'm the new kid on the block, but maybe a Commercial Application of Tru-Line for Dummies section would be warranted for the slow ones like me Very Happy


Luke, the big wheels keep on turnin', but very very slowly


I know LL and MK and others will do alot better job of answering your question Luke but for me to learn I have to expose my limited knowledge too and this is so much more refreshing than conversing with the jimmers of the world.

Jack, this is why you commercial producers have all the fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:25 am

1) I raise my own replacement heifers. So I want to bring in prepotent maternal-type bulls to use on cows I want to get replacements out of. Hypothetically, for 10 years I buy bulls from Breeder A that has linebred for maternal traits for many years. In the meantime, I'm raising my own bulls sired by Breeder A's bulls. In effect, I'm linebreeding my own herd using Breeder A's genetics. At some point would it be advisable to switch to Breeder B, who has the same level of maternal prepotency in his closed, linebred herd, in order to gain some heterosis? Or is there none to be had? Is heterosis only realized when crossing to a different type? In a nutshell, how to I create the best maternal cow to maximize heterosis when bred to a terminal/paternal sire?
Do you want heterosis in a maternal line or in the terminal cross? Or do you want the maternal line to be problem free and functional in your environment? I think the second question holds my answer. If a base herd of maternal type cows is working without outcross I do not think that they need fixing.2) Which traits are best carried by the different types? There are some obvious ones - growth, frame, REA by the terminal sire, but what about marbling and backfat? I am willing to admit that I don't understand all the antagonisms between these traits. A cliff notes version of these interactions would be great.

If you select the maternal strain for the functional needs of feet, fertility, hair, udders, longevity, appropriate milk production level I do not think that you’ll have time to worry about the in-betweens traits. I do wonder about the issue of frame. I think that you do not want the maternal herd to be real short because it will be a fire/ice mating on the terminals and the calf crop will come out with a full bell curve appearance (non-uniform). Seems like I have heard the term “average” somewhere!3) What do I do with the steers resulting from the maternal matings? Have any of you finished these cattle, in a feedlot or on grass? If I wanted to feed them in a lot, what differences should I expect vs what I'm doing now - straight Angus breeding, middle-of-the-mainstream genetics - no Upwards, no Jipsey Earl, but average performance with above average carcass (I know what a curly calf looks like as a result). If I sold them into a grass finishing market, how would that price compare with conventional grain-fed markets?
Grassfeed is pretty locally/individually controlled and priced here. More of a self-made market for most.

Questions 1 and 3 are somewhat related also, because I can see that if I linebred my own herd just to get excellent maternal females, I would also have an equal number of steers that would be some poor quality "fruit"...or would I? Maybe it depends on the market I sell into?

4) I might get in trouble with this one, but I'm here to learn. Is there anything I ought to be measuring when selecting my replacement heifers? I don't take weights of any kind right now. I score udders and take note of the mean ones and those with bad feet - I don't keep replacements out of them. Otherwise, I give preference to heifers born to old cows (selecting for longevity), and all of them must pass the eye test - not to horsey, not to scrawny, good hair, feminine. We keep about 50% of the heifers to breed. What else should I be measuring (perhaps I should say "evaluating" to keep myself out of trouble.)
If you are keeping and breeding 50% of your heifers you must be selling some as bred heifers. Please enough of those customers and I think that some of those steers that are worrying you could be of interest to former heifer buyers as bulls to make more of what you sold them.

5) Bull selection is still a question mark. I like the idea of trusting my seedstock producer to recommend the right bull. But as we all know, not everyone likes the same kind of cattle. So I have a hard time just leaving the direction of my herd in the hands of someone else. I know the general consensus here about EPD's but I think part of the reason they are so appealing is that they give the buyer just enough rope to hang himself. Well I have hung myself with more than just EPD's. Case in point - frame score. Please turn with me in your 2011 Genex catalog to page 33. DR Sierra Cut7404 had a yearling FS of 5.9 and a mature FS of 5.0. Now flip back to Oak Hollow 7709 - yearling FS of 4.0, Mature FS 5.0. I have been selecting yearling bulls with frame scores between 5 and 6 for a few years but now I think that yearling frame score has nothing at all to do with making good cows. I don't really know what it has to do with anything, frankly, without knowing mature FS. I'll answer my own question here and say it goes back to having consistent, predictable genetic lines that do the same thing over and over. So, maybe Questions 5 is just how the heck do I select the right bull?????

Frame score is somewhat regional on getting over FS5 from what I see. The differences in FS at yearling and FS at maturity have a lot to do with feeding from what I’ve seen. This is my back woodsy view but YH tell me something about the market steer and MH tells me something about the cow.
6) Who would WANT to raise the terminal bulls if all the great maternal qualities are found in the maternal lines? Is the mainstream [insert breed here] gene pool terminal enough to use in the cross? They must have just enough maternal to keep the house of cards standing - pushing the envelope, some might say...

There is a need for true terminal bulls and they probably have a higher cost because of more “maternal waste” in the production of them. As the old saying goes, “It takes people like you to make people like me!” Same for the system of maternal/terminal; need some of both. Some folks like to win the bull test contest.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:36 am

I have typed out some answers to this twice and cant give any better than you already have. I guess the best thing i can say dont get caught up in hype and learn to like what works instead of what has become popular. One person on here on a different thread said you have to be disciplined enough to let a something fail, before real progress will be made.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:32 pm

I have two books to mail these guys...can`t seem to get that simple task done...I did make Jack`s reply bigger above so my type eyes could read it...as they say on the feud; great answers Smile



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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:52 pm

Quote :
...as they say on the feud; great answers

Maybe I could play a cattleman on TV! Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:16 am

LCP I appreciate the fact that you’re not afraid to speak your mind and have asked some well thought out questions.

I hesitate to post a response as I don’t have much focus this time of year and you have already had good input, but I will share a few quotes that helped me with similar questions.

A recent post from Larry helped me in my struggle to put the F1 cow in perspective, as I have had a hard time agreeing with him on this point... but once again his patience, repetition and rephrasing has finally sunk in Smile

This Quote from page 3

“After spending over 30 years trying to rationalize the academic belief that an F1 cow was needed to improve fertility, longevity and even profitability......I came to believe that is an over-promoted myth, that it is our common mainstream selection criteria that is detrimental to these characters. The bottom line is that an F1 cow can only offer an irratic, temporary quick fix from many of our misguided, unsustainable mainstream selection directions, consequently I also see too many subfertile crossbred cows who can also be misfits.”

I am a little unsure as to how much of a commercial producer you want to be as I almost get the impression that you want to be a seed stock provider for yourself as well.

In the Tru-Line book on page 8 there is an example of how a commercial producer might utilize Tru-Line for material replacements.

“The program or system is not for the innovator who thinks he can do better, for then he should be a breeder and do it with improved lines. It is relatively easy for a multiplier to produce an outstanding bull or cow just from chance, the real key lies in the ability to REPRODUCE THEM IN NUMBERS WITH CONSISTENCY to insure lasting virtues.

Until a commercial producer satisfies himself with enough confidence in the Tru-Line program, he may elect to just breed his replacement heifers to a single maternal strain to get a group of half-sisters. This may serve a twofold purpose. A group of half-sisters are produced and during the process calving ease can be reasonably expected.

All of these half-sisters should be kept except those with obvious problems. Culling should not be made on the basis of phenotype or by traditional methods. The next generation, the half-sisters should be mated to a different Tru-Line prescribed maternal strain. From this cross, much more uniformity will be evident both phenotypically and genotypically in the three-quarter sisters.

Hybrid vigor for maternal function is optimized and culling percent will be very minimal. The base cow herd from which the producer starts with will usually determine the degree of culling for lack of optimum performance when the tree-quarter sisters go into production.

Preliminary research indicates that two generations of pure line prepotency will provide a very uniform result. However, when compared to the use of registered stock with variable ancestory but superior individuality, two generations produced very little overall change and actually increased the mongrelism in the base. Only through evaluation did a few desirable individuals result from these randomized matings.”


When it comes to evaluating replacement heifers with visual appraisal for your preferred type, I find it helpful to (in maternal selection) run a mental visual of the ancestral pen of cow’s against that same type in an assessment of the odds of replication. That is also how I have recently been selecting the “right” bull and have been pleased with the early results.

When are cows Maternal/Paternal enough? I always have to remind myself that efficiency of the Tru-Line system will come in degrees, we all have to start somewhere. I made a comfortable living with the cattle before I met Larry and Mike so I'm not arguing that it can only be done the Tru-Line way but I do believe this is a more efficient and grounded way
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:51 pm

Thanks to those who have responded. Now for another rambling stream of consciousness...

Quote :
2) Which traits are best carried by the different types? There are some obvious ones - growth, frame, REA by the terminal sire, but what about marbling and backfat? I am willing to admit that I don't understand all the antagonisms between these traits. A cliff notes version of these interactions would be great. I'm not sure I understand this question but to me you will need to define your goals before you move forward with your question.

Jack, what I meant by that question is that I want to use the terminal sire for terminal traits, and the maternal sire for maternal traits. It isn't always clear to me which traits belong in which line. Marbling is the first one that comes to mind. If I try to get high marbling, maternal bulls, what is the antagonism that comes with high marbling (lower fertility, hard keeping, etc)? Or would it be better to add marbling through the terminal side, so as to avoid the negative consequences by having the cow provide it? Or perhaps high marbling bulls have lower levels of testosterone, therefore lower libido and don't get any cows bred. See where I'm coming from? I need a cheat sheet that tells me what traits go with what line.

Right now, our cows probably have an above-average marbling ability. As I mentioned, we have been using carcass bulls for long enough, and we raise all our own replacements. The last load of calf-feds we shipped in June '11 graded 100% choice or better. Not bragging, just saying they have the genetics to do it. Retaining ownership has worked well for us because we know our cattle, we have a good relationship with the feedlot, and we have delivery rights to USPB. I know enough about risk management to be dangerous, so using some hedging/options/fwd contracts has helped make it work also. I don't really want to lose the carcass value we have bred into our herd going forward, as retained ownership is another source of income with virtually no additional labor. I want to know how the Tru-Line concept applied to our commercial herd can keep the carcass quality we are starting with intact.

Quote :
3) What do I do with the steers resulting from the maternal matings? Have any of you finished these cattle, in a feedlot or on grass?
I sort of already had an idea that these wouldn't be throw-aways, but just wanted to get a better feel for it. I read DeBoo's catalog last year and saw the note from the Thousand Hills guy about how he wants to buy more cattle like theirs, which appear to be some form of linebred maternal type. Really I just am trying to find out if I need to change my marketing approach with those maternal-bred steers. I wouldn't mind retaining ownership on some grass finished steers, just to diversify a little.

Quote :
Do you want heterosis in a maternal line or in the terminal cross?

Great question Eddie. When I bought the Balancers, I was trying to do both - increase ribeye in the feeder cattle and improve longevity in the cows. I know better now, as that road would only take me so far. Now that I understand it better, I want it in the terminal cross, because that is where it is most profitable - in the animal I am selling by the pound at 14 mo of age. I now know I can get longevity through the right genetics, eliminating the need to have an F1 cow. So I think I don't really want heterosis in my maternal line...what would I be gaining that I can't already get through selecting the RIGHT genetics to begin with?


Quote :
I think that you do not want the maternal herd to be real short because it will be a fire/ice mating on the terminals and the calf crop will come out with a full bell curve appearance (non-uniform).

What does fire/ice mating refer to? I thought that by using the maternal/terminal lines, we were already doing that to some degree. Or is the fire/ice descriptor aimed simply towards frame score? If so, are there other traits that should be similar between the maternal/terminal lines being mated? As long as we're at it, are there traits that should be different?

Quote :
If you are keeping and breeding 50% of your heifers you must be selling some as bred heifers.

We have been in a continual herd-building phase since 1976, minus a few dry years now and then that set us back. We have also at times sold the oldest cows (10 - 11 - 12 yr olds) if we were bumping up against what our grass could handle. The way our pastures are laid out, its easy to run more heifers than what we need for replacements, so it was easier to sell a few old cows and keep heifers than it would have been to shuffle the cows around and keep fewer heifers. That was a mistake I think.

Going forward, if our cow longevity improves (and we don't sell them so young) I can certainly see selling bred heifers. We are set up to do it. I wonder about breeding and selling some of those pretty F1 females as well... or would that go against the code? Very Happy

Hilly, I don't really have aspirations to be a seedstock producer. I can maybe see myself selling a handful of bulls private treaty to add a little value to the top-end outliers (another code violation?) I like keeping a few of my own bulls because I know the cattle behind them - as you described, the pen of ancestral cattle. I was encouraged when you said that, because I have passed on keeping some nice heifers because I know their dam, and I've kept some lesser heifers for the same reason. The bad part is that I don't usually know the sire unless they were AI'ed...either way might be a bad thing. I would be OK buying 90% of my breeding bulls if I had complete confidence in their ability to do what I ask of them, and if I didn't have to spend a huge sum of money on them. The last 10% are spares anyway, and I figure my best (?) home raised bulls are better and cheaper than the cheap bulls at the big bull sale...and they usually last longer. So why spend the extra money for a spare of lower quality? Using the same line of reasoning, I would be more than happy to raise a larger proportion of my own breeding bulls if it fits into the application of Tru-Line for amateurs I mean commercial guys. The downside is that I might someday run out of the free jackets, vests, hats, paddles, and pocket knives I have hoarded. It's so stupid, but I catch myself falling for that crap. I like going to a bull sale that has good free stuff...like that makes any difference in the bulls...I ask myself that about 1st breeding season guarantees as well, but that's a topic for another thread.


One more questions I thought of...

When selecting a terminal line, are EPD's a more useful tool than when selecting for maternal? Do I want to maximize growth, REA, feed efficiency, etc? Or are there more qualitative measures one needs to look for, like when selecting maternal lines?


Mike I would sure appreciate a copy of the Shoshone collection book that Jack referred to. Then maybe my posture would improve since I won't be hunched over the laptop all the time, and maybe the barrage of questions will subside as well. Let me know what it costs.

Luke, getting a sore back not from setting wood posts, but rather the typewritten kind.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:02 pm

My thoughts are what are your goals?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:42 am

Quote :
What does fire/ice mating refer to? I thought that by using the maternal/terminal lines, we were already doing that to some degree. Or is the fire/ice descriptor aimed simply towards frame score? If so, are there other traits that should be similar between the maternal/terminal lines being mated? As long as we're at it, are there traits that should be different?
Probably a bad choice of words on my part and I will not tell you why I think the way I do to avoid embarassing myself! Embarassed If you buy in that "small as possible" cows are highly efficent as maternal types and the terminal sire has to be extra tall to bring the supposed average calf up to the acceptable feeder steer height, then you will see calves range fully from the small cow size up to the bull size. No peas in the pod photo opp! FS is a different target in various parts of the US, but anything too short in your region is going to take a hit or you'd better find a grassfed beef grower as a buyer for them.
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LCP



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:09 am

Bob, my goals are to enjoy ranching and make enough at it to raise a family. More specifically, I want to have a cow herd with outstanding maternal qualities and be able to add value to the calves after weaning through retained ownership. The retained ownership isn't quite as important to me as the cow herd. I can't imagine doing anything else besides ranching. I really enjoy working with animals...except cows that are poor mothers. Nothing else shortens my fuse more than a cow that won't claim her calf. I have one in the barn right now that is working on my last nerve.

Are those the kind of goals you were asking about? Or are there more specific goals in regards to genetics I need to have? I am not really set in my ways. Change does not bother me, as long as it brings about improvement or progress of some kind. I am pretty willing to try new things as long as they make sense.
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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:19 am

I think that goals should be set before you turn in your Bulls in the spring. If you know what you want in the future you can start. If the seedstock you are currently using does not have a population of genetics to met your goals, change. Their are populations of cattle that will met your goals no individual animal can. Bob H
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:27 pm

LCP wrote:
Thanks to those who have responded. Now for another rambling stream of consciousness...

Quote :
2) Which traits are best carried by the different types? There are some obvious ones - growth, frame, REA by the terminal sire, but what about marbling and backfat? I am willing to admit that I don't understand all the antagonisms between these traits. A cliff notes version of these interactions would be great. I'm not sure I understand this question but to me you will need to define your goals before you move forward with your question.

Jack, what I meant by that question is that I want to use the terminal sire for terminal traits, and the maternal sire for maternal traits. It isn't always clear to me which traits belong in which line. Marbling is the first one that comes to mind. If I try to get high marbling, maternal bulls, what is the antagonism that comes with high marbling (lower fertility, hard keeping, etc)? Or would it be better to add marbling through the terminal side, so as to avoid the negative consequences by having the cow provide it? Or perhaps high marbling bulls have lower levels of testosterone, therefore lower libido and don't get any cows bred. See where I'm coming from? I need a cheat sheet that tells me what traits go with what line.

I see what your asking now and I don't have a good answer for you other than just my opinion. Personally I would tend to agree that higher marbling cattle are harder keeping so I would lean toward putting it in from the terminal side if it were me. My maternal focus would be strickly on the cow. Stucture, mothering ability, fertility, udder, rangeability, etc. and I would address marbling from the terminal side.

Right now, our cows probably have an above-average marbling ability. As I mentioned, we have been using carcass bulls for long enough, and we raise all our own replacements. The last load of calf-feds we shipped in June '11 graded 100% choice or better. Not bragging, just saying they have the genetics to do it. Retaining ownership has worked well for us because we know our cattle, we have a good relationship with the feedlot, and we have delivery rights to USPB. I know enough about risk management to be dangerous, so using some hedging/options/fwd contracts has helped make it work also. I don't really want to lose the carcass value we have bred into our herd going forward, as retained ownership is another source of income with virtually no additional labor. I want to know how the Tru-Line concept applied to our commercial herd can keep the carcass quality we are starting with intact.

Quote :
3) What do I do with the steers resulting from the maternal matings? Have any of you finished these cattle, in a feedlot or on grass?
I sort of already had an idea that these wouldn't be throw-aways, but just wanted to get a better feel for it. I read DeBoo's catalog last year and saw the note from the Thousand Hills guy about how he wants to buy more cattle like theirs, which appear to be some form of linebred maternal type. Really I just am trying to find out if I need to change my marketing approach with those maternal-bred steers. I wouldn't mind retaining ownership on some grass finished steers, just to diversify a little.

Quote :
Do you want heterosis in a maternal line or in the terminal cross?

Great question Eddie. When I bought the Balancers, I was trying to do both - increase ribeye in the feeder cattle and improve longevity in the cows. I know better now, as that road would only take me so far. Now that I understand it better, I want it in the terminal cross, because that is where it is most profitable - in the animal I am selling by the pound at 14 mo of age. I now know I can get longevity through the right genetics, eliminating the need to have an F1 cow. So I think I don't really want heterosis in my maternal line...what would I be gaining that I can't already get through selecting the RIGHT genetics to begin with?

Maybe I'm wrong on this but I have no problem with maternal heterosis. As a commercial producer selling by the pound I see no problem with utilizing heterosis from the crossing of two maternal lines, strains or breeds.


Quote :
I think that you do not want the maternal herd to be real short because it will be a fire/ice mating on the terminals and the calf crop will come out with a full bell curve appearance (non-uniform).

What does fire/ice mating refer to? I thought that by using the maternal/terminal lines, we were already doing that to some degree. Or is the fire/ice descriptor aimed simply towards frame score? If so, are there other traits that should be similar between the maternal/terminal lines being mated? As long as we're at it, are there traits that should be different?

Quote :
If you are keeping and breeding 50% of your heifers you must be selling some as bred heifers.

We have been in a continual herd-building phase since 1976, minus a few dry years now and then that set us back. We have also at times sold the oldest cows (10 - 11 - 12 yr olds) if we were bumping up against what our grass could handle. The way our pastures are laid out, its easy to run more heifers than what we need for replacements, so it was easier to sell a few old cows and keep heifers than it would have been to shuffle the cows around and keep fewer heifers. That was a mistake I think.

Going forward, if our cow longevity improves (and we don't sell them so young) I can certainly see selling bred heifers. We are set up to do it. I wonder about breeding and selling some of those pretty F1 females as well... or would that go against the code? Very Happy

Hilly, I don't really have aspirations to be a seedstock producer. I can maybe see myself selling a handful of bulls private treaty to add a little value to the top-end outliers (another code violation?) I like keeping a few of my own bulls because I know the cattle behind them - as you described, the pen of ancestral cattle. I was encouraged when you said that, because I have passed on keeping some nice heifers because I know their dam, and I've kept some lesser heifers for the same reason. The bad part is that I don't usually know the sire unless they were AI'ed...either way might be a bad thing. I would be OK buying 90% of my breeding bulls if I had complete confidence in their ability to do what I ask of them, and if I didn't have to spend a huge sum of money on them. The last 10% are spares anyway, and I figure my best (?) home raised bulls are better and cheaper than the cheap bulls at the big bull sale...and they usually last longer. So why spend the extra money for a spare of lower quality? Using the same line of reasoning, I would be more than happy to raise a larger proportion of my own breeding bulls if it fits into the application of Tru-Line for amateurs I mean commercial guys. The downside is that I might someday run out of the free jackets, vests, hats, paddles, and pocket knives I have hoarded. It's so stupid, but I catch myself falling for that crap. I like going to a bull sale that has good free stuff...like that makes any difference in the bulls...I ask myself that about 1st breeding season guarantees as well, but that's a topic for another thread.


One more questions I thought of...

When selecting a terminal line, are EPD's a more useful tool than when selecting for maternal? Do I want to maximize growth, REA, feed efficiency, etc? Or are there more qualitative measures one needs to look for, like when selecting maternal lines?

Yes I would say they are a more usful tool when selecting for a terminal cross. My biggest concern would be where do you find a termial line that is line bred enough to have any consistantcy if I were to use Angus for my terminal cross? My fear would be that the Angus are so crossed up they would not even do that as well as another breed would.

Mike I would sure appreciate a copy of the Shoshone collection book that Jack referred to. Then maybe my posture would improve since I won't be hunched over the laptop all the time, and maybe the barrage of questions will subside as well. Let me know what it costs.

Luke, getting a sore back not from setting wood posts, but rather the typewritten kind.
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LCP



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:23 pm

Jack McNamee wrote:
LCP wrote:


Quote :
Do you want heterosis in a maternal line or in the terminal cross?

Great question Eddie. When I bought the Balancers, I was trying to do both - increase ribeye in the feeder cattle and improve longevity in the cows. I know better now, as that road would only take me so far. Now that I understand it better, I want it in the terminal cross, because that is where it is most profitable - in the animal I am selling by the pound at 14 mo of age. I now know I can get longevity through the right genetics, eliminating the need to have an F1 cow. So I think I don't really want heterosis in my maternal line...what would I be gaining that I can't already get through selecting the RIGHT genetics to begin with?

Maybe I'm wrong on this but I have no problem with maternal heterosis. As a commercial producer selling by the pound I see no problem with utilizing heterosis from the crossing of two maternal lines, strains or breeds.


I didn't do a good job of explaining what I was thinking there...I don't feel the need for crossing breeds (which is what I meant by "heterosis") if I can get what I'm after just by selecting the right maternal line/lines within the Angus breed, since that is where I'm starting from. Repeatability is something I had not considered much before. If I make a bunch of F1 cows, I can't recreate that within my own herd, at least not for several generations. And if I were to cross my Angus cows with another breed, it would make that breed less desireable to be used in the terminal cross. Maybe that's not a big deal though, since I probably would use another maternal breed to make the F1? Basically, if I can get the cow I want by using tightly bred maternal lines and outcrossing them to other maternal lines of the same type to get a little heterosis, I would rather save the big heterosis kick for the feeder calves. Does that make sense, or am I all crossed up in my understanding of how this works?

If you guys wait long enough I'll finish reading all of the Reflections thread and I'll maybe figure it out on my own. 19 pages down, 54 to go.


LCP, wife is gone for the week, why didn't I think of paper plates when I was single?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:55 pm

Jack McNamee wrote:

Personally I would tend to agree that higher marbling cattle are harder keeping so I would lean toward putting it in from the terminal side if it were me.

Do you think that's a general rule that can be applied to all populations/types of cattle? We have a lot of marbling in our cattle and I always thought the best marbled were automatically going to be the tubbier, easiest fleshed ones. Never studied it in detail but just made an assumption which is maybe totally wrong.

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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:56 am

Grassfarmer wrote:
Jack McNamee wrote:

Personally I would tend to agree that higher marbling cattle are harder keeping so I would lean toward putting it in from the terminal side if it were me.

Do you think that's a general rule that can be applied to all populations/types of cattle? We have a lot of marbling in our cattle and I always thought the best marbled were automatically going to be the tubbier, easiest fleshed ones. Never studied it in detail but just made an assumption which is maybe totally wrong.

with holsteins and jerseys both with genetic ability to marble, milk and marbling seem correlated...yes, the old Angus marbled with an inch of backfat and slower growth...
Shoshone maternals marble pretty darn good with never any selection specifically for marbling...marbling just came with the type cow selected...
conclusion for me is maternal lines need not be a hindrance to marbling...
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Will



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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:39 am

MF, I agree. DF could you mark it down! I need to get a herd bull maybe sired by Sure Bet or a son of Sure Bet and definately a Shoshone cow! Dang MK I was hoping you had one this year. Maybe in two years?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions from a commercial producer   Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:28 pm

I think my wooly booger Simmy calves are by Sure Bet...I named the bull calf the Biggest Loser and the heifer calf Uncertain Future...very poor calves; pukey hairy is the best way to describe them...
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