Trust bull measures?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by DJ in WA, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Reading other sites, I've heard comments that EPD's (expected progeny difference) numbers can be fudged. And in the thread on dairy bull disposition, sounded like AI companies were reluctant to consider temperament, even though it could ruin a herd.

    So, do you trust numbers on bulls? Is there any outside verification of those numbers? Where do they get the data? From breeders own herds, or from people they've sold the semen to?

    Just wondering if AI companies always have the end producers interests in mind.
     
  2. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    Some people trust numbers other's dont. I don;t think that the producers of the dairy business are looking at the EPD's for docility in their dairy cows, they're looking for the maximum output of milk that they can get from a cow to make money in selling their milk.

    Some folks look at both the numbers and the bull itself, as well as the bulls' offspring, to get a good idea of what kind of potential he can throw to improve your herd.

    Sometimes you have no choice but to rely on the numbers, especially this paticular bull is 1000 miles away, and you only have a picture of him in a magazine or in the interenet.

    And the data, they get it first from semen testing the bull, and then it would be passed on from there.

    That's my $0.02.
     

  3. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    As best I understand it in the beef end, the numbers come from the calves sired by each bull. A young bull will have only those numbers that can be predicted from the mating of his sire and dam. As more calves are born, raised, weighed, measured, killed and processed more numbers are available and the stats are refined. Rib Eye Area can be measured by ultrasond, as can fat thickness and distribution.

    I don't know about all the bull studs, but ABS also provides a phenotype study on each bull--how tall, how large at maturity, how his daughters udders and teats compare to the ideal and other data.

    I understand that some breeds include a measure for docility in their bull assessments. Angus does not. Apparently breeders just send crazy cows and bulls to the butcher. That is what all my friends here do with their ranch cattle. One dented door, one angry shake of the head when being fed and those cattle are gone along with the fence-breakers and the wild-eyed runners. One fellow tells me that he selects his replacement heifers by first sorting all those whose looks he likes. He then enters a pen with a sorting pole and starts poking heifers. He keeps those who don't jump and run when he pokes them.
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    I'll only address the dairy bull side of things, as that's what I work with, and OxAnkle is doing a fine job of explaining the beef end of things.
    On Temperament, it is not a factor north American Bull Studs(Companies) study or compile data on. The NZ Companies do. They call it Shed Temp - Which translated means Milking Shed(Parlor) Temperament. For example, on a bull proof for Sanrosa Royal Paul, on a scale of negative 1.0 to positive 1.0, he is rated a positive 0.2, which means they will "probably" be reasonable cows to work with. We have 7 of his daughters milking, and this assessment has proven accurate.
    In the US Dairy industry, bull studs compile the numbers thru records from DHIA Testing and records from the Classification of a bull's daughters. This is done in actual working herds the studs have sold their semen to. Classification is a process whereby a qualified professional travels to a farm, evaluates a bull's daughters by comparing them to an ideal template, and then records their scores on a whole host of measurements.
    By and Large, My Opinion would be that the system has integrity.

    " So Do You Trust the Numbers?"---Yes, but you need to evaluate them based on the amount of repetition of data to support them.
    To illustrate, I'll use examples.
    From Select Sires, they have a fairly new Bull named 7H7463 Pontiac. His pedigree is DurhamXEmoryX Value, so one would expect reasonably good stock as they were good bulls. When we look at the Type Data compiled, it shows data came from 70 classified daughters.
    Then we look at another Bull that has been around longer 7H5708 Blitz, whose Pedigree reads EmoryX Tesk with Blackstar in the Background. Again respectable Bulls, so one would expect good stock. However, his type data is compiled from 4,053 classified daughters.
    So logic would lead to conclusion that the "data" would be MORE reliable, hence more trustworthy on the second bull.

    Hope all this helps.
     
  5. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for replies, yes that helps.

    So on the dairy end, looks like the data is from outsiders, DHIA and classifiers who don’t work for the semen companies. Doesn't sound like there's a DHIA equivalent on the beef side.

    Would be shortsighted of semen companies to fudge the numbers too much, then they’d lose trust if offspring didn’t live up to expectations (assuming users could figure that out). They wouldn’t be the first to sacrifice long-term for short term profits, however. But I suppose until you discover otherwise, have to trust them.
     
  6. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I buy all my semen from All West Select Sires and look at the EPD's, but don't make my final selection off them. Select sires usually provides a picture of the sires calves and sometimes their mother. That's what help me make my final decision. I think it would be more likely that the breeder would fudge the EPD's than the semen supplier and in the end it would catch up to them when that sires offspring don't turn out the way they are supposed to.

    Bobg