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Heritability of phenotype.

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Big Muddy rancher
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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:53 pm

Good reading.
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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby cow pollinater » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:41 pm

Most feet and leg traits are around fifteen percent heritable. Udder traits are about fifteen to twenty percent. Stature is in the forties. This is why I've never been a fan of corrective matings. At fifteen percent heritability, you could make the same corrective mating five times and never see an improvement until all of a sudden you went to far and it might take five more corrective matings to get back the other way and you might not ever see the middle which is where you want to be. Best bet is to pick an ideal and average to it with every mating.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:03 pm

cow pollinater wrote:Most feet and leg traits are around fifteen percent heritable. Udder traits are about fifteen to twenty percent. Stature is in the forties. This is why I've never been a fan of corrective matings. At fifteen percent heritability, you could make the same corrective mating five times and never see an improvement until all of a sudden you went to far and it might take five more corrective matings to get back the other way and you might not ever see the middle which is where you want to be. Best bet is to pick an ideal and average to it with every mating.



That's what I say "Moderation in excess" :D
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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Amo » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:10 pm

I agree with structure correctness, bags, etc. Guess I was more of less asking about thickness, muscle, etc.

I've usually shopped for numbers. The numbers have been created by hopefully by accurate data being turned in. If your actually increasing your weaning weight, your epd will go up. Ranchers sell by the pound, not the show ring. Which show cattle are pretty, and good looking calves sell well. Fleshy calves, in my area get docked. Guess feed does wonders. When you go shopping by looks, I have to sit there and wonder is this true muscle or bucket muscle? Course numbers are only as good as the accuracy that is reported.

Getting back to the original question of my post, and throwing out the whole full/flush/clone deal....Cow pollinator your numbers are on target. Visited with a professor of genetics at UNL, and he pretty much gave the same numbers. His suggestion was " For profit-minded commercial producers, I suggest finding the cows that make you the most money and learn to love the way they look." I guess if you never try, you never get anywhere. Yet it appears to me you can blow a lot of money chasing something that has small odds of recouping.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby LCP » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:26 pm

Faster horses wrote:I can only tell you what Larry Leonhardt told us at one time. He is the founder of Shearbrook Angus ranch and probably knew more
about Angus genetics than any one in the USA. He got off the performance wagon in 1979. Prior to that he was buying the highest gaining bulls at the bull tests. He said it ruined his cowherd. He bred a son to his mother, called the bull Echo, to get back on track. He says the outliers (high gaining bulls) are freaks and will never breed back to themselves. You are better off to pick from the middle of a herd you like. Those cattle breed more true to themselves. He said in later years, "everyone wants my cows, but no one wants to buy my bulls." That was because he quit watching EPD's and performance and bred for females. We bought bulls from him and it was near impossible to tell one bull from another they were that similar in phenotype. He also never sold bulls as yearlings either because he didn't like to push the young bulls. He was a great educator, sadly has passed on.

Hope this helps! Understand that was some time ago...


FH, are you still sourcing bulls from his herd? What's the status of his operation since his passing? I've been curious.

I ran across his writings a few years back and it changed my perspective completely on sire selection. He made so much more sense than 95% of what I read about genetics these days.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:29 pm

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby DaneG » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:22 pm


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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Faster horses » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:29 pm

LCP wrote:
Faster horses wrote:I can only tell you what Larry Leonhardt told us at one time. He is the founder of Shearbrook Angus ranch and probably knew more
about Angus genetics than any one in the USA. He got off the performance wagon in 1979. Prior to that he was buying the highest gaining bulls at the bull tests. He said it ruined his cowherd. He bred a son to his mother, called the bull Echo, to get back on track. He says the outliers (high gaining bulls) are freaks and will never breed back to themselves. You are better off to pick from the middle of a herd you like. Those cattle breed more true to themselves. He said in later years, "everyone wants my cows, but no one wants to buy my bulls." That was because he quit watching EPD's and performance and bred for females. We bought bulls from him and it was near impossible to tell one bull from another they were that similar in phenotype. He also never sold bulls as yearlings either because he didn't like to push the young bulls. He was a great educator, sadly has passed on.

Hope this helps! Understand that was some time ago...


FH, are you still sourcing bulls from his herd? What's the status of his operation since his passing? I've been curious.

I ran across his writings a few years back and it changed my perspective completely on sire selection. He made so much more sense than 95% of what I read about genetics these days.


Sadly, I don't know what has happened to his herd. :( He certainly was wise. I worked for ag publications and talked to many bull
producers for a number of years. Larry's name was spoken with reverence by almost all of them. He was highly respected in the industry.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:05 am

These are the Shoshone cows, http://www.jadangus.com/cows/
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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby WB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:12 am

I will also add that the highest growth animals in a population tend to be narrower and taller. As far as spending more money on bulls my advise is make sure you get more for your extra money spent. Consistency is what we all are searching for so I personally will take the time to observe the commercial heifers that are sold on production sales. Population genetics tells us that is what a portion of the potential bulls progeny will look like. If they are poorer than what I have at home what chance does the new wonder bull have to improve my Herd? Lastly feed covers up a lot. If they herd you are selecting from feeds way better than you do chances are the bulls daughters will require more groceries than you can provide.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby LCP » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:21 am

Faster horses wrote:
Sadly, I don't know what has happened to his herd. :( He certainly was wise. I worked for ag publications and talked to many bull
producers for a number of years. Larry's name was spoken with reverence by almost all of them. He was highly respected in the industry.


Highly respected, and yet very few practice what he spoke of. In fact, it seems most do the opposite - propagate the outliers, outcross continually, breed for change rather than consistency.

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Re: Heritability of phenotype.

Postby scout » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:03 am

A well respected cattle man once told me a calves greatest potential is the day it is conceived every thing else is a limiting factor
the early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese


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