• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Reading EPD's

Help Support Ranchers.net:

BarMJ

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2005
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Location
Missoula, Montana
So I've read up a little on the meaning of EPD's ( for those of you who don't know, I don't have cattle now, but my husband and I are planning on buying land and a few cattle around June. So I am still learning...). But I can't seem to make heads or tails out of what it means. Do I just need to get more experience comparing them or could anyone kind of start me off on the right direction?

Thanks

BarMJ
kat
 

Haytrucker

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
760
Reaction score
47
I'd emphasize eyeball evaluation first, then if you have to pick between two close individuals, use the numbers. I wouldn't chase any extremes in EPD's, use them for comparison, but remember different management styles between breeders can produce different numbers. I know that EPD's and ultrasound readings are all modern, but I still appreciate ratios, like pounds weaned/cow exposed or dollars returned/dollars spent. Good luck with your venture, prepare to learn a couple things.
 

Angus Breeder

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
156
Reaction score
0
BarMJ, EPD(Expected Progeny Diffrence) is the estimate of how future progeny from said animal are expected to preform in each of the measurable traits. An EPD is expressed in pounds weather it be positive or negative. Examples:
Birth weight - expressed in pounds. If bull A had a BW EPD of +1, and bull B had a BW EPD of +2 you should explain bull B to sire calves that weigh 1 pound heavier than those of Bull A. The same principal for WW and YW.
The Milk EPD is a predictor of a sire's genetic merit for mothering ability as shown in his daughters. Basically a % of weaning weight attributed to the milk production of the dam.
Scrotal Circumfrance is is expressed in centimeters, the diffrence of transmitting ability for scrotal size to that of other sires.
Diffrent breed associatons have diffrent ways of presenting carcass data, these are based off of Angus.
Carcass Weight - Expressed in pounds, the diffrence of hot carcass weight from one sires progeny to that of another.
Marbling - expressed as a fraction in the diffrence of marbling scores from one sire to another.
Ribeye Area - Expressed in square inches , from one sire to another.
Fat Thickness - Expressed in inches, the amount of external fat measured between the 12th and 13th rib from one sire to another
%RP - Expressed in pounds as the amount of usable meat from one sire to another.
The number one thing to keep in mind is that EPD's are solely based upon the integrity of the individual who measured the trait.
 

txag

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
183
Reaction score
0
Location
Texas
an important thing to remember is that epd's are comparisons between animals only.

here's a link to the Hereford Sire Summary explanation of epd's. it's pdf so may be a little slow to load:

http://www.hereford.org/Acrobat/Perf/ss_S06_Preface.pdf
 

alabama

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
1,743
Reaction score
0
Location
Alabama
You can go to the Angus page attached and get a good idea of each EPD. I do however recommend that you get a handle on the basics first. Try to understand the basic EPDs: Birth Weight (BW), Weaning Weight (WW), Milk (Milk), and Yearling Weight (YW).

www.angus.org/sireeval/howto.html
 

cowsense

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,394
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Saskatchewan
One of the most important aspects of using EPD's is to understand the breed's average in each trait: Than you can establish whether individual animals will fit the selection criteria you may have established (easier calving, higher weaning wghts. etc.). EPD's aren't that complex once you understand the basics as Alabama pointed out but I cannot emphasize enough that they are only one selection tool in evaluating breeding stock! Far too often we are seeing selection being based entirely on impressive (and sometimes extreme) EPD's!! EPD's are only supposed to help reinforce evaluations performed by the best selection tool.......the Mark I eyeball method!
 

katrina

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
8,773
Reaction score
2
Location
East north east of Soapweed
EPDs are only as good as the producer. So buy from someone who you feel is honest and has intigrity. Like Mike or Alabama or Shelly or Nicky (just teasing) Watch that mike!!!
 

Angus Breeder

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
156
Reaction score
0
Like cowsense said, learn the breed averages. Not just the average EPD, but the actual weight. Then you can look at your herd and be better informed. It all boils down to what gels with your cows best.
 

Jason

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,994
Reaction score
0
Location
Alberta Canada
EPD's WERE and I say WERE one of the best tools developed to improve traits in breeding cattle.

However with the popularity of them, they have been manipulated somewhat. Eventually with enough correct data they do sort themselves out, but unfortunately breeding cattle are usually traded in the first couple years of their lives. This renders low accuracy EPD's virtually worthless.

For example I used a bull I raised in the late 90's. His numbers were very nice, moderate bw good milk and 84 at a year. His phenotype was excellent although I would have prefered him to be slightly taller frame. The 84 yw epd held for 3 years then started to fall. The bull is a 56 now. After the first calf crop I knew he didn't have the power needed to grow big enough calves, but the numbers still said he did.

Breeding cattle is still an art as well as a science. Anyone can combine numbers, but few can raise truely superior cattle.

Learn about the numbers and be aware of them, but learn cattle better.
 

BarMJ

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2005
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Location
Missoula, Montana
Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I am trying to learn what to look for in cattle as far as a physical evaluation goes. I'm going to take all of the sale catalogs I've collected and my Hereford World newspaper home with me and go through them with mom and grandpa at the end of the month! I've made notes on all of the cattle I like and possible flaws and we will see how they hold up to their opinion. Mom lived on the ranch with Grandpa and Grandma until I was 4, then a couple years after we moved Grandpa retired from ranching. If only we hadn't moved off the ranch... Oh well, I figure they are the ideal people to learn from among the people I know. So that's my plan for now.
And as far as EPD's go, I figured it couldn't hurt to understand as much as possible about them so I can make an informed choice when it finally comes down to purchasing our cattle. I think I may have decided who I want to get our cattle from... I intend to buy registered Herefords and the cattle I have been looking at are out of the "domino" line. Their original cattle came from the Miles City range station. If anybody wants to talk herfs with me, I'd gladly appreciate it!
 

Haytrucker

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
760
Reaction score
47
I'm not a Hereford person, but I respect your integrity. Those EPD's I do not understand; however visual eveluation will serve you best.
If you get the good "h" genitics you can breed up from there.
 

katrina

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
8,773
Reaction score
2
Location
East north east of Soapweed
BarMJ,
We get our hereford bulls from Brad and Vicky Carlson from Colome S.D. We have really been impressed with the easy fleshing, size, and dispositions. They are a small purebred hereford business, so if you want the top end, you should be calling now... I haven't seen this years bulls yet, but we are very pleased with the bulls we have purchased. I will pm you there phone number it you want. The domino line is a very old hereford line and I don't think you can go wrong there. IMHO
 

Latest posts

Top