If All the EPD Data Confuses- University of Missouri's Jared Decker Suggests Trying the Dollar IndexesFri, 20 Jul 2018 09:03:49 CDT
Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri and a leader among the land grant system in cattle production extension, Dr. Jared Decker helps producers get their arms around how to use EPD technologies to improve their genetic selection decision-making process. He spoke earlier this spring with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about how herd managers can reduce the complexity of genetic evaluation as they consider their prospective purchases for their operations.
“We’ve had EPDs around for 40 years and if we talk to beef producers, they’re still making their selection decisions based on the actual performance. So, we’ve still got issues of maybe too many producers in the industry not buying into the old tool of EPDs and then we’re starting to layer on top that DNA testing and selection indexes and all of these things,” Decker said. “So, if you’re not careful, it can sound real complicated, real quick.”
All that being said, Decker maintains that his message is simple - if you use the right tools, you can make the decision process much easier. He points to the economic selection indexes now available as a tool that essentially boils down all the other information reflected in the complete set of a bull’s EPDs and ranks it among other bulls in terms of, in Decker’s opinion matters most, profit. He explains that this is most helpful to producers who may not fully grasp all that EPDs reflect on a bull’s genetic potential. By using the $ Index, a producer will have just one number to compare and understand the potential economic value a bull may bring to their operation and effectively simplifies the entire process.
“The thing to keep in mind at the end of the day is that we need to be making our selection decisions based on genetics, because when we go to buy that bull, we’re not bringing his environment home with us,” he said. “We’re bringing his genetics home with us. He’s really just a package delivering that genetic potential to our next calf crop. So, we really need to focus our decisions on the genetics of the bull.
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