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Agricultural News

Genetic Prediction in Beef Cattle and Expected Progeny Differences

Tue, 23 Mar 2021 08:22:45 CDT

Genetic Prediction in Beef Cattle and Expected Progeny Differences Mark Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist, offers herd health advice as part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel, Mark Johnson, and Paul Beck. today Johnson is talking about Genetic prediction in beef cattle.

What is an Expected Progeny Difference (EPD)?
An EPD is a prediction of how future progeny of a parent are expected to perform relative to the progeny of other animals. EPDs are expressed in the unit of measure for that trait, plus or minus. EPDs are based on:
1. Performance of the individual animal we are looking at relative to the contemporary group of animals it was raised with.
2. The performance of all the animals in the breedís database which have pedigree relationship to that animal. Including all ancestors, siblings, cousins, offspring, etc.
3. Genomics, whereby the DNA of the animal is analyzed to identify if the animal carries genes known to influence quantitative, polygenic traits like birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, etc.

EPDs are the result of genetic prediction, based on performance data collected by cattle breeders over many generations of beef production. This performance data is submitted to respective breed associations and statistically analyzed accounting for pedigree relationship to yield EPDs. EPDs are an estimate of an individual animalís genetic potential as a parent for a specific trait.

Accuracy Values (ACC) are reported along with each EPD to reflect how much information has been taken into account in calculating the EPD. Accuracy values range from 0 to 1.0, values closer to 1.0 indicate more reliability. Accuracy is impacted by genomic testing as well as the number of progeny and ancestral records included in the analysis. The more information taken into account in calculating the EPD, the higher the ACC value associated with that EPD.

An example of comparing two potential sires and our selection priority is to improve weaning weight:

Sire A has a Weaning Weight EPD of 65.
Sire B has a Weaning Weight EPD of 50.

If mated to the same cows, the calves by Sire A should weigh 15 pounds more at weaning (65 - 50 = 15).

Most beef breeds publish a Sire Summary. Sire summaries include a great deal of useful information. This would include the definitions of each of the EPDs reported by that breed.

To view Dr. Johnsonís segment on Sunup TV Cow-Calf Corner from March 20, 2021 on selection for calving ease in your herd:



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