Understanding Expected Progeny Differences in Angus Cattle: What is it All About?

Blog | July 15th, 2019

To help Angus producers thoroughly appreciate the modern selection opportunities for both male and female animals, it is important that they understand the expected progeny differences or EPDs in Angus cattle. These differences are compiled in a number of databases throughout the world and here in Australia. We will discuss EPDs in detail in this information for you to gain a better comprehension of how to use them with your own herd.

Definition of EPDs

For more than 30 years, the EPDs have been available to Angus producers. The application of their facts has helped many improve their herds and increase their marketability. On top of this, it helps these producers prepare for future demands. They should critically evaluate their recent calving events, calf births and all other calf production that follows. Analysis of environmental conditions, feed sources and labour hours necessary to choose the best genetics for the health of their herd are also part of this.

Depending upon the purpose of the calves, producers may use the EPDs in different ways. At times, producers wish to sell all calves and at other times, the calves are kept to increase the herd’s numbers. Expected progeny differences predict the genetic transference from the parent to its calf and are utilized as tools in the selection process. Producers help compile the EPDs, which are basically numerical predictions of actual genomic information and actual measurements of the different traits of the Angus.

Are the EPDs Accurate?

The more date recorded on the genetic merit on an animal, the more accurate the expected progeny differences are for any herd. Bulls are considered proven sires when their accuracy values are high. The females can be proven dams once they calve successfully. DNA samples are taken at times to help increase the accuracy of EPDs.

How to Utilise the EPDs?

Whether you are using EPDs for bull selection or heifer retention purposes, the process is basically the same. You can subtract the value of one bull away from the higher performing one to choose which one is the best for siring calves. With dams, you compare their calving ease, maternal instincts and ability to nourish their calves as part of your comparison.

For additional facts about understanding expected progeny differences or EPDs, consult with Southfork Angus. We are experts in utilising EPDs to strengthen our herd to ensure that we offer only the best Angus for seedstock. All our animals are guaranteed high producers as well as docile and easy to handle.

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