Sunday, January 08, 2017
Lee Pitts - Cattle traiting
Expected progeny differences (EPDs) have done wonders in improving the quality of our cattle. My only problem with EPDs is there aren’t enough of them for traits that I’m most interested in. I wish some professor or breed association would come up with the following:
GUMS EPD- Cows spend six hours every day eating and another eight chewing their cud, therefore dentition has more to do with profitability than traits we already have EPDs for. We desperately need an EPD that indicates the quality of the teeth so we don’t end up with six year old cows runnin’ on the rims. No one wants to pay more for high quality alfalfa with fine stems and soft leaves just because their cows don’t have good choppers.
SLUT EPD- Who doesn’t want their cows bred up fast? That’s why we need a sluttability number that tells us which cows chase the bulls the minute they’re turned out. This would steer us away from breeding highly moral cows that like to play hard to get, or are choosey about the bull they’ll breed with. I don’t want bashful heifers with that “come hither” look who play hide and seek with the bulls for four months. I want cows that will walk right up to the first bull they see and say, “Listen big boy, let’s get this over with.”
MPH EPD- On the ranches I’ve leased the cows had to be able to travel 20 miles per day just to be able to find enough grass to eat to maintain their poor body condition. Lazy cows with a low speed index that shade up, or lay around, are easier to steal too. This EPD could be easily measured by identifying those cows that are invariably fastest to the feed truck.
IQ EPD- This would be similar to a birth EPD where you don’t want it too high to the point your cows are smarter than you. I prefer dumb cows who don’t have any idea they’ll end up as hamburger some day. If they’re highly intelligent they’ll hide in the brush like Arizona renegades and you never will corral them. No one wants cows smart enough to dodge a loop or drop a horn when your trying to rope them.