Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thompson Research Center Field Day Announced

The Thompson Research Field Day will be Thursday, September 21, 2017. This year we will be having an evening program, hopefully to better accommodate more people's schedules.
See the flyer below for program details. Dinner will be provided.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Show-Me-Select heifer sales end with highest prices at Palmyra


PALMYRA, Mo. – The fourth and final spring Show-Me-Select heifer sale topped the average price of all at $1,928.
“Buyers were light, but bidders came to buy heifers,” said Daniel Mallory, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, New London.
He noted that many new buyers came from northern Missouri and Iowa. Consignors were mostly longtime members of the MU Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program.
“That shows the quality of the program,” Mallory said. “Farmers see the added value built for the past 21 years.”
The Palmyra sale sold 120 heifers from 12 consignors. They went to 16 buyers.
The top price was $2,550 at F&T Livestock Market, June 3. That was for a single black-baldy heifer from Richards Farm, Keytesville. She was a Tier Two, AI-bred.
Price averages for the other sales: Farmington, $1,813; Fruitland, $1,764; Joplin, $1,714. Tops at the first two sales were $2,500 per head. The top at Joplin was $3,200. Those were for a new class of SMS heifers called Show-Me-Plus. Those heifers were tested with a genomic prediction panel.
Increasingly, bigger premiums are paid for heifers with advanced genetics. The Tier Two heifers bred AI now bring a $400 average premium over Tier One heifers bred to bulls.
All who consign take part in a yearlong education program from the University of Missouri, Columbia. The program teaches management as well as genetics. Producers learn the value of ultrasound pregnancy checks soon after breeding season.
Pre-breeding exams help cull heifers that may not work as replacements.
Growing popularity goes to timed artificial insemination. That allows picking from the top proven sires in a breed. With timed AI, all cows are bred in one day. That brings a uniform calf crop in age and size. Those sell for more to feedlot buyers.
The spring sales offer heifers bred to calve in the fall.
Weather affected sale attendance more than usual this year. The southeastern Missouri sale met heavy flooding in the area. The southwestern Missouri sale conflicted with an F1 tornado.
Weather hit the Palmyra sale. Many potential bidders stayed home to plant soybeans or finish delayed haying. Wet weather early delayed farm work. With a good day, many stayed home to work.
Fall sales will have bred heifers for next spring’s calving.
The idea of Show-Me-Select was brought to Missouri by David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist. The work with heifers built on earlier MU work on production testing of bulls.
Only heifers enrolled in the program can wear the trademark SMS logo ear tag.
Heifers are checked on arrival at the sale barn by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This assures they meet standards.
Fall sale dates will be at agebb.missouri.edu/select. Sale summaries are posted now.
Producers can enroll their herds through their regional MU Extension livestock specialist. Contact can be made at local extension centers.
 

For more than 100 years, University of Missouri Extension has extended university-based knowledge beyond the campus into all counties of the state. In doing so, extension has strengthened families, businesses and communities.


MU Extension news: extension.missouri.edu/news | News feed: extension.missouri.edu/news/feed

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

BIF 2017: Evaluating Sustained Cow Production: Alternative Definitions of Stayability

Guest post by Tamar Crum, University of Missouri


Scott Speidel
Colorado State University

The concept of stayability was developed ~23 years ago. Stayability is simply, generally, the survivability to a certain age given the opportunity to reach that age.

Multi-breed stayability analyses are difficult because of different definitions of stayability.

  • Is the female present in the herd at 6 years old? (basic/generic definition)
  • Did she wean a calf at 6 years old?
  • Did she wean a calf at 6 years old while also calving at 2 years of age?
  • Did she calve 5 consecutive times within the same calving season?

Successful females for stayability varies depending on which of the definitions of stayability the breed association has adopted.

It is shown that stayability to 6 years of age is a heritable trait.

Stayability is a HUGE driver of herd profitability and accounts for 53-77% of the value of of the maternal indices.

Currently, stayability is recorded as a binary trait. This means that a '1' means that the animal is successful at staying in the herd past 6 years of age and a '0' means the animal was not successfully in the herd at 6 years old.


In the traditional model for evaluation of stayability the following un-successful females would have been equivalent under the basic definition of stayability.
0 = Did not calve in that year
1 = Calves in that year
- = No data


Year of Age 2 3 4 5 6
Unsuccessful Female #1
1
0
-
-
0
Unsuccessful Female #2
1
1
1
0
0

Unsuccessful female #1 calved at 2 years of age, did not calve at age 3, and was subsequently removed from the herd. She earns a stayability score of '0' at year 6 for not successfully being present in the herd at 6 years old.

Unsuccessful female #2 calved at 2, 3, and 4 years of age but did not calve in year 5 so was subsequently removed from the herd. She, too, earns a stayability score of '0' at year 6 for not being present in the herd at that point.

Which female is clearly more valuable? The problem with the traditional model of stayability does not take this into account and considers both females equivalent when it comes to stayability.

Phenotypic data records for stayability causes quite a bit of time lag. A bull will be at least 7 years of age before stayability data is able to be recorded. Daughters of the sire have to reach 6 years of age to be considered successful for stayability.

New models for the evaluation of stayability, using a random regression model, allows us to account for these differences in value of females.

While females might not meet the criteria or definition of stayability at year 6, their value and performance in years prior is still considered in the new model.

Monday, June 5, 2017

BIF 2017: Field Testing $BEEF in Purebred Cattle

Guest post by Tamar Crum, University of Missouri


Tom Brink
Red Angus Association of America

Fitting that the Georgia peach is in the logo for this year’s BIF, as we have learned throughout the conference that the industry has been provided with many types of “fruit” to choose form when it comes to our technology and genetic tools.

Do EPDs work?  Are you a skeptic? If so, you are not alone! Believe it or not there are still skeptics out there.

Numerous studies have been completed on carcass traits, milk, and weaning weight EPDs in the late 1990s and 2000s.  After that period, the research coming out proving EPDs worth got a little sparse.  Why? We convinced ourselves and our scientists that EPDs work, but skeptics remained in the industry.  They wanted to belief in EPDs but still need to see more.

This study was in conducted in conjunction with Gardiner Angus Ranch, Zoetis, and Top Dollar Angus. The field test wanted to make comparisons between high end $BEEF and low end $BEEF indices and demonstrate in a real-life setting that EPDs and indices work.  All to prove that high value cattle could be created!

High $BEEF animals and low $BEEF purebred Angus embryos were implanted.  The calves were born between April 8 - May 22.  They were pastured with their dams through weaning and then put on wheat pasture and supplemented with grower ration until early June.  They were then moved to a feedlot setting and placed on feed.  There was a targeted equal fat endpoint - without consideration for age or day on feed.  Study contained a total of 43 head.

The results were High $BEEF outperformed low $BEEF counterparts in EVERY metric evaluated!  

The predicted pedigree difference was $93.69 between the two groups.  Since the individual was being evaluated and not the progeny, the EPD values were multiplied by 2. 

The predicted difference per individual between high $BEEF and low $BEEF was $187.38.
The value observed between the two groups was $215.47!

Feeding to same fat endpoint high $BEEF cattle finished significantly quicker.  This means money saved in feed, equipment, yardage, etc.  They also had significantly heavier carcasses, were better marbled, and had more muscle but with no statistical difference in backfat compared to the low $BEEF individuals.

$BEEF worked extremely well in projecting real-world value differences in purebred Angus cattle.

Results suggest that, if anything, EPDs and mathematical calculations that drive $BEEF are conservative compared to current cattle market valuations.  Actual value will always be a bit larger than the predicted!

Take-home Message: 
Use EPDs and indexes because they work very well in creating real-world performance and financial advantages. 



Friday, June 2, 2017

BIF 2017: Making the most of genetic selection in a challenging environment

John Genho
Livestock Genetic Services

In challenging environments, we need to use heterosis. We need cross-bred cows in these challenging environments.

Deseret Ranches
Deseret Ranches uses three different herds. They have a Simbrah sired cowherd, Brangus sired cowherd, and a Deseret Red sired cowherd. A Deseret Red is 3/8th Red Poll, 3/8th South Devon, and 1/4 Brahman. The Simbrah sired cows are breed by Brangus bulls, the Brangus sired cows are mated to Deseret Red bulls, and Deseret Red sired cows are mated to Simbrah bulls.

King Ranch
The Santa Gertrudis breed was developed at King Ranch 90 years ago. They have a seedstock Santa Gertrudis herd where they perform selection with an internal EPD system. They then have a multiplier herd where they make Red Angus x Santa Gertrudis F1 bulls. These bulls are then used in the commercial herd. Replacement females are developed from the commercial herd. They have Heifer Pregnancy EPD and Breed Back EPD from their internal EPD evaluation.

Eldon Farms, Virginia
Kentucky 31 based forage, so they deal with the stress of fescue toxicosis.
Their breeding objective is average daily gain on fescue forage. They develop bulls on fescue over the winter. These bulls do not look good in the spring. As the fescue starts to grow in the spring, some of the bulls snap out of it over the summer. They shed their wooly coats and look good. Other bulls never snap out of it and are culled.

BIF 2017: Factors affecting feedlot profitability

Gary Fike
Tri County Steer Carcass Futurity Cooperative

The Tri County Steer Carcass Futurity Cooperative first helps producers collect growth and carcass data. They help them benchmark their cattle related to the industry. It is hoped that this information will be used to make genetic improvement. The cooperative also works to help encourage and educate about retained ownership in the beef industry.

It all comes down to profit.

From an analysis of 25 states, the most profitable group make $216 per head, the least profitable group lost $120 per head. Out of 6 groups, the 4th and 5th groups basically broke even.

What are the big things that drive whether or not a consignment of cattle was profitable?
The least profitable group came in as the heaviest group. The most profitable cattle cost the least as feeders (bought cheap and sold high). The most profitable group had the fastest growth rates and were heaviest at slaughter. The most profitable cattle gained well during the warm-up period. The most profitable group also had the highest average daily gain over the test period. The most profitable cattle had the least expensive cost of gain, this includes health treatments and yardage.

Older calves are healthier in the feedlot. One of the best ways to do this is to have calves that are more similar in age. [Estrus synchronization!]

Cattle that are treated twice were less likely to grade Choice or qualify for CAB. Cattle that were treated twice lost between $200 to $365 per head. "I don't know if you'll agree with me, but that is a big chunk of money," Fike said.

Meat tenderness was also better for those cattle that were never treated for illness.

.


BIF 2017: Investing in the future, heifer development for longevity

Justin Rhinehart
University of Tennessee

A step-by-step guide for heifer development:

  • Breed early in the first breeding season
  • Minimize calving difficulties
  • Wean acceptable calves
  • Breed early in the second breeding season
  • Optimize profit
  • Improve genetics

In our nutritional development, we can have steady growth, fast early growth then plateau, slow early growth and fast late growth.

We can develop heifers to a lower target weight and still get good pregnancy weights.

If we have range development vs feedlot development of heifers, we see higher pregnancy rates in the range developed heifers. The range developed heifers also stay in the herd longer.

One month before breeding season, reproductive tract scores heifers and cull heifers that have not reached sexual maturity. Estrus synchronization is also a great tool for jump starting heifers using the progesterone in a CIDR.

With a limited approach to heifer development, using estrus synchronization is very important. It will aid those heifers to be successful.

To have a great cross breeding scenario, it is easiest to buy cross-bred heifers and breed them to a terminal approach. From a systems perspective, this is an optimal approach. We can learn from crop or other livestock production in terms of utilizing hybrid vigor.