Cattle breeding is all about genetics and producing a herd with the highest possible genetic composition. The task of finding the right bull for your herd in order to ensure that the calves sired are of the quality you seek is not an easy one. Most cattle breeders require a scientific approach to the selection process.
Expected Progeny Differences are numbers which are used to predict the genetic quality of the offspring sired in the future. This is a method which is used by cattle breeders. This scientific approach is used as a means of identifying whether any particular bull or cow has the ability to produce calves which will be sufficient to improve the genetic quality of the herd. The method is not an easy one to grasp and requires an understanding of the numbers and abbreviations and correct interpretation.
Reading The Chart
Each animal, whether cow, bull or heifer will have numbers and abbreviations attached to it, EPD’s. Birth weight (BW), weaning weight (WW), yearling weight(YW)and maternal milk(MM) are some of the most common vital statistics provided, however, not the only ones. Analysing the numbers associated with the abbreviations is the next step to accurately reading the chart. Be aware of numbers that go into extremes, this is usually an indication of a problem. It is imperative that you familiarise yourself the averages pertaining to the particular breed. In this way, you will be able to quickly assess any abnormalities. When settling on your choice of adding to your herd. Analyse your herd and identify potential weaknesses. Make your selection based on strengthening those weaknesses.
Breeding cattle sounds simple, however, it requires in-depth knowledge and dedication. The aim of any cattle breeder is to produce animals with a genetic make-up and quality that surpasses any other. Achieving the goal takes hard work and a real love for cattle life.