Greetings from WMR Angus!
One of the many enjoyable times on the ranch is morning coffee break. This is our chance to visit with friends & neighbors. One discussion topic that has hit home recently is the emphasis in todays market on EPD’s and 50k testing. We are often asked: “Should I put more emphasis on individual performance or EPD’s?”
Something that has been instilled by our elders & mentors is to pay close attention to your own cows, do what’s best for them and the numbers take care of themselves. We believe where some breeders get in trouble is when records are used as marketing schemes rather than herd improvement tools.
Performance testing was developed to identify superior cattle as well as those that are sub-standard within ones own herd. These measures are extremely important in evaluating ones own herd but are not meant to be used to compare your cattle to the neighbors.
EPDs are a tool to compare cattle, not only within the herd they were raised but in the breed as a whole. EPDs used properly are a great way to improve ones herd. However, meaningful, high-accuracy EPDs take time and lots of progeny to develop. In todays instant information society, many seem to have lost the patience to wait for high-accuracy. While we do implement modern tools such as 50k testing & EPDs; we also recognize that individual performance and pedigrees are what continue to give us the most insight toward the potential of young unproven bulls.
We approach breeding decisions on yearling bulls by placing more emphasis on individual performance over their EPDs. On older bulls with lots of progeny, we place more weight on EPDs.
All the scientists tell us that genomic tests such as the 50k make our young bulls EPDs much more accurate. They may be right but we suppose that only time will tell… In the meantime we will provide all the information available (performance, EPDs & genomic) to assist our customers in making informed decisions on the genetics we offer.
Thanks for reading!
~Ron & David Van Dyke