Expected progeny differences (EPDs) from the fall 2008 international Limousin genetic evaluation now are available through various features of the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) Web site (www.nalf.org). Pedigree and performance records for more than 2 million Limousin-based cattle in the United States and Canada underpin the latest sire summary, which includes more than 1,900 bulls.
Beginning with the latest analysis, Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) is calculating the Limousin breed's EPDs and accuracies for birth, weaning and yearling weights; milking ability; and scrotal circumference.
“On the surface, cattle producers are unlikely to notice any differences in the new evaluation,” said Kent Andersen, Ph.D., executive vice president for NALF. “Under the surface, however, there are some distinct differences, especially for breeders and commercial users of Lim-Flex® genetics.”
Now that AGI is conducting NALF's evaluation, using improved hereditary ties to Angus seedstock, genetic predictions for Lim-Flex animals are the most timely and reliable of any for Angus-influenced hybrid seedstock.
“During its 40-year history in North America, upgrading of Limousin breed composition chiefly has occurred from Angus-based animals,” Andersen added, “so more accurate accounting for past and present-day Angus genetics also will enhance predictions for purebred and fullblood Limousin animals.”
“No other multibreed genetic evaluation in the world more thoroughly incorporates performance information from two populations of animals as does AGI's work for NALF,” he said.
In addition to EPDs for 13 economically relevant traits, NALF's evaluation includes its 3-year-old Mainstream Terminal Index ($MTI), which simplifies mating decisions by ranking animals for expected net economic merit through simultaneous consideration of many traits.
$MTI combines calf survival, weaning and yearling weights, average daily gain (ADG) in the feedyard, feed intake, dressing percentage, yield grade, and marbling, explained Lauren Hyde, Ph.D., director of performance programs for NALF.
“The EPDs and index predict genetic rankings among animals, and they are the most accurate predictors of genetic merit,” she said. “Our semiannual evaluations provide Limousin breeders and their commercial customers with helpful selection tools for genetic improvement.”
Tools on the NALF Web site that interface with the genetic evaluation include the Sire Selector, pedigree and EPD lookup, and the Limousin Exchange's Bull Listing Service and Females for Sale. The site's “Genetic Evaluation” section includes the latest EPD statistics, percentiles and trends; sire-summary qualifications; general-sire listing; young-sire trait leaders; and downloadable sire summary.
The fall edition also includes the breed's list of Focus Dams, which are females with proven reproductive performance and producing ability.
The North American Limousin Foundation (www.nalf.org), headquartered
in Centennial, Colo., provides programs and services – including genetic evaluation of 5,000 active sires – to more than 4,000 members and their commercial customers. The Limousin breed and its Lim-Flex® hybrid
lead the beef industry in muscle-growth efficiency and ideally complement British