Uniformity vs diversity

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your favorite breed.

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Nesikep
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Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Nesikep » Tue May 23, 2017 1:22 am

Gear wheels were turning for a while...

What are your thoughts on uniformity vs diversity in the general cattle population?

Aren't a lot of the big name sires perhaps going to be a detriment to specific breeds of cattle in the long long run? When they have such vast influence, and often stacked with other influential sires, isn't it reducing the population's adaptability to change?

I think within a herd, or perhaps a region, uniformity is good, but diversity is also necessary beyond that scope
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Lazy M » Tue May 23, 2017 1:56 am

Please clarify: are you talking about within breeds (all the breeders using the same handful of bloodlines within their registries) or the popularity of mixed breed sires (simangus, limflex, balancer, etc)?
As a commercial guy, I could care less either way, but I am curious about others responses.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Nesikep » Tue May 23, 2017 2:14 am

I would be specifically speaking about within a breed... Sires with 10K+ offspring, etc
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby wbvs58 » Tue May 23, 2017 2:39 am

I think within the Angus population the numbers are so high that they can handle over use of a sire, there are always a large number of breeders that don't go the way of the latest fad (contrary breeders) so if there is a train wreck down the track there are a lot of available outcross genetics to pull you out of a situation. This was shown to be the case with the Precision and 036 lines that were heavily used at least in Australia, when the genetic defects showed up we were able to breed our way out of it and yet retain the benefits of the lines that we were using.

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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Brute 23 » Tue May 23, 2017 7:39 am

With the technology today you could see how it wouldn't be hard to do if you weren't careful.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby gizmom » Tue May 23, 2017 7:41 am

We were at the Southeast Classic this past weekend. The sale was quality from top to bottom, but the genetics were as diverse as the breeders. Goes to show you can get high quality going in different genetic directions.

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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby WalnutCrest » Tue May 23, 2017 8:46 am

Phenotypic uniformity with genetic diversity is a difficult goal to achieve ... but for a seed stock producer, it's what allows for the growth and stability of your business. IMO.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Bigfoot » Tue May 23, 2017 9:06 am

I have had the same thought about quarter horses. Every discipline has its top sires. If your competing in the top of your discipline, you and everybody else are probably mounted on something that goes back to the same place. The only glaring case of that, being issue is with an old stud called Impressive. There is still ripples in the gene pool because of him.

I wouldn't think something like that would cause as much trouble in cattle. First sign of trouble, send them to the slaughter house. Not really a viable option on horses.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Lazy M » Tue May 23, 2017 10:20 am

Bigfoot wrote:I have had the same thought about quarter horses. Every discipline has its top sires. If your competing in the top of your discipline, you and everybody else are probably mounted on something that goes back to the same place. The only glaring case of that, being issue is with an old stud called Impressive. There is still ripples in the gene pool because of him.

I wouldn't think something like that would cause as much trouble in cattle. First sign of trouble, send them to the slaughter house. Not really a viable option on horses.

About all thoroughbreds today have Secretariat somewhere in their bloodlines..
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Bright Raven » Tue May 23, 2017 10:42 am

Diversity and uniformity are adversaries. This topic is the heart of population genetics.

Gene pools move like a viscous substance. Like molasses in the winter time. The gene pool flows for a while in the direction of uniformity, then something comes along and the flow ebbs and moves in the direction of diversity.

From a breed standpoint, if the gene pool is very small, over use of a sire could overwhelm the balance and narrow the range of genes that might otherwise have value. I look at all breeds for what they really are: members of a species, Bos taurus. Bos taurus is one of the largest mammalian gene pools on the planet. The species is safe from the danger of becoming a stagnant genetic pool, i.e., too much uniformity.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue May 23, 2017 11:41 am

WalnutCrest wrote:Phenotypic uniformity with genetic diversity is a difficult goal to achieve ... but for a seed stock producer, it's what allows for the growth and stability of your business. IMO.


No danger of a lack of genetic diversity in this area.
You can put together a phenotypically uniform group (stockers or bred heifers or ...) and they will grow apart.
Then add an ever popular black F1 bull to the mix and you have a massive science experiment. :cowboy:
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby WalnutCrest » Tue May 23, 2017 1:06 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
WalnutCrest wrote:Phenotypic uniformity with genetic diversity is a difficult goal to achieve ... but for a seed stock producer, it's what allows for the growth and stability of your business. IMO.


No danger of a lack of genetic diversity in this area.
You can put together a phenotypically uniform group (stockers or bred heifers or ...) and they will grow apart.
Then add an ever popular black F1 bull to the mix and you have a massive science experiment. :cowboy:


Shhhhh... You're about to confuse a bunch of people.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby Bright Raven » Tue May 23, 2017 2:35 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
WalnutCrest wrote:Phenotypic uniformity with genetic diversity is a difficult goal to achieve ... but for a seed stock producer, it's what allows for the growth and stability of your business. IMO.


No danger of a lack of genetic diversity in this area.
You can put together a phenotypically uniform group (stockers or bred heifers or ...) and they will grow apart.
Then add an ever popular black F1 bull to the mix and you have a massive science experiment. :cowboy:


Yep. The diversity is there and it shows up sometimes when you wish it would not!
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby RanchMan90 » Tue May 23, 2017 3:09 pm

I suppose it comes down to do you have cows to try to make a profit or have cows just to have cows? Black, red, or whatever they will bring more sold in a matching group than singles.
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Re: Uniformity vs diversity

Postby elkwc » Tue May 23, 2017 5:03 pm

I have been giving some thought to this lately. And not just on the sire side. I've seen and read about several herds where one cow has 50 or more daughters. In one herd 3 cows and their daughters comprised around 65% of the herd and that doesn't count granddaugthers. I can see why a breeder does it but afraid in time unless they are very selective in sire selection and they use several bulls from different bloodlines they will eliminate many lines like the Hereford breed did during the frame race. In the Herefords there are not that many choices for those wanting to find a pure Hereford and if any lines are eliminated there will be fewer. In the Hereford breeder diversity is very limited. You can go to different herds and see a lot of the same bloodlines in many. On the horned side the majority are L1. It is worse on the polled side. It seems every herd of polled catte I look at the bloodlines are the same. Most breeders are using the same 5-6 sires. I'm concerned over time the gene pool is going to shrink considerably. There are still a few line breeders on both sides left but if any of them quit I'm not sure anyone will replace them.
Last edited by elkwc on Tue May 23, 2017 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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