Some people do rely on numbers

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wbvs58
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Some people do rely on numbers

Postby wbvs58 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:46 am

In answering the AI Sire question I thought I would tell you about the sale of bull. Andrew, my partner in our aire Benchmarking Sual bull sale recently had a standout GAR Prophet son, ie 50kg above his cohorts at weaning, he is a August 2016 calf. He had him scanned and he recorded well and then had the Zoetis 50K from which he scored well in. Prior to all the recording his EBV's (our equivalent of your EPD's) were a bit above average however after all the data was processed they improved greatly and the 4 performance indexes we have he had the best numbers in Australia. As a result Andrew had a phone call from a big seedstock producer down south and after a few discussions Andrew accepted an offer to buy him for $30,000 sight unseen.

There are certainly some breeders here that are just chasing the numbers and I am sure that these people will do well with him as an AI sire because he has the numbers. This does get one scratching one's head in disbelief. What are your thoughts on this trend?

Just as a bit of an aside, Angus Australia have been running a very successfull Sire Benchmarking programme with the 8th cohort being put together now. A sire that is nominated provides 100 semen straws to be used in heifers in cooperative herds and the resultant progeny are recorded, steers right through the feedlot and to slaughter and heifers through to breeding. A lot of other data has been analysed as well but it has been found that the EBV's of bulls entering the programme where the numbers are not proven and usually just the average of the sire and dam hold fairly true to the numbers after they have been verified through their progeny. I think this is good news for bull buyers as they can buy bulls with a certain degree of confidence in the traits they are after however for a standout bull to be used as an AI sire I think it is still necessary for further proof and accuracy. Any comments?

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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Ebenezer » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:43 am

...a standout GAR Prophet son, ie 50kg above his cohorts at weaning...
So did Prophet's EBVs predict this one great son. Will this bull produce one great son? What happened to the "like peas in the pod" theory?
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Bright Raven » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:10 am

The numbers do matter in the high end sales. For example, in Kentucky 'Bulls of The Bluegrass' is one of our highest profile Simmental bull sales. It was this past Saturday in Lexington. The catalog comes out and features the pedigree and EPDs. Usually, the best four or five bulls are in the front of the catalog. There is a clear correlation between numbers and the prices.

Even 'hobby farm' on-the-farm sales like mine, buyers want to know the 'numbers'. It is especially important for the CAIP program in Kentucky because the state has calving ease requirements that are based on EPDs. The seller has to sign an affidavit that the bull or heifer meets minimum requirements including minimum EPD scores. If a heifer is sold as bred, she only qualifies if the sire of the calf she carries has the minimum EPD score. Two heifers I sold yesterday were both confirmed bred to Elevate. I had to submit documentation on the sire with my paperwork.

Whether this trend is 'Good or Bad' can be debated but it is a real factor in seedstock sales. There are producers chasing the numbers.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby True Grit Farms » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:33 am

Bright Raven wrote:The numbers do matter in the high end sales. For example, in Kentucky 'Bulls of The Bluegrass' is one of our highest profile Simmental bull sales. It was this past Saturday in Lexington. The catalog comes out and features the pedigree and EPDs. Usually, the best four or five bulls are in the front of the catalog. There is a clear correlation between numbers and the prices.

Even 'hobby farm' off-the-farm sales like mine, people want to know the 'numbers'. It is especially important for the CAIP program in Kentucky because the state has calving ease requirements that are based on EPDs. The seller has to sign an affidavit that the bull or heifer meets minimum requirements including minimum EPD scores. If a heifer is sold as bred, she only qualifies if the sire of the calf she carries has the minimum EPD score. Two heifers I sold yesterday were both confirmed bred to Elevate. I had to submit documentation on the sire with my paperwork.

Whether this trend is 'Good or Bad' can be debated but it is a real factor in seedstock sales. There are producers chasing the numbers.


Raven very well put. I'm not a numbers guy myself but you'd have to be a fool not to look at and use proven EPD'S when moving forward with your cow herd.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby wbvs58 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:41 pm

Yes the work by Angus Australia has confirmed the reliability of numbers when buying virgin bulls as herd bulls to be used in the commercial world however when paying big money for a future AI sire sight unseen is worrying for me.

There seems to be a group of breeders here that are chasing these dollar index values at all costs, racing to get values at the top of the breed.

The indexes are
Angus Breeding Index
Domestic Index
Heavy Grain Index
Heavy Grass Index

Andrew himself is a bit of a numbers man and would not sleep at night if the numbers weren't right however he does put a lot of research into bull selection and will talk to people who have used a particular bull so the EBV's are not his only selection criteria. Meanwhile Andrew is happy with the check safely banked in his account.

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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby wbvs58 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:00 pm

Ebenezer wrote:
...a standout GAR Prophet son, ie 50kg above his cohorts at weaning...
So did Prophet's EBVs predict this one great son. Will this bull produce one great son? What happened to the "like peas in the pod" theory?


I have used Prophet myself and do find his calves to have high weaning weights, they seem to be able to utilise a high milking mother however they don't do as well as their cohorts once weaned and fall back over that 1st winter by themselves but do come on again when feeding starts in preparation for the bull sale. I now have Prophet heifers that have weaned their first calves and have done a great job, 390kg weaning weight and straight back in calf on 1st insemination.

The EBV's that this bull inherited from his parents was only a bit above average but for some reason shot to the top after a bit of data was recorded. I have had a calf that excelled and weaned at 70kg above his cohorts and yet it made very little difference to his EBV's, maybe it was considered an outlier.

As far as the peas in a pod theory, the 50kg kg above cohorts was not against all Prophet sons.

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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Air gator » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:07 pm

I think there are only a few buyers in a hundred who look at numbers like that.
I asked an auctioneer from South Florida (who did an Angus bull sale)how many people go by numbers and he said they had there was only one buyer who came knowing exactly which bull he wanted to buy when he got there based on the numbers.
I don't think you could count on selling by the numbers if there isn't any eye appeal or brand-name recognition.
So, in my view if Rampage(or whoever) is the hot bull at the moment you would do better having one of his sons with average numbers than having a son out of some other bull with outstanding numbers. The trick is to have the numbers and the eye appeal.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby sim.-ang.king » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:19 pm

Just another tool in the tool box.
I spend several weeks before a sale sorting bulls by epds, weights, and ancestry. I get it narrowed down to handfull, but the true selection doesn't happen till I see them with own eyes.

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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Son of Butch » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:55 am

Air gator wrote:I think there are only a few buyers in a hundred who look at numbers like that.
The trick is to have the numbers and the eye appeal.

And even fewer capable/willing to spend $23,000 on a bull.

Eye appeal is an easy trick, just go to the show ring, but you ain't gonna find breeding stock (Trix are for Kids)
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Ebenezer » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:36 am

If numbers fixed all cattle then after 40 years of bull tests, feedlot groups and submitted data the cow herds should all be great. But it seems there is still a search for greatness even with every calf crop and every sire group in the herds and breeds that have long term number searching history. Makes me think that there is more hype than reality. And when an outlier is the high dollar star of the sale then it sort of proves that EPDs and EBVs do not matter as then folks chase after actual data rather than information from the computer matrix data.

But I do use numbers but mainly to avoid certain cattle or to learn what a breeder thinks is important and is working towards as a goal. That allows me to avoid a lot of those cattle, too. What I see more of now than before are curve bender type EPDs on animals. I still believe that in several generations the natural tendency of the correlation of birth weight to growth will reappear and that most of these types will become too large for most herds. And stacking low BW will catch up with a herd,also. Just an opinion or two from a dose of experience.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby angus9259 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:05 am

Looking at numbers is entirely different by operation. Looking at Ohlde Cattle - a lot of folks wouldn't buy those cattle.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Son of Butch » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:02 pm

Ebenezer wrote:If numbers fixed all cattle then after 40 years of bull tests, feedlot groups and submitted data the cow herds should all be great. But it seems there is still a search for greatness even with every calf crop and every sire group in the herds and breeds that have long term number searching history.

But I do use numbers but mainly to avoid certain cattle or to learn what a breeder thinks is important and is working towards as a goal. That allows me to avoid a lot of those cattle, too. What I see more of now than before are curve bender type EPDs on animals. I still believe that in several generations the natural tendency of the correlation of birth weight to growth will reappear and that most of these types will become too large for most herds. And stacking low BW will catch up with a herd, also. Just an opinion or two from a dose of experience.

Many haven't used bull test numbers for 40 years (and still don't) or measured environmental changes in feed ect that
also effect production.
Several = 7 and Seven generations of cattle = about 49 years
Who knows what cattle ranching and meat production look like in 2068.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Stocker Steve » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:07 pm

Really depends on your market. If you are selling PB breeding stock -- then chasing the growth numbers may help you. If you are selling commercial calves - - then chasing the growth numbers will probably hurt you. If you own a feedlot, than growth numbers will help you.

There are a lot of per acre bean counters who can show you, that on average, we have too much growth in our current cows, and it reduces the calf producers profit.
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Re: Some people do rely on numbers

Postby Allenw » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:16 pm

Ebenezer wrote:If numbers fixed all cattle then after 40 years of bull tests, feedlot groups and submitted data the cow herds should all be great. But it seems there is still a search for greatness even with every calf crop and every sire group in the herds and breeds that have long term number searching history. Makes me think that there is more hype than reality. And when an outlier is the high dollar star of the sale then it sort of proves that EPDs and EBVs do not matter as then folks chase after actual data rather than information from the computer matrix data.

But I do use numbers but mainly to avoid certain cattle or to learn what a breeder thinks is important and is working towards as a goal. That allows me to avoid a lot of those cattle, too. What I see more of now than before are curve bender type EPDs on animals. I still believe that in several generations the natural tendency of the correlation of birth weight to growth will reappear and that most of these types will become too large for most herds. And stacking low BW will catch up with a herd,also. Just an opinion or two from a dose of experience.


Some where it all averages out, up here down there.
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