Enhancing $F and $B

Feed intake data to be incorporated into $F, $B in Dec. 5 national cattle evaluation.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 4, 2014) — When $F and $B were introduced to the beef industry 10 years ago, not as much was known about differences in efficiency as we know today, Dan Moser told cattlemen gathered for the breed improvement breakout session at the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show Nov. 4-6, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The president of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) and director of performance programs for the American Angus Association explained that the dollar value indexes ($Values) for feed value ($F) and beef value ($B) are to be modified in the Association’s December national cattle evaluation (NCE) to reflect current knowledge.

A decade ago it was known that cattle that grew faster tended to be inherently more efficient.

“There’s a maintenance requirement that any living organism has every day,” Moser explains. “If they can gain the same amount of weight in fewer days, there’s an element of efficiency there.”

However, he noted, that’s only a small part of the inherent variation in efficiency that exists.

Since the $Values were created in 2004, the Association and its members have made inroads in collecting individual feed intake data, with enough collected by 2010 to launch the residual average daily gain (RADG) expected progeny difference (EPD). That data continues to accumulate. Enough of those records are tied to genomic tests to build what Moser called a “reasonably powerful genomic prediction for residual gain and the underlying trait of feed intake.”

Moser explained that selection for feed intake alone would not be desirable, as it would result in selecting for cattle that consumed less feed, but might also gain at a much lower rate. It’s the variation in intake relative to the variation in performance that relates to profitability in cattle feeding.

Fig. 1: Breed genetic trends for $F (brown line), $B (green line), RADG (red line) and feed intake (yellow line)

Moser shared breed trends for $F, $B, RADG and a feed intake value that is not published but is included in the calculation for the RADG EPD (see Fig. 1). $F and $B have trended upward, as has RADG — though he points out that trend line has flattened out some. However, feed intake requirements have begun to increase.

For the last year, Moser said, AGI has been working with Tom Brink and other economists to incorporate feed intake considerations into $F and $B to better characterize and predict feedlot and carcass profitability differences among sire progeny. The change to include feed intake data will begin Dec. 5 with the running of the Association’s biannual NCE, which will also include updates to the economic assumptions upon which $Values are calculated.

“You will see changes, because changes have occurred,” Moser said, noting that it would change $Values more than ranks. However, producers can expect some re-ranking of sires, as well.

“We’re trying to gauge the index so that it identifies cattle that do all the great things that Angus cattle are known to do but also take into account the feed intake differences that do exist in the population,” he added. “In the end, we hope to provide the most current and precise estimates of profit potential using the most recent technology.”

Moser spoke during the Breed Improvement Workshop Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4. For additional infromation on enhancements to the $Value indexes, see the “By the Numbers” column in the December Angus Journal (page 82). For more information about the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show, visit www.angusconvention.com.


Editor's Note: This article was written by staff or for the Angus Journal®. It is available for reprint upon request to editor Shauna Hermel. Photos are available upon request.

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers. For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.angus.org.