The single-step National Cattle Evaluation that is provided through International Genetic Solutions continues to grow and advance. Membership has now grown to 17 participating breed associations and over 18 million head of cattle being represented in the weekly evaluations. Information and EPDs provided on the evaluation will continue to expand over the next 2 years. Breeders can look forward to the development of EPDs that evaluate structural correctness and its impact on stayability in the herd, feed efficiency and days to slaughter.
The current evaluation is still dependent on good performance data turned in from members. While usage of genomics continues to grow through all breeds for increased accuracy of EPDs, it is still important to remember that performance data turned in of phenotypes are just as highly valued for accurate EPDs on cattle. I recently attended an IGS meeting this fall with representation from participating breeds and it is clear that most associations are continuing to promote whole herd reporting to increase phenotype data collection and accuracy of EPDs. The LIMS whole herd reporting program we have at Limousin not only accomplishes this, but also lets you record your inventory more affordably as compared to the Non-LIMS registration cost.
Aside from cost reductions for registrations, reporting your whole herd actually improves the EPDs on your better cattle when all the cattle represented out of your herd are reported and compared in your contemporary groups. Regardless of the size of your herd, you can enroll your cattle in LIMS whole herd reporting. Below is a short synopsis of the LIMS whole herd reporting system and benefits.
Enrollment for LIMS Spring season runs from December 1– February 15 and Fall season enrollment period runs from May 1– July 15. During this period, LIMS members should option in or out of program prior to February 15 for Spring season and July 15 for Fall season.
Payment of LIMS cow assessment entitles calf born in that inventory year to be registered and transferred (limit to first transfer of calf). Regular transfer fees will apply for animals over 30 months of age at time of transfer (i.e., sale date). LIMS members will also receive a 5% discount on LD genomic profile and a LIMS certified seal will be added to all animals in the LIMS assessed herd.
All progeny recorded from LIMS enrolled cows must have a weaning weight, date, and docility score or a disposal code entered for the calf indicated the animal to be dead or sold prior to weaning. You have one year to provide this information (deadlines Feb 15 and July 15). Failure to provide the weaning records will result in the cow receiving a LIMS Noncompliant disposal code and removed from LIMS.
As one looks to improve their herd and the accuracy of their EPDs through the BOLT evaluation, the information and comments below are provided by the IGS evaluation team in an FAQ provided through the IGS website which you may find useful.
What can I do to improve the prediction’s on my herd?
Whole Herd Reporting — If you haven’t already, you should consider enrolling your entire herd with a breed association total herd reporting program as it offers the most complete picture
of the genetics involved in your herd.
Proper contemporary groups — It is important for the genetic evaluation that you group, to the best of your ability, animals that were treated uniformly. Proper reporting of contemporary groups ensures better predictions for all.
Take data collection and reporting seriously — Phenotypes are the fuel that drives the genetic evaluation. Take pride in collecting accurate data. If possible, try to collect additional phenotypes like mature cow weight, cow body condition score, feed intake, and carcass data.
Use genomics — DNA testing adds more information to what we know about an animal. The more genotypes we collect, the better we can predict DNA-tested animals in the future. Also, the more relatives genotyped, the better we can predict their relatives in future generations. Therefore, to ensure your bloodlines are well represented in the predictions, genotype your animals.
As the IGS cattle evaluation continues to evolve and improve, Limousin will be a big part of the accuracy improvements. Wulf Cattle Company has always been data driven and a big user of data analysis, whole herd reporting, and one of the first to embrace genomically enhancing their cattle for increased accuracy. Thanks to the Wulf Cattle Company, Limousin will begin to have a tremendous impact on actual carcass phenotype reporting as they are providing a substantial amount of carcass data into the herdbook and the IGS evaluation next year.
As seedstock breeders who are also heavily engaged in the cattle feeding business, the national cattle evaluation will be enhanced with 1,000’s of carcass phenotype records specific to actual carcass weight, ribeye area, marbling, backfat and yield grade data. This will not only impact Limousin sires, but also Angus and Red Angus cattle used in the production of both Lim-Flex® and purebred cattle.
The Limousin breed also has other members that are cattle feeders and many of those are beginning to contribute carcass data on cattle that have pedigree information to track sire and dams. While ultrasound data is still heavily used and needed for carcass trait EPD accuracy, having a substantial amount of actual carcass data to a logical slaughter end point will vault Limousin to the front of actual supplied carcass data to the front of carcass phenotype submission in the U.S. in the near future. The rest of the seedstock industry is aware of this and watching for the results.
The future is here and now with accelerated accuracy, analysis tools, single-step cattle evaluations and genomic testing increasing in the seedstock business. While many Limousin members are increasingly getting their bull sale offerings genomically enhanced, many producers are starting to realize they need to start getting their cow factory’s genomically enhanced as well.
While customers are starting to demand that their bull purchases should be genomically enhanced prior to purchase, members are starting to realize their cow factory that stays on the place every year needs to be enhanced as well. This is not always affordable in many operations but some have begun to enhance their replacement heifers every year in an effort to eventually have their cow herds on the profilers. Once a member’s cows are genomically enhanced and they are mated to sires that are as well, the progeny will benefit and see less variability in their EPDs.
The North American Limousin Foundation staff and its board of directors are diligently working to provide our breeders the best tools in the business in the race to make the right kind of cattle that are relevant in the commercial cattle industry throughout the United States. Please call us as you have questions about the tools and services that are available.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.