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NALF Releases New EPDs and Indexes

Published March 13, 2024

The requirement to produce superior quality genetics that enhance profitability is why your NALF board and Breed Improvement Committee has pushed forward with the release of new commercially relevant EPDS and updated indexes that are vital to not only building superior seedstock but are also relevant to the commercial cattlemen.

In February of 2024 NALF released an average daily gain EPD and Dry Matter Intake EPD produced by IGS. ADG is simply post weaning gain (YW-WW/160 days). NALF has been pushing for the development of Dry Matter Intake (DMI) the last 3 years and IGS has finally completed it. For cattle that have a phenotype available, which NALF actually has 5000 head that now have intake, RFI and ADG, the data will increase accuracy. For the remainder of the cattle DMI will be estimated on growth data which has a very high correlation for accuracy on the trait.

The key to DMI is to remember a lower percentile rank is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as cattle are giving you back adequate gain for their intake then you are still producing pounds efficiently. The real use of DMI is to get to the good stuff, Conversion rates are the most important item to measure and NALF will do this with the new FE sub-index and updated Terminal index that are now being published.

You will find cattle that range in the 50th to 90th percentile for DMI but rank exceptionally well on their new FE (Feed Efficiency EPD) if they are converting their intake. The FE subindex that will be published weekly by IGS simply measures cost of feed and an animal’s individual intake versus the value of a fed steer on a 5 year average adjusted by an individual animal’s gain. The formula for FE is listed below:

(Ration cost @ $180 per ton/2000 lbs = -$.14 X DMI EPD)+( Fed market value at $1.17/160 days  X PWG) = FE (Feed efficiency sub index)

In other words, the marginal value of gain over feed cost. The higher the FE sub-index, the better or reflective of  superior conversion of feed to pounds gained. (Cost of feed based off an animals DMI is calculated as a negative number and added back to the market value per pound X an animals post weaning gain).

The new Terminal Index, (TI) was developed via IGENDEC software which is made available by the Beef Improvement Federation. These indexes are customizable, Dr. Spangler and Dr. Weaber were heavily involved with the development of the TI. Dr. Weaber was heavily involved with the NALF board for the last 2 years in building, constructing and weighting of traits for the new terminal index for Limousin.

NALF will continue to run MTI (NALF’s long standing Mainstream Terminal Index), which is primarily calculated off growth traits, Marbling and YG). The push by the NALF board and Breed Improvement Committee was to develop an updated index that is more reflective of today’s changing marketing environment for fed cattle.

Cattle are now being fed to much larger outwieghts and the majority of them are now sold on a formula or carcass grids. These grids are heavily dependent on adequate carcass weights, yield grade and quality grade versus selling cattle live over the scale and sold with a standard shrink 10-20 years ago. The new TI index encompasses many traits. It is also much more heavily weighted on CW EPD rather than WW and YW growth traits to be reflective of formula and grid cattle.

Below is the formula and list of traits used in the new Terminal Index.

Terminal Index

You can see from the previous formula that CED, DMI, CW, REA, FT, MB, are all included in the new TI in addition to the Growth traits. The value of the weighting is represented in the pie chart below:

I can tell you after analyzing 100’s of cattle on the new TI with Dr. Weaber, cattle have to have a well-rounded trait deck to excel on the new index, but cattle that have exceptional Carcass Weight, REA, BF EPD (Yield grade)and adequate marbling really fly on the new TI.      Individual DMI is in the index, but as long as they are providing adequate carcass weight EPD in return for their intake will do really well on the new TI as long as are not severely deficient in an included EPD elsewhere.

The new index is built to not only be relevant to the commercial cattle industry today but is also reflective of the positive traits Limousin cattle bring to the industry in terms of superior yield grade, (Enhanced by superior REA, CW and overall cutability). Calving ease direct is also a weighted lightly into the index to add bonus to sires that excel on calving ease even in the terminal index as well.


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.