Itâ€™s hard to believe summer has come and gone, and by now most of you have wrapped up your state fairs and county shows and are preparing for fall breeding.
One of the most popular questions I get asked is, â€œwhat A.I. sires are doing the best job around the country?â€ My standard answer is, â€œIt depends on your production goals, available resources and management style.â€
I realize thatâ€™s far from the pointed answer you were hoping for, but at the end of the day you know your program and demographic better than anyone else.
Iâ€™m hopeful that as you have leafed through this issue you noticed some of the breedâ€™s best A.I. sires and what they offer. As you can see, there are several sire options, depending upon what you are aiming to accomplish.
With that in mind, there are several tools available to assist in sire selection. Iâ€™d suggest using a combination of visual appraisal, actual performance, expected progeny differences (EPDs) and genomic tools. However, for this particular column, Iâ€™d like to focus on something that has officially arrived on our doorstep, and that is genomically-enhanced EPDs.
In a nutshell, genomically enhanced EPDs are the combination of a genetic panel test consisting of multiple DNA trait markers, blended with our conventional EPDs. The goal of this tool is to greatly enhance the genetic predictability of the next generation and individual accuracy of the specific animal tested. Ultimately they are something we can use to not only make significant breed improvement, but also increase our bottom line.
I encourage every Limousin breeder to take a more in-depth look at genomically enhanced EPDs and what they bring to the table. For more detailed information you can check out the â€œGenomics Poised To Benefit Limousin Breeders,â€ article found in the May 2012 issue of Limousin World or visit www.NALF.org and look under the Genetics & Performance > DNA & Genomics tab.
In order to make forward progress and breed improvement, it is critical we make a collective effort to educate ourselves on all the tools at our disposal. After all, our goal should be to create an even better product in the eyes of both commercial cattlemen and fellow seedstock suppliers.
I look forward to visiting with you throughout my fall travels and wish you the best with your breeding plans, production sales, commercial calf marketing and harvest. If any of us at the magazine can be of assistance, be sure to give us a call.