Bob) A profitable cowherd begins with efficient females that produce high-quality calves.
That’s why many Angus breeders turn to MaternalPlus to give their customer’s information they need to make effective genetic selection decisions. (Perrier) Well, the old adage, we can’t manage what we don’t measure, still holds true today. That’s what proved to all of us through the eighties, nineties, and two thousands that EPDs, whether it be weaning weight or yearling weight, carcass EPDs, milk, whatever the case may be, they truly are the gold standard today in selecting cattle. We, as a breed, have not historically submitted the maternal side of things, largely because we’ve always felt like our breed is very maternal-focused, it still is, but in any breed, there are going to be differences, and I think it’s important that we characterize those and we measure those and then we select for cattle that do a very good job of getting bred early in the season, staying bred, and raising that calf to weaning it. (Bob) Breed improvements depend on many cattlemen finding value in the data. (Perrier) Well, the fertility complex of traits is the driver of profitability. Doesn’t matter if it’s a registered seedstock herd or a commercial cow/calf operation, reproductive efficiency is the driver of profit. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly lowly-heritable trait, and so we have to have a lot of data from a lot of different herds and a lot of different environments to really get some good selection tools like EPDs and indexes, and that’s what we’re trying to gather through MaternalPlus. (Bob) Stick with the program is the mantra Perrier suggests for those just getting started. (Perrier) I think the first is just the decision that you are going to be in it for the long haul. You’re not going to automatically sell your next calf crop for more money simply because you put your cows on MaternalPlus. It’s going to be a very long-term proposition, but it’s one that I think that we can all agree that’s important enough that it’s worth doing. (Bob) For more information on MaternalPlus, contact the American Angus Association or visit w-w-w-dot-Angus-dot-org (www.angus.org). I’m Bob Cervera.