Simmental – Profit Through Science

PYRAMID

For Simmental and Simmental influenced cattle, we can see from this illustration what is weighted the most in computing the numbers.

API: All Purpose Index — Evaluates sires for use on the entire cow herd (bred to both Angus first-calf heifers and mature cows) with the portion of their daughters required to maintain herd size retained and the remaining heifers and steers put on feed and sold grade and yield.

Taken from Understanding ASA’s Indexes  

All EPDs, with the exception of tenderness,are taken into consideration in this index.

As you can see, the API puts heavy emphasis on bulls with good STAY (an estimate of the likelihood of a bull’s daughters staying in the herd). This should come as no surprise; research has consistently shown that reproduction trumps all else in economic importance.
STAY improves your bottom line by lessening the need for replacement females. Reducing your requirement for replacements allows you to market more young, high-value females, cuts your costs for heifer development and changes your herd’s age structure so a larger portion of your females are in their most productive years (5 through 10).
Direct and maternal calving ease also get substantial weighting in the API.This is because they are strongly associated to calf survivability and, to a lesser degree, female longevity.
Given that milk is essentially neutral in the index (the top 25 API bulls are only in the top 40% for milk), we can conclude that the benefits of increased weaning weight due to milk is negated by the additional cost associated with increased milk production.
It may be difficult for breeders to accept that the API places downward selection pressure on growth, as it is counter to the direction taken in most breeding programs.

Though increasing growth is invariably a good thing in terminal sires, its strong association with mature size makes it less desirable in replacement female sires, as increasing mature size increases cowherd maintenance requirements. Keep in mind that the positive benefits of increased growth in sires’ steers and cull females are accounted for in the API.

Nevertheless, the index is telling us that the extra cost of maintaining larger cows outweighs the benefit of increased growth in other areas of the system. Even so, the API is evidently finding sires with more carcass weight than would be expected given their growth potential. (The top 25 average in the 95 and 90th percentiles for weaning and yearling weight, while reaching the 70th percentile for carcass weight.)

From the top 25, it is evident that more weight is placed on marbling than yield grade. This is likely because there is no financial incentive to improving yield grade unless there is a problem (i.e. yield grades reach 4); for the most part, due to Simmentals superior yielding ability, SimAngus half-bloods see few discounts for yield grade.

TI. The TI is designed for evaluating sires’ economic merit in situations where they are bred to mature Angus cows and all offspring are placed in the feedlot and sold grade and yield. Consequently, maternal traits such as milk, stay-ability and maternal calving ease are not considered in the index

 

 

 

 

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Understanding EPD’s

C 76sv

This is an example of a SimAngus™ bull  here at the ranch.

  • Under the EPD, we have ACC, which stands for Accuracy (normally low on young animals without progeny).
  • Finally, we have %, which is where an EPD ranks nationally (e.g 16.8 CE has a 0.20 ACC and ranks in the Top 5% nationally).
  • A trait that is Top 1% to Top 20% is considered a Trait Leader (Designated in green).
  • Top 50% is Average.
  • Other traits that are not trait leaders, but above average (Designated in blue).

Bull C 76

CE = Calving Ease of 16.8 is Top 5%, which is outstanding

Birth = Birth Weight of -2.0 is Top 10%, which is outstanding

Wean = Weaning Weight of 69.8 is Top 20%, which is outstanding

Year = Yearling Weight of 121.2 is Top 10%, which is outstanding and so on

ADG = Average Daily Gain

MCE = Maternal Calving Ease

Milk = Maternal Milk — we want an average MM, so this is optimal

MWW = Maternal Weaning Weight

Stay = Stayability or Longevity ( Not listed in Simangus)

Doc = Docility (this number isn’t assigned until the animal is weaned)

CW = Carcass Weight

YG = Yield Grade

Marb = Marbling

BF = Back Fat

REA = Ribeye Area

Shr = Shear or Tenderness – N/A

API = All Purpose Index

TI = Terminal Index

Reference Table 1 (Hybrid Simmental same as SimAngus™)

2015 Hybrid Simmental Percentile Table

 

You can see that C 76 is off the charts for many of his EPD’s and Indexes.

 

 

Ruining PBSM – A Breeders Viewpoint

What exactly did it take to ruin PB Simmental?

It began with poor leadership (Board of Directors) as more emphasis was placed on one sector (Show) than any of the others. The choice to move away from our base of remaining more commercially-focused was the beginning of the end for Purebred Simmental.

Visionaries of the past, that realized the need for change and to remain more commercially-focused had no intentions of taking PBSM down the path to ruin with the inferior genetics of the show prospect.

Today. the Purebred Sector of Simmental is a conglomeration of the worst genetics ever quantified in modern times — and penned as inbred show mongrel genetics.

The Downward Spiral of PBSM

  • Poor Leadership (without Vision)
  • Too much Emphasis on the Show Sector
  • Allowing Breeders to Opt-Out of Total Herd Enrollment  THE
  • Inbreeding (Legacy)

The Solutions to bring back PBSM

  • Make Remaining Commercially-focused our Mission Statement
  • Require all breeders to be Active in the THE
  • Dump most of the Legacy Genetics within PBSM
  • Continue the Carcass Merit Program (CMP)
  • Less emphasis on the Show Sector as it has no function in the production of meat

Producing SimAngus

We began producing Full Blood Simmental in 1998. After only a few years; we knew these high milking, large framed cattle required too many inputs and didn’t match either our available forage base or climatic conditions, which is key to survival and success in the cattle business.

We needed cattle that suited our particular situation.

For the next several years; we utilized the best genetics that our, now, Pure Bred Simmental (PBSM) cows had to offer by using their EPD’s to match-mate cows to AI Sires that would influence our cattle in a positive productive way.

By 2005, our PBSM cattle were better, but still didn’t fully match our available forage resources and climatic conditions of southeastern Georgia. We also noticed that many of the PBSM cattle originated from a very small genetic pool and that someday many would be closely related or inbred.

As in life, every business comes to that ultimate crossroad and decisions have to be made that may influence success for years to come. Thinking about which path to follow, we chose SimAngus™ cattle.

This decision really made the big difference in our success and in 2007 we had our first SimAngus calves born at the ranch. Another direction we chose that generated further successes, then and even today, was/is by utilizing Artificial Insemination (AI) on 100% of our cattle and by using the best PBAN AI Sires to produce Simmental-based SimAngus™ cattle.

Today, all of our cows exceed the ASA Hybrid Simmental (SimAngus) EPD averages across the board for every single trait of economic importance.

As we moved away from PBSM catttle we did, however,  maintain a few. We own the highest API/TI Red (Non-Legacy) Purebred, Simangus and Simbrah cows in the USA.

Bull Buying Season is Here

Did you know that there are still buyers that base their bull and semen selections on Phenotype (outward appearance) and never consider Genotype (genetics). As long as people are basing their selections solely on phenotype they will never progress. These days, with Genomically Enhanced EPD’s backed by DNA, we that actually want to improve our bottom line — can.

My analogy for buying a bull or semen without a full understanding of EPD’s is like buying hay without a forage analysis– it can be green, touch all the senses, but still have a lower Crude Protein and TDN. — “You just can’t tell by looking”.

I’m not saying that a visual appraisal isn’t necessary, but all bull buyers should have a good understanding of EPD’s, which will assist them in their decision-making processes. Ask your bull providers for Genomically Enhanced EPD’s as the “proof is in the pudding”.

Genetic Defects

This has become an ethical issue for many. If your bull providers don’t test their bulls (which only costs $25) then they are telling you it’s easier to keep you in the dark and/or you aren’t worth twenty-five dollars. Luckily for some seed stock providers, there are still buyers out there that don’t pay any attention to genetic defects. They don’t realize it, but they are on borrowed time.

A Ranchers Perspective

I started ranching at 20, from scratch, and I’m the only rancher my age for miles and miles. Can you stand by and watch your friends get their new homes, cars, boats and RV’s while you struggle to make ends meet?

If you can — you may just have what it takes to begin a cattle business. Do something like I did — find a mentor that you trust and one that will tell you the truth — how it takes time — how everyone pays dues — how this isn’t really some romanticized existence, instead it’s hard work and this is why we are so few.

This is what it takes to be free.

I’m here to share my experiences with the world — what worked — what didn’t and why (maybe). And, yes, if I had to face floods, droughts, ice storms, destroyed hay, equipment failures, activists, lightning, doubters, my fears, death loss, fires and disappointments; I would definitely do it all over again………