We understand there is heartburn among cattle breeders to embrace the idea of $Value Indexes. We say, “Fear Not!” Although the basic function of EPDs is often thought unreliable, the truth of the matter is that the populations of breeders that have utilized these tools, tend to be the most successful in the long term. Consider this: What were the popular breeds, listed 1 through 10 in 1980? What about today?– They re-ranked, didn’t they? Where did Shorthorn go on the list? Up or Down? Does American Shorthorn, as a breed, embrace genetic evaluation today? What about Angus? Where are they in terms of scope?
I think you’ll find a positive correlation that the breeds who have the largest databanks, also sell the most commercial bulls, and also utilize EPDs more in their breeding selection! Now consider $Indexes. Indexes are multi-trait balanced values that provide to you cattle which rank more or less profitable for categories of economic relevance. If you have the highest bull for Yearling Weight EPD (YW), Congrats! But what traits are being sacrificed to get there? That only tells us about 1 trait. What about if you aren’t just into single trait selection, but actually total feedlot profitability? Or maternal merit? Or just lives calves and that’s it? Simple- use the Indexes! Below, my boss Dr. Wade Shafer of the American Simmental Association & International Genetic Solutions, takes 2.5 minutes to prove to you, $Value Indexes are not new! They are nearly 70 years old and continue to be the best options we have for genetic selection to improve PROFIT.