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Jake Troutt Jake Troutt

Association Perspective

Understanding the value of dollar indexes.

There currently are 28 expected progeny differences (EPDs) and dollar value indexes ($Values) available for producers to use when breeding quality Angus cattle. With so many traits to analyze, the paper can sometimes become a bit much to look at. There are indeed some herd sires that are superior across the board in all traits — curve benders, if you will.

Inevitably, with selection pressure emphasized in so many places, there will be a weak spot or two in a bull’s genetic makeup. These weak spots can become a reason not to purchase that bull or to use him as an artificial insemination (AI) sire. We must be cautious to not let one trait distract us completely from what could be a good breeding decision. Here is where $Values come into play.

$Values are complicated in nature, in regard to their establishment, but extremely simple and easy for producers to use. These indexes are a compilation of multiple traits brought together to form one number. The idea is that a producer can now study the index value of different sires compared to one another in an attempt to decide which bull will either make them more money or cost them less, depending on the index in question.

Essentially, producers can evaluate fewer numbers total on the paper when making breeding, purchasing and culling decisions. A single poor EPD should not stand out as significantly if that bull’s dollar value index is still strong. In a way, $Values could replace specific EPD selection pressure and reduce the urge to single-trait select. The end goal when utilizing $Values would be to create a superior herd in a more simplistic way.

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Editor’s Note: Jake Troutt is the regional manager for Region 12, including Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Click here to find the regional manager for your state.

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