Carrington Research Extension Center


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Buying Bulls By the Numbers Workshop


CRECEnterA workshop on using estimated progeny differences (EPDs) and DNA for beef cattle selection will be held at the CREC January 8th from 1-3pm CST.   While visual appraisal and within-herd indexes can be used, using EPDs provides a better estimation of bull potential.  EPDs are calculated using information from across many offspring (progeny), mostly due to the widespread use of artificial insemination.

EPDS have expanded from just a couple traits like birth weight, weaning weight, and yearling weight to include calving ease, milk production, maternal, and carcass traits.  Recently, index EPD traits are being provided for weaning, feedlot, and carcass.  These multiple trait selection indexes allow for focusing on one index to allow greater selection pressure and faster genetic improvement.

This workshop helps to sort out the various EPDs that are important for a particular cow herd’s genetic future.  The workshop also lets you compare your present bull EPDs to industry ranking and discuss your future breeding goals.

Leading the workshops will be Kris Ringwall, North Dakota State University Extension Service beef cattle specialist and Dickinson Research Extension Center director.  Ringwall says. “The genetics of the beef herd in North Dakota is wide and varied. One example is birth weight. It is one of the major issues within the beef industry. Should the beef industry be able to regulate prebirth growth? Small or average calves at birth are possible, as is increased capacity to grow post-birth.”

“We want to give beef producers a close view of how EPDs can be a positive tool to improve herd performance and profitability,” Ringwall says. Workshop participants are asked to bring current sire registration numbers and sale catalogs from places where they purchased bulls.

Biological processes can and will respond to natural and man-made selection techniques. Using tools such as EPDs and DNA analysis, producers can select, purchase and use bulls that can provide profitability for their operation.

Workshop space is limited, so preregister by contacting Lee Tisor at or (701) 456-1105.  For more information, contact Karl Hoppe Area Extension Livestock Specialist at or (701) 652-2951.


Karl Hoppe
Area Specialist, Livestock Systems

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