NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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February 6, 2012 Agriculture Column


Another gorgeous week.  I heard a cattle producer comment that he wished he was calving the last month.  Isn’t that the truth however like a flash in the wind the weather can turn quite cold and then we would have heard all kinds of complaints about frozen ears and tails. 

Its bull buying season in North Dakota! 

I opened up the Farm and Ranch Guide yesterday and wow you can no doubt see the bull sale season is upon us.  Which one to buy, that is, if you need a bull is always the big question.  Below is some helpful information in determining what genetic EPD’S too look for and how theyEPD’S develop differences in the cow herd. 

Phenotype (physical appearance) is always a major factor in determining which bull to buy.  Genotype (genetic makeup) defines what type of offspring a bull will sire.  Determining the genetic makeup of a bull is complex and there are many methods of describing genetic impacts.

Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s) are used to describe the degree of difference between offspring from bulls.   Each Purebred association calculates their own EPD’s.  Comparing bulls from different breeds is difficult since each Breed association has a different baseline used in describing EPDs.  Cross breeding has merits.   Consequently, you might get questions about comparing EPD’s between breeds.

Oregon State University has a spread sheet for comparing EPDs between breeds.  The Spreadsheet will calculate the across breed EPDs  specifically for bulls that you want to compare.  For example, if you are looking at EPDs for a Simmental bull and would like to compare them to an Angus bull, you can input both bulls EPDs into the spread sheet. The Spreadsheet automatically calculates the Across Breed EPDs and can be found after scrolling down the spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet can be found at the following internet site:


Also, the North Dakota Beef Improvement Association has the CHAPS program.  CHAPS is an acronym for Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software. This is a great program for keeping records on dam, sire, and progeny performance.  The Dickinson Research Extension Center provides great support for the Chaps program.  The internet site for Chaps is:

Ramsey County Crop Improvement annual meeting 

The Ramsey County Crop Improvement annual meeting will be held on February 16th at the K.C Hall, in Devils Lake.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 with speakers addressing tiling saline areas.  Hans Kandel (NDSU Extension agronomist) will talk about salinity and how tiling can/could help alleviate salinity.  Tom Scherer (NDSU Extension water quality engineer) will talk about design and other issues facing tiling saline areas.  Roxanne Johnson (NDSU Extension water quality associate) will address water quality issues with tiling.  Jason Sieler (Resource Conservationist) will visit about rules and regulations from the NRCS side.  If time allows I will give an update on the saline project at Edmore. 

This will be followed by a noon sponsored meal.  At approximately 12:45 we will begin our annual meeting.  At 1pm we will hold our only commodity election (Wheat commodity election).  The day should conclude by 1:30.  Coffee and rolls will be served beginning at 9 am.  Hope you see you there.



Hoping that the 2012 bull prices don’t exceed your budget.


            February 8                   Canola Days                 Langdon

            February 9                   Private Fumigation        Devils Lake (Armory)

            February 16                 Annual Ramsey County Crop Improvement meeting

            March 1                       Commercial ag pest, right of way, seed treatment

            March 13                     Private Pesticide training           Hampden

            March 27                     Private Pesticide training           Devils Lake

            April 10                        Private Pesticide training           Devils Lake


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