Like the purchase of an investment commodity, you need to make an informed, thoroughly-researched decision—the same goes for cattle. But, like getting a report on a prospective car purchase or getting an inspection done on a potential new house, the cattle industry has Expected Progeny Differences (EPD).
According to the American Angus Association, an EPD is defined as the following, “the prediction of how future progeny of each animal are expected to perform relative to the progeny of other animals listed in the database.”
Further, an EPD will break out all the genomic and ancestral information of a sire or donor so that you can make an knowledgeable decision when it comes time to purchase. Get to better understand this helpful resource by learning how to decode one below.
Where to Find an EPD
The American Angus Association has an online genomic database of each registered Angus cattle within their organization. If you’re interested in purchasing a particular angus sire or donor, head over to the American Angus Association’s website and look for the EPD Pedigree Search. From there, enter in the registration number for the selected sire or donor and their EPD will appear on the following screen.
It can be a little overwhelming when you first lay eyes on an EPD. But once you understand the format and the EPD terminology, they become more straightforward and easy to decipher.
Every EPD is comprised of three sections: general information about the bovine, their ancestral lineage and their genomic EPD percentiles.
The General Information section can be found at the top of the EPD and covers:
- Registration number
- Tattoo number
- Type of bovine (sire, donor, cow, heifer)
- The company that compiled genomic value of cattle
- Where the bovine was bred
- Who currently owns the bovine
The second section is the ancestral lineage of the bovine. EPD’s will typically go back three generations: parents, grandparents and great grandparents, and list each registration number for each so that you can evaluate their EPD’s as well. This sections is crucial if you are looking for cattle from proven pedigrees.
The last section is the EPD percentiles. Here, the genomes of the cattle are broken out into four quadrants: production, maternal, carcass and $values. In each section there are attributes that are pertinent to that particular category, along with a percentage of how the bovine ranks against the database for that specific attribute.
For example, on the screenshot above under “production”, there is an attribute for Weaning Weight (WW). Then underneath that attribute, you will see the percentage 1%. This means that this particular cow is expected to be in the top 1% as far as for weaning weight production.
At Spring Grove, we only choose pedigree cattle from elite genetics to ensure you are getting the best breeding cattle possible. Each of our sires and donors are listed on our website along with their EPD so you can see for yourself. If you’re looking for a private treaty, don’t hesitate to contact us!