Cows typically produce one calf a year, with a gestation period that lasts 238 days. However, if one of your cows has EPD percentiles that are ranked lower than you’d like to see, you may be wary about breeding her. It’s a legitimate concern, especially when potential financial loss is on the table, but the problem can be resolved through pedigree embryo transfers. Here’s what to keep in mind while searching for a donor.
Check Her EPD
When it comes to dealing with embryo transfers, you want to ensure that the fetus is coming from the cream of the crop. Proven pedigrees, or elite genetics, are essential to the breeding industry, as they indicate the cow is in the top percent for where it matters: maternal abilities and production.
If you’re considering an embryo transfer for one or more members of your herd, start by researching the donor’s ancestral lineage, which is the top part of the EPD. There
will also be hyperlinks for each of the parents and grandparents so that you can check their EPD as well. From there, check the Percentiles section and make sure the donor is ranked in the top percentile (10% or higher) for areas like milk abilities, weaning weight and mature weight.
Look at Her Structure
Every top cow will not only rank high for certain qualities on her EPD, but she should also have the right build as well. Phenotype, or structure, issues get passed down genetically, and could potentially cause problems for the calf later on in it’s life (which might spell a collateral loss for you). Be sure to get a good look at the donor through photos or in-person visits. Check for her hip structure and hind leg structure, make sure her hooves are forward and her legs are straight.
What Are your Cowherd Goals?
Every good herdsman will want to know if the herds are growing well and if they are producing a healthy ROI. Part of setting up cowherd goals is identifying areas of strength as well as pinpointing the weaker spots. Perhaps you’re looking for a donor because your cow is having troubles with unassisted births due to high birth weight? Or, maybe you’re not seeing the weaning and mature weight you would like to see in the offspring in your herd?
If you haven’t done so already, start by evaluating your cowherd by writing down the areas you wish to have them improve. Then, shop for the right donor by making sure her percentiles match the needs you’ve marked down.
At Spring Grove Ranch, we’re dedicated to breeding integrity that focuses on ensuring our donor or sire meet our elite genetic standards. Feel free to browse through our list of donors, and contact us if you are searching for a high quality embryo transfer.