Sometimes people look askance at performance metrics for cattle. Other people may place too much emphasis on one set of performance metrics while neglecting others. We donít think either viewpoint is the optimum one.
Folks who equate performance metrics with feed buckets, may not have an understanding how the data is gained, of the value of the data learned or how to apply that data to produce better cattle. Folks who focus on a single type of performance measurement neglect other useful information that helps to balance their herd objectives.
Each cattle operation has a unique environment comprised of cattle, markets, feed, climate and goals. That is why the weighting of these difference performance metrics may vary between operations. While not all of these tools are available to every breeder, we believe it is important to use a variety of these to measure the performance of your cattle so that each breeder can continue to improve the quality of their product. Of added benefit, is that breeders who use these tools will have a significant impact on improving the breed overall.
Sometimes breeders can pool breed specific and bloodline specific information. For example, one breeder may produce primarily breeding stock, so volume carcass data may not be available. However, their breeding cattle customer may produce fifty calves that are carried through to harvest and can provide excellent information on the performance on the rail of different bloodlines. Working together and supporting one another with Murray Grey performance data will ultimately help breeders continue to improve the cattle we offer to the market.
Letís start by looking at the various measurements and tools for getting performance information on cattle:
- Performance metrics in EBVs or EPDs which measure up to 20 different traits of economic value
- Indexes measured in dollars of profit from a particular animal
- Bull Test metrics which measure efficiency, ability to gain and transmit that gain to their progeny, ultrasound, and breeding soundness
- Carcass competitions which look at actual meat quality on the rail
- Ultrasound to measure back fat, ribeye, intermuscular marbling and other carcass characteristics on the hoof
- DNA profiles which can measure tenderness, marbling and efficiency
- Show competitions including market steers and breeding stock which measure structure
- Performance records on ranch for calving ease, birthweight, gain, growth, balance, temperament, fertility and structure (such as longevity, udder quality, feet, shoulders, top line, etc.)
The links on the Performance section of our website (see links at left menu) will provide both overview information and Eagles Run Murray Grey information related to the performance tools itemized above. We would caution some patience as not every page will be ready for viewing immediately.