KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The American Hereford Association (AHA) released its first heifer calving rate (HCR) expected progeny differences (EPDs) in late July. Using Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) data submitted by AHA members since 2001, these values show genetic differences in Hereford sires for the likelihood of their daughters to calve as heifers. More information and a list of sires’ HCR EPDs are available on the AHA Web site, Hereford.org.
The EPD was developed as part of a research project conducted by Kansas State University (K-State). “HCR evaluation is another step toward providing a comprehensive genetic evaluation of Hereford cattle for as many economically important traits as is practical,” says Dan Moser, K-State animal sciences associate professor and beef cattle geneticist. “Combined with information on calving ease, growth, maternal and carcass traits, HCR EPDs provide even greater opportunity for Hereford breeders to identify and propagate the most profitable genetics for their commercial bull customers.”
The AHA HCR evaluation was made possible by Hereford breeders’ participation in Whole Herd TPR, a program where producers report the reproductive status of every female every year. These records indicate which heifers are exposed for breeding and which ones produce a calf. By combining these data with pedigree information, EPDs are calculated that allow comparisons of Hereford sires for HCR.
The current evaluation is a research prototype and will change somewhat as more data is collected and enhancements are made to the analysis, according to Moser.
Future plans are to conduct the evaluation semi-annually, potentially incorporating related traits such as age at calving and scrotal circumference.