Situational Indexes for Selection
Bruce Golden demonstrates iGENDEC bull-selection tool.
Situational indexes offer a method for ranchers to specify the needs of their operations and breeding goals, Bruce Golden explained. Custom selection indexes can be created for a specific commercial cattle enterprise where the variables that affect the phenotypes, costs and revenues are set to values experienced by commercial cattle enterprises.
DES MOINES, Iowa (June 24, 2021) — Cattle operations are not generalizable businesses. Producers need the ability to customize their selection indexes to make informed decisions, said Bruce Golden, Theta Solutions LLC partner. Golden presented June 24 at the 2021 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Research Symposium & Convention.
Situational indexes offer a method for ranchers to specify the needs of their operations and breeding goals, he explained. Custom selection indexes can be created for a specific commercial cattle enterprise where the variables that affect the phenotypes, costs and revenues are set to values experienced by commercial cattle enterprises.
The customized index reflects the operation’s investment goals and considers both profit and risk aversion decisions. Golden instructed the audience to think of it as a “precision farming tool.”
Golden walked the audience through a few examples of how one such index — iGENDEC, short for internet genetic decisions — allows producers to customize their inputs to better compare bulls for selection. The system allows the user to input situational data from their operation, such as:
- Sale end point for calves
- Marketing plan
- Investment planning horizon
- EPDs (expected progeny differences) used
- Breeding season and length
- Conception rate
- Calving loss rate
- Cow age distribution
- Cow culling policy
- Breed composition
- Pricing and program participation
- Cow, calf, backgrounding and feedlot feed costs
- Backgrounding and/or feeding program length
- Current phenotypes
The program will rank bulls from multiple breeds according to profitability potential.
The program is fairly new to the world of bull selection and has a bright future ahead of it, Golden predicted. It allows producers to maximize economic decisions based off their unique circumstances and inputs.
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