Dollar indices, such as $Beef or $Wean, ease decision-making for multi-trait selections, Decker says. "Instead of studying 16 numbers, a producer looks at one to find the superior animal."
Producers must make sure that they have the latest EPD numbers. EPDs change constantly as more data becomes available, he cautions.
Several breed associations offer genomic-enhanced EPDs based on DNA tests. They include Angus, Hereford, Limousin, Simmental and Gelbvieh.
That information is found on breed websites, sire books from semen providers and bull sale catalogs.
"The numbers help make better decisions when shopping for a cleanup bull this spring," Decker says.
Seed stock producers another important audience
He says another audience will be seed stock producers who raise bulls for sale to commercial herds. With that advanced audience, Decker will teach how EPDs are calculated. Also, there are various genetic tests available. All the data aims at making better breeding decisions.
Quality beef, bringing better profits, becomes important.
Decker has been working in the MU Extension bovine genomic lab led by Jerry Taylor, who was on the team that deciphered the original cattle genome in 2009.
Decker grew up on a ranch in New Mexico and showed calves at the county and state fairs. He earned a degree in animal science at New Mexico State University, graduating with highest honors.
For his advanced degree, Decker said he looked around the country for the best place to study genomics. That's why he came to MU, where he received a Ph.D. in genetics with a minor in statistics in 2012.
Since then, he was a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow at MU.
Two years ago, he spoke at a field day at the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard. There be began honing his skills in talking to farm groups, he says.
Decker will work with 28 regional extension livestock specialists to reach Missouri producers. Contact him at DeckerJE@missouri.edu.
Source: University of Missouri Extension