However, Farney notes the program is not just about single-trait selection. "You want to make sure you have a nice, balanced set of EPDs," she explains. "Beef producers have been very good about using low birth weight, high-growth bulls."
Learning to understand EPDs and specific traits will be a key part of the program. This way, producers can have more effective discussions with veterinarians on checking things like pelvic size and shape and their relation to calving ease. "This is an educational program as well," Farney adds. "Having that education to help bring you into the top 25% of producers is what we're hoping to accomplish."
The initial pregnancy examination must occur within 90 days after the start of breeding season with a follow-up confirmation 30 to 45 days prior to the sale. The expected calving date should be determined and reported with the sale.
How the program started
The program got started when Governor Sam Brownback was touring the area, and noticed the Show-Me-Select heifer program in Missouri. "He noticed Missouri had a very successful beef program, and said, 'Why don't we have this in Kansas?'" Farney says.
Noticing a high demand for replacement heifers, Kansas State University Extension got involved to help with science-based management techniques to provide guidance. And southeast Kansas is a prime location, with a large diversity of breeds of cattle and rangeland.
It also has some of the highest beef cow numbers in the state. Labette County on the Oklahoma border has the second most in the state, with 27,000 head in 2012, while Marion County had 25,500 head, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. "There is lots of farming here, but if you can't farm the ground, what goes in the ground? Cattle," Farney notes. "There is such a large population of beef cows in this part of the country."
To enroll, visit your local county Extension agent. Questions can be answered by your local Extension agent or by Farney at email@example.com