Here’s the latest table of adjustment factors to be used to estimate across-breed (AB) expected progeny differences (AB-EPDs) for 18 breeds (Table 1).

AB adjustment factors have been calculated for growth traits and maternal milk since 1993. Adjustment factors for carcass traits have been calculated since 2008; to be included, breeds must have carcass data in the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) database and report their carcass EPDs on an actual carcass basis using an age-adjusted endpoint.

Using this table, bulls of different breeds can be compared on the same EPD scale by adding the appropriate adjustment factor to the EPDs produced in the most recent genetic evaluations for each of the 18 breeds. The AB-EPDs are most useful to commercial producers purchasing bulls of more than one breed to use in cross-breeding programs. For example, in terminal cross-breed systems, AB-EPDs can be used to identify bulls in different breeds with high growth potential or favorable carcass characteristics.

As an example, suppose a Gelbvieh bull has a weaning weight EPD of +42.0 lbs. and a Simmental bull has a weaning weight EPD of +24.0 lbs. The AB adjustment factors for weaning weight (Table 1) are 1.7 lbs. for Gelbvieh and 25.0 lbs. for Simmental. The AB-EPD is 42.0 lbs. + 1.7 lbs. = 43.7 lbs. for the Gelbvieh bull and 24.0 lbs. + 25.0 lbs. = 49.0 lbs. for the Simmental bull. The expected weaning weight difference when both are mated to cows of another breed (e.g., Angus) would be 43.7 lbs. – 49.0 lbs. = -5.3 lbs.

Most breed associations publish EPDs on an annual basis. These EPDs predict differences expected in performance of future progeny of two or more bulls within the same breed for traits including birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight and maternal milking ability (as reflected in progeny weaning weights).

Normally, the EPDs of bulls from different breeds can’t be compared because most breed associations compute their EPDs in separate analyses and each breed has a different base point. The AB adjustment factors allow producers to compare the EPDs for animals from different breeds for these traits; these factors reflect both the current breed difference (for animals born in 2007) and differences in the breed base point. They should only be used with EPDs current as of July 2009 because of potential changes in EPD calculations from year to year.

It’s important to note that the table factors (Table 1) don’t represent a direct comparison among the different breeds because of base differences between the breeds. They should only be used to compare EPDs (AB-EPDs) of animals in different breeds. To reduce confusion, breed of sire means (i.e., when sires from two different breeds are mated to cows of a third, unrelated breed) between 2007 born animals under conditions at USMARC are presented in Table 2.

The adjustment factors in Table 1 were updated using EPDs from the most recent national cattle evaluations conducted by each of the 18 breed associations (current as of May 2009). The breed differences used to calculate the factors are based on comparisons of progeny of sires from each of these breeds in the Germplasm Evaluation Program at USMARC in Clay Center, NE. These analyses were conducted by USMARC geneticists Larry Kuehn (Larry.Kuehn@ars.usda.gov or 402-762-4352) and Mark Thallman (Mark.Thallman@ars.usda.gov or 402-762-4261).



Table 1: Adjustment factors to add to EPDs of 18
different breeds to estimate across-breed EPDs
Breed Birth Wt. Weaning Wt. Yearling Wt. Maternal Milk Marbling Score Ribeye Area Fat Thickness
Angus 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.000
Hereford 2.9 -2.8 -16.1 -17.5 -0.36 -0.24 -0.057
Red Angus 2.9 -5.4 -4.4 -3.0 -0.01 -0.21 -0.045
Shorthorn 6.1 19.9 52.8 23.1 0.06 0.12 -0.133
South Devon 4.5 6.9 -1.4 -6.5 -0.32 -0.39 -0.131
Beefmaster 7.7 44.2 44.0 2.6
Brahman 11.2 36.3 2.2 29.0
Brangus 4.7 21.9 19.9 2.4
Santa Gertrudis 8.1 17.1
Braunvieh 7.5 21.4 12.8 30.6 -0.26 0.78 -0.149
Charolais 9.7 38.2 51.9 5.6 -0.50 0.63 -0.244
Chiangus 4.1 -19.6
Gelbvieh 4.5 1.7 -12.6 9.9
Limousin 4.2 -3.4 -28.6 -14.2 -0.80 0.93
Maine-Anjou 5.5 -10.7 -22.8 -0.8 -0.92 1.07 -0.197
Salers 3.4 22.7 52.3 13.1 -0.11 0.78 -0.224
Simmental 5.5 25.0 22.4 13.7 -0.60 0.92 -0.193
Tarentaise 2.5 29.7 17.9 22.2


Table 2: Breed of sire means for 2007 born
animals under conditions similar to USMARC
Breed Birth Wt. Weaning Wt. Yearling Wt. Maternal Milk Marbling Score Ribeye Area Fat Thickness
Angus 84.7 525.6 907.8 516.7 5.84 12.14 0.549
Hereford 88.9 520.3 879.7 494.6 5.21 11.92 0.483
Red Angus 85.7 507.9 878.3 509.2 5.58 11.83 0.492
Shorthorn 90.8 516.3 904.0 521.8 5.59 12.10 0.405
South Devon 89.6 528.7 901.8 511.0 5.47 12.49 0.417
Beefmaster 90.7 533.7 884.3 500.8
Brahman 95.5 532.0 852.1 531.0
Brangus 87.8 525.9 887.8 505.8
Santa Gertrudis 91.1 503.3
Braunvieh 89.8 504.4 842.1 527.0 5.28 12.79 0.386
Charolais 92.8 543.6 920.9 508.2 5.06 12.79 0.295
Chiangus 87.8 506.7
Gelbvieh 88.3 524.8 889.2 524.1
Limousin 88.4 521.3 878.3 503.3 4.73 13.33
Maine-Anjou 89.9 511.5 884.1 515.4 4.83 13.22 0.341
Salers 86.8 522.6 909.6 517.7 5.42 12.79 0.314
Simmental 89.3 539.5 907.7 514.0 5.07 12.99 0.355
Tarentaise 86.5 515.8 856.7 519.3

-- Larry Kuehn and Mark Thallman, USMARC