Seedstock breeders generally use performance criteria when selecting heifers, but also keep maternal goals in mind.

Kelly Schaff, St. Anthony, ND, considers six traits in selecting heifers for his Angus seedstock operation, Schaff Angus Valley:

• Body type – thick, deep bodied cattle and easy fleshing ability, avoiding extremes in frame size.

• Femininity – feminine head and neck with an angular, maternal look.

• Disposition – gentle, easy to be around.

• Structure – correct feet and legs.

• Dam’s production record and body type, udder quality, etc.

• EPDs.

Monroe Magnuson, Castledale, UT, raises Angus and Chiangus seedstock. He looks at performance records first. “I go through the numbers but, in the back of my mind, I have the dam’s history and things we can’t measure, like udders and disposition,” he says.

Craig Bieber (Bieber Red Angus, Leola, SD) says his process involves several steps. “We cut off outliers at weaning, eliminating anything below 95 ratio. We look at all the other data, but don’t make selections until we get yearling weights, yearling data and carcass ultrasound,” he says.

Joe Van Newkirk, who raises Hereford seedstock near Oshkosh, NE, says that, in addition to his minimum EPD standards, he looks for depth of rib and flank (indication of fleshing ability), structural correctness, femininity, pigment around eyes and, if possible, on the udder.

“In the Hereford breed, we try to have as much pigment as possible. I also want a lot of hair in our climate.” A thick, healthy hair coat correlates with many good qualities, including fleshing ability, he says.

Other factors on his list include udder structure, disposition and calving ease – he doesn’t keep heifers that had problems being born. He prefers heifers from fertile, older cows – proven producers.