The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) unveiled two new programs in August — a first-of-its-kind Feedyard Merit EPD and a follow up on its SmartCross crossbreeding program.

Feedyard Merit EPD

This new expected progeny difference (EPD) program consolidates traditional weaning weight and yearling weight EPDs and provides a genetically-derived economic value for feedyard performance.

Expressed as a dollar value/head, the Feedyard Merit EPD depicts the ability of a parent to produce progeny that will excel in important feedyard performance traits, such as average daily gain and feed efficiency, says Don Schieifelbein, AGA executive director.

The Feedyard Merit EPD may be used to estimate how future progeny of one animal will compare to progeny of another animal within the same breed. The EPD isn't designed to predict actual feedlot performance levels, but it can be used to compare sires based on estimated progeny performance differences when progeny are sent to a feedyard.

The Feedyard Merit EPD comes on the heels of AGA's release last year of its innovative Grid Merit EPD. Meanwhile, the AGA is currently working to develop a Cow-Calf Merit EPD for release in 2003.

Smartbuy Program

The AGA's SmartBuy Program combines a source-verified, preconditioned calf-tagging program with a cash incentive program for buyers of SmartCross calves. For a limited time, AGA will pay buyers $2/head for every SmartCross-tagged calf purchased.

SmartCross is a crossbreeding program designed to show commercial producers how to make more profitable cattle using registered Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls in a crossbreeding program. SmartCross encourages commercial producers to have a balance of Gelbvieh and British genetics to hit the beef industry's profit center.

SmartBuy follows up SmartCross by identifying calves with the most profitable blend of Gelbvieh and Angus-based genetics. To receive a SmartCross tag, at least 75% of the calves in a load must be sired by registered Gelb-vieh, registered Balancer or registered Gelbvieh x Angus hybrid bulls and out Angus-based cows (red or black).

These calves combine the right balance of Gelbvieh and Angus genetics to perform well in a feedlot and hang a high-quality carcass with lots of red meat yield, AGA says.

“Our biggest challenge in gaining credibility with feeders for Gelbvieh-influenced calves is lack of ability to identify those calves,” says Schiefelbein. “Many times, Gelbvieh-cross calves are misidentified as they go through the sale ring and the Gelbvieh genetics aren't recognized. SmartBuy gives seedstock producers a chance to work with their top commercial producers to identify SmartCross calves with a balance of Gelbvieh and Angus genetics.”

The calves must also be vaccinated according to guidelines for VAC 34 or VAC 45, and producers must follow beef quality assurance guidelines by giving all injections in the neck.

For more information, contact AGA at 303/465-2333 or visit www.gelbvieh.org.