Genetic selection of beef cattle has evolved considerably in recent times with many more tools available for making breeding decisions, according to University of Nebraska Extension beef genetics specialist Matt Spangler.

"Throughout history, we have been able to select our cattle by using many different tools," said Spangler during a meeting at the Nebraska Cattlemen's Classic in Kearney, Neb., recently. "We started with using pedigrees and phenotype, then added performance records, followed by EPDs (expected progeny differences), but now you need to know if you are selling phenotypes or genetics."

He said the primary source used when buying bulls continues to be visual appraisal for both commercial and seedstock beef producers. EPDs are generally the second tool producers will use.

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