AgWatch


Interesting Feedout Data

ELDON COLE

MT. VERNON, MO.
   One thing participants in the feedout learn is how their steers act when they leave home. Each time the cattle are processed, they’re scored for temperament. The scoring scale goes from 1, very calm in the chute and when released from the scale to a 6. The 6’s are flat mean and will come looking for you. I’ve just received the re-implant report on the 137 steers we sent up in June and the average disposition score was 1.96. This is fairly normal. The range went from the very docile 1’s to several 3’s, 4’s and even a 4.5 or two. The TCSCF says the heritability of disposition is in the .40 range which means improvement is possible through selection. Several breeds report a docility Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) which allows you to make temperament decisions when purchasing bulls or semen.
   Poor disposition cattle have higher death loss, they gain more slowly and have lower quality grades. Combining those negatives together results in an average per head loss of $60 compared to docile cattle. This amount can vary depending on market premiums and discounts.
   We also see significant discounts in breeding stock value at our Show-Me-Select heifer and tested bull sales. We try to cull those before they ever reach the sale ring but some slip by. When the crazies “blow up” you can bet buyer interest drops.
   You can make progress in the temperament area by making notes on your cow’s permanent record. You may not score them 1 to 6 every time you work them but get something down on paper or in the computer about those troublemakers. Also, look at docility EPDs. ∆
   ELDON COLE: Extension Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri
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