Date of this Version
During the past ten years, the use of Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) by both seedstock producers and commercial cattlemen has increased markedly. EPDs have proven to be very valuable for discerning within breed sire differences, but are still of no value for comparing sires between breeds. Even though EPDs were never intended for across breed comparisons, many commercial cattlemen find this limitation to be very frustrating.
Represented in Table 1 are the birth year EPD averages for all animals born in 1990 for six different breeds. One quick glance reveals why EPDs cannot be compared across breeds. Anyone with knowledge of breed differences will quickly recognize that Angus are not going to average 2.7 (3.1 - .4) pounds more than Simmental at birth. Furthermore, it would be incorrect to assume that Herefords would average nearly 30 pounds more at one year of age and produce significantly more milk (7.0 versus .6) than Simmental. These breed average figures help illustrate the confusion that can develop when bull buyers attempt to compare bulls of different breeds.