Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Range Beef Cow Symposium XXIII, December 3-5, 2013, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD.


Copyright © 2013 R. Mark Enns.


The amount of information upon which to base selection decisions has continued to increase over time as has the effort to develop tools to best use this information. From a beef industry historical perspective, initially information for selection was primarily based on pedigree, then improvements came with performance recording and the original efforts of the Beef Improvement Federation to set guidelines to standardize that performance information. Later on, with advancements in computing, combined with the historical databases of performance information genetic evaluation systems were developed to calculate expected progeny differences (EPD). Now with advancements in DNA technologies, genomic breeding value information is available. While the additional information gleaned by largescale genetic evaluation, the resulting EPD and now DNA marker information, may better characterize animals genetically, the amount of information is often overwhelming when trying to make the best selection and purchase decisions. What is needed is a good method to wade through voluminous amounts of information to focus on improving beef production profitability. Two approaches to wading through the wealth of information have been developed and will be outlined in this paper: Economically relevant traits (ERT) and Selection Indices.