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 Dr. Milt Thomas.


Genomic technology is useful for improving beef cattle. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about genomics because the process involves thousands to millions of genotypes known as BIG DATA; therefore, it is important to understand that the results of the process is improving the accuracy of an animal’s expected progeny difference (EPD) as to be able to rank animals for selection. Genetic improvement is typically measured as an increase in EPD over many years. For example, the average yearling weight in a breed of cattle such as Angus was -13 in 1972 and it improved to +87 lbs in 2012 (Figure 1). This improvement is a result of selection for growth by the breeders for 40 years. The more accurately the calculation of EPDs can be accomplished, the faster the rate of genetic improvement can be observed by breeders using EPDs for mating decisions.