The use of multi-trait selection indexes as tools for commercial cow-calf
operators and seedstock breeders is rapidly evolving in the beef industry.
Selection indexes are a tool to select for several traits at once. An index
approach takes into account genetic and economic values to select for economic
merit. A multi-trait index approach can be contrasted to single-trait selection
or independent culling levels. An index is challenging to develop, but the end
result is easy to use, adding simplicity and convenience of a multi-trait
The Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) currently available through the
American Angus Association, along with numerous individual performance measures,
can become overwhelming. Weaned Calf Value ($W), Feedlot Value ($F), Grid Value
($G) and Beef Value ($B) are bioeconomic values, expressed in dollars per head,
to assist commercial beef producers by adding simplicity to genetic selection
decisions. Also, a Cow Energy Value ($EN) is available for fine-tuning the cow
$Values encompass the revenue generated from genetically derived outputs and
associated costs (expenses) from required inputs. $Values only have meaning when
used in comparing the relative merit or ranking of two individuals. Each sire
listed in this report is comparable to every other sire. The $Values are
sensitive to the assumptions for the industry-relevant components used in
calculating the indexes. As with EPDs, variation in $Values between animals
indicates expected differences in the relative value of progeny if random mating
is assumed. Thus, a $Value has meaning only when used in comparison to the
$Value of another animal. Also, averages and percentile breakdowns are provided
for $Values as reference points for the Angus database. A $Value of 0 does not
correlate to the lowest ranking or to an average animal.
$VALUES ($Weaned Calf and Cow $Energy)
Weaned Calf Value ($W)
Weaned Calf $Value ($W) quantifies four primary economic impact areas:
The impact areas are combined into a bio-economic value expressed in dollars per
head assigned to Angus genetics from birth through weaning. Resources used to
form the Wean Calf Value ($W) include National Research Council (NRC), US Meat
and Animal Research Center (USMARC), Cattle-Fax, SPA and university cow-calf
budgets, and the American Angus Association performance database.
- Birth Weight - birth weight influences on calf death losses related to
dystocia, weaned calf crop percentage, and resulting revenue per cow.
- Weaning Weight - direct growth impact on weaning weight revenue
(pre-weaning growth and pounds of calf sold) and energy requirements and related
costs to necessary to support pre-weaning calf growth.
- Maternal Milk - revenue from calf pre-weaning growth and pounds of calf
sold as influenced by varying cow milk levels, and costs related to lactation
- Mature Cow Size - expense adjustments are made for maintenance energy as
related to differing mature cow size, including mathematical linkages between
mature weight and yearling weight.
$Values only have meaning when used in comparing the relative merit or ranking
of two individuals. $W provides the expected dollar-per-head difference in
future progeny preweaning performance in a multi-trait fashion, within a typical
U.S. beef cowherd. If Bull A has a $W of +25.00 and Bull B has a $W of +15.00,
and these sires were randomly mated to a comparable set of females and the
calves were exposed to the same environment, and a normal number of replacement
females were saved from both sires, on average you could expect Bull A's progeny
to have a +10.00 per head advantage in pre-weaning value over Bull B's progeny
(25.00 - 15.00 = +10.00 per head). As with any $Value, $W only has meaning when
used in comparing the relative merit or ranking of two individuals.
As with other $Values, the Weaned Calf Value includes assumptions, as listed
|Base Calf Price ||$180 per cwt
|Cow/Heifer Mix ||80%/20%
|Cow Weight ||1300 lb
|Feed energy cost ||$.115 per MCal NEm
Cow Energy Value ($EN)
A Cow Energy Value ($EN) is available to assess differences in cow energy
requirements, expressed in dollars per cow per year, as an expected dollar
savings difference in future daughters of sires. A larger value is more
favorable when comparing two animals (more dollars saved on feed energy
expenses). Components for computing the cow $EN savings difference include
lactation energy requirements and energy costs associated with differences in
mature cow size.
In the above example, the expected difference in cow energy savings per cow per
year for future daughters of the two animals is +11.07 (15.75 - 4.68 = +11.07).
$VALUES ($Feedlot, $Grid, and $Beef)
Although feedlot and carcass merit are important components of the beef
production chain, it should be stressed to producers that the $Values ($F, $G,
$B) are not to be used as a single selection criterion, since the indexes only
encompass postweaning and carcass performance.
- Feedlot Value ($F), Grid Value ($G), and Beef Value ($B) are postweaning bio-economic
$Values, expressed in dollars per head, to assist commercial beef producers by adding simplicity to
genetic selection decisions. The $Values were developed primarily to serve as selection tools for
commercial bull buyers.
- $Values are reported in $/head, as illustrated below:
$Values have meaning when used in comparing the relative merit or ranking of two
individuals. Each sire listed in this report is comparable to every other sire.
For example, Bull 1 has a $B value of +26.00, and Bull 2 has a $B value of
+16.00. If these bulls were randomly mated to a comparable set of females and
the calves were exposed to the same environment, on the average you would expect
Bull 1's progeny to have a $10-per-head advantage in postweaning performance and
carcass merit over Bull 2's progeny
(+26 - +16 = +10 per head).
$Feedlot, $Grid, and $Beef Values incorporate available carcass EPDs, converted into
economic terms, incorporating industry-relevant components for feedlot
performance and carcass merit. These base components used to calculate $Values
for any registered animal are:
|Feedlot assumptions: ||
|Time on feed||160 Days
|Ration cost||$295 per dry ton
|Fed market||$130 per cwt. live
|Grid assumptions: ||
|Prime premium (above Choice) ||$14.00
|CAB premium (above Choice) ||$4.00
|YG 1 premium ||$4.50
|YG 2 premium||$2.25
|YG 3 base||$0.00
|YG 4 & 5 discount||$-18.00
|Avg. carcass wt., lb.||816
Feedlot Value ($F)
Feedlot Value ($F), an index value expressed in dollars per head, is the expected average
difference in future progeny performance for postweaning merit compared to progeny of other
sires. $F incorporates weaning weight (WW) and yearling weight (YW) EPD along with feed intake
data, genomic information and trait interrelationships. Typical feedlot gain value and cost differences are accounted for
in the final calculations, along with a standard set of industry values for days on feed, ration
costs and cash cattle price.
Grid Value ($G)
Grid Value ($G), an index value expressed in dollars per head, is the expected
average difference in future progeny performance for carcass grid merit compared
to progeny of other sires. The $G combines quality grade and yield grade
attributes, and is calculated for animals with carcass EPDs. A three-year rolling average is used to establish typical
industry economic values for quality grade and yield grade schedules. Quality
grade premiums are specified for Prime, CAB and Choice carcasses, as well as
Select and Standard discounts. Yield grade premiums are incorporated for YG 1
and YG 2 (high-yielding carcasses), with discounts for YG 4 and YG 5 (low red
meat yields). Grid impact in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) and dollars per
head is calculated from the yield and quality grade components, and then
combined to arrive at the $G.
$G combines both $QG and $YG, and may be the best carcass decision tool for
focusing on quality and red meat yield simultaneously.
- Quality Grade ($QG) $QG represents the quality grade segment of the
economic advantage found in $G. $QG is intended for the specialized user wanting
to place more emphasis on improving quality grade. The carcass marbling (Marb)
EPD contributes to
- Yield Grade ($YG) $YG represents the yield grade segment of the economic
advantage found in $G. $YG is intended for the specialized user wanting to place
more emphasis on red meat yield. It provides a multi-trait approach to encompass
ribeye, fat thickness and weight into an economic value for red meat yield.
Beef Value ($B)
Beef Value ($B) facilitates what almost every beef breeder is already seeking -
simultaneous multi-trait genetic selection for feedlot and carcass merit, based
on dollars and cents. $B represents the expected average dollar-per-head
difference in the progeny postweaning performance and carcass value compared to
progeny of other sires. The $B value is comprised of two pieces: $F and $G. To
align $B with marketplace realities and appropriately value carcass weight in
Angus cattle, the following factors are incorporated into the final calculations
$B is not simply the sum of $F and $G.
Projected carcass weight and its value are calculated, along with production
$B takes into consideration any discount for heavyweight carcasses.
Final adjustments are made to prevent double-counting weight between feedlot and
The resulting $B value is not designed to be driven by one factor, such as
quality, red meat yield or weight. Instead, it is a dynamic result of the
application of commercial market values to Angus genetics for both feedlot and
Availability of $Values
Questions on American Angus Association performance programs can be directed to
firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-383-5100
- $Values on individual animals may be viewed at on individual animals may be viewed at
www.angus.org. Members and affiliates can also access $Values through
- An interactive application for Custom $Values ($W, $F, $G, $B) is available for
members and affiliates through AAA Login. Users can customize the economic
components to create tailored within-herd $Values for their given scenario. The
Custom $Values are designed for within-herd use in assisting commercial bull
buyers producing to a specified market.