Angus $Values

Dollar value indexes, or $Values, are a tool used to select for several traits at once based a specific breeding objective. An economic index approach takes into account genetic and economic values as well as the relationships between traits to select for profit. An index is challenging to develop, but the end result is easy to use, adding simplicity and convenience of a multi-trait approach.

$Values provide the opportunity for commercial producers to select for profitability given a specific breeding objective. Maternal weaned calf value ($M) and weaned calf value ($W) are expressed in dollars per head predicting pre-weaning profitability differences among different sire groups. Cow energy value ($EN) provides an opportunity to fine-tune the cow herd for costs associated with maternal milk and cow size. In addition, feedlot value ($F), grid value ($G) and beef value ($B) are economic index values, expressed in dollars per carcass, to assist commercial beef producers in selecting individuals profitable for terminal traits including feedlot gain and carcass merit.

Combined Value ($C) is an economic selection index, expressed in dollars per head, that aims to characterize profitability differences across the entire chain by combining two underlying breeding objectives that drive the Association’s maternal ($M) and terminal ($B) economic indices. Combining maternal and terminal traits into one economic selection index allows a producer to maximizing profitability by making genetic progress through several different traits.

$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 the 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. Angus Genetics Inc., the American Angus Association and Certified Angus Beef® alongside side industry-leader CattleFax work together to update these economic assumptions annually, which are derived from the previous 7-year market trend rolling average. As with expected progeny differences (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.

EPDs Influencing $Values

*PG, Post-Weaning Gain assess the gain differences from weaning to yearling.

$VALUES ($Maternal Weaned Calf Value, $Weaned Calf, and Cow $Energy)

As with other $Values, the Weaned Calf Value and Maternal Weaned Calf Value includes assumptions. The more influential assumptions are listed below:

Weaned steer calf$185 per cwt
Weaned heifer calf$169 per cwt
Hay Price (Alfalfa)$174 per ton
Hay Price (other)$130 per ton
Cow/Heifer herd mix80/20
Maternal Weaned Calf Value ($M)

Maternal weaned calf value ($M) is the most maternally-focused selection index currently available to Angus members and commercial users of Angus genetics. $M, expressed in dollars per head, aims to predict profitability differences in progeny due to genetics from conception to weaning. $M is built off of a self-replacing herd model where commercial cattlemen replace 25% of their breeding females in the first generation and 20% in subsequent generations. Remaining cull females and all male progeny are sold as feeder calves.

$M places greater emphasis on the cost side of commercial cow-calf production than any tool available in the past. Increased selection pressure on $M aims to decrease overall mature cow size while maintaining weaning weights consistent with today’s production. Under $M selection, less emphasis is placed on maternal milk, while heifer pregnancy and docility have an increased emphasis, and foot traits start to improve. The index finds cattle that are most profitable when producers receive no economic benefit for traits affecting post-weaning performance.

For example if Bull A has a $M of +75 and Bull B has a $M of +55 and both are mated to a comparable set of females, one would expect, on average, for Bull A’s progeny to be $20 more profitable per head for the cow/calf producer.

EPDs directly influencing the index include: calving ease direct and maternal, weaning weight, maternal milk, heifer pregnancy, docility, mature weight as well as foot angle and claw set.

Weaned Calf Value ($W)

Weaned calf value ($W) provides the expected dollar-per-head difference in future progeny preweaning performance from birth to weaning. $W assumes that producers retain 20% of their female progeny for replacements and sell the rest of their cull female and male progeny as feeder calves. Overtime, increased selection pressure on $W will increase weaning and yearling weight traits. As with any $Value, $W only has meaning when used in comparing the relative merit or ranking of two individuals.

EPDs directly influencing $W include: birth weight, weaning weight, maternal milk and mature cow size (MW).

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.

Cow Energy ($EN),
Savings, $/cow/year

  Cow Energy ($EN),
Savings, $/cow/year


In the above example, the expected difference in cow energy savings per cow per year for future daughters of the two animals is +11 (16 - 5 = +11).

Continuous selection for highly positive $EN animals, overtime, will result in cows with less overall mature size and maternal milk.

$VALUES ($Feedlot, $Grid, and $Beef)

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 with a higher value indicating greater profitability:

$F $G $B
Example +82 +44 +126

Although feedlot and carcass merit are important components of the beef production chain, it should be stressed to producers that $F, $G, or $B are not to be used as a single selection criterion, since the indexes only encompass postweaning and carcass performance.

$Feedlot, $Grid, and $Beef Values incorporate available gain, feed intake, and 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 (steer) Calf-fed/Yearling-fed236/165 Days
Yearling Steer$157 per cwt
Yearling Heifer$150 per cwt
Fed steer Dressed Delivered$203 per cwt. carcass
Ration Cost$194 per ton

Grid assumptions:

Quality components:
Prime premium (above Choice)$20.31 $/cwt
CAB premium (above Choice)$5.14 $/cwt
Choice-Select spread$-12.86 $/cwt
Standard discount$-36.88 $/cwt
Yield components:
YG 1 premium$5.80 $/cwt
YG 2-2.5 premium$3.07 $/cwt
YG 2.5-3 premium$2.75 $/cwt
YG 4 discount$-13.17 $/cwt
YG 5 discount$-18.90 $/cwt
Industry Ave Steer Carcass Weight879 lbs $/cwt
Heavyweight discount (900-1000lb)$-9.15 $/cwt
Heavyweight discount (1000-1050lb)$-15.44 $/cwt
Heavyweight discount (1050+ lb)$-35.57 $/cwt
Beef Value ($B)

Beef value ($B) facilitates simultaneous multi-trait genetic selection for feedlot and carcass merit. $B is a terminal index representing the expected average dollar-per-carcass difference in the progeny postweaning performance and carcass value compared to progeny of other sires. This index assumes commercial producers wean all male and female progeny, retain ownership of these animals through the feedlot phase and market these animals on a quality-based carcass grid. EPDs directly influencing $B include: weaning and yearling weight, dry matter intake, as well as carcass weight, marbling, ribeye area and fat.

$B only has meaning when two animals are compared against one another. For instance, if Bull A has a $B of +90 and Bull B has a $B of +120, one would expect, on average, the progeny of Bull B to be $30 ($120 - $90 = $30) more profitable per carcass due to feedlot gain and carcass merit assuming both bulls were randomly mated to comparable females.

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 carcass merit.

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 yearling weight (gain) and carcass weight along with feed efficiency traits, genomic information and trait interrelationships. The underlying objective assumes commercial producers will retain ownership of cattle through the feedlot phase and sell fed cattle on a carcass weight basis with no consideration of premiums or discounts for quality and yield grade.

Grid Value ($G)

Grid value ($G), an index value expressed in dollars per carcass, 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 seven-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 Yield Grade (YG) 1 and YG 2 (high-yielding carcasses), with discounts for YG 4 and YG 5 (low red meat yields).

The summation of $F and $G equates to $B.

Combined Value

Combined value ($C), expressed in dollars per head, includes all 15 traits involved in $M and $B. The breeding objective, which drives the $C model, is built around a 500 head commercial cowherd that replaces 20% of their breeding females per year with replacement heifers retained within their own herd. In addition, this same herd then retains ownership on these cull heifers and their steer mates through the feedlot and market those cattle on a quality-based carcass merit grid. Expected progeny differences (EPDs) directly influencing a combined index: calving ease direct (CED) and maternal (CEM), weaning weight (WW), yearling weight (YW), maternal milk (Milk), heifer pregnancy (HP), docility (DOC), mature cow weight (MW), foot angle (Angle), claw set (Claw), dry matter intake (DMI), marbling (Marb), carcass weight (CW), ribeye area (RE) and fat thickness (Fat).

$C is a linear combination of $M and $B. The simple formula to calculate $C on any animal is $C = $M + (1.297*$B). In the example below, Bull A and Bull B are compared head-to-head. As a result, Bull A and Bull B should produce progeny with similar profitability if heifers are being retained as replacements and remaining calves are fed and marketed on a carcass merit grid.

  $M $B $M + (1.297*$B) $C
Bull A +70 +127 70 + (1.297*127) +235
Bull B +51 +140 51 + (1.297*140) +233
Difference +2

The idea of combining maternal and terminal traits into one economic selection index allows a producer to make genetic progress in several different traits at once while accounting for the relationships among these traits which may pull costs and revenues in different directions. For example, continuing to increase WW, YW and CWT results in more saleable product, increasing revenue; however, it also drives up input costs across other segments of the operation. Mature cow size, for instance, is positively correlated to these three growth traits. As increased selection pressure on weaning, yearling and carcass weight continues, mature cow size will increase resulting in higher maintenance energy requirements increasing costs. $C recognizes these types of relationships and targets optimal level of genetic change in each of these traits that results in maximum profitability.

Availability of $Values

$Value Search

$Values on individual animals may be viewed at on individual animals may be viewed at Members and affiliates can also access $Values through AAA Login.

Questions on American Angus Association performance programs can be directed to or 816-383-5100