Feed Intake

Feed consumption has long been recognized as one of the most important factors in determining profitability of beef cattle production. The American Angus Association provides residual average daily gain (RADG) EPDs and dollar value indexes ($Values) like $F and $B on a weekly basis as genetic selection tools to better characterize postweaning efficiency.

The feed intake data used as part of the National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) includes feed intake results from cooperating breeders, bull test facilities and multiyear research projects funded by the American Angus Association and the Angus Foundation.

The evaluation procedures for conducting a genetic evaluation of feed intake were developed using these data in conjunction with other traits already analyzed in the Angus evaluation system, such as growth and ultrasound components. The end result is residual average daily gain (RADG) and pertinent $Values provided as a regular part of the American Angus Association’s suite of EPDs.

Feed Intake Guidelines

RADG Definition

RADG, expressed in pounds per day, is a predictor of a sire’s genetic ability for postweaning gain in future progeny compared to that of other sires, given a constant amount of feed consumed.

Use of the RADG EPD allows producers to characterize Angus genetics that will perform more efficiently in a postweaning feeding environment. It provides a balanced approach to identify cattle that, with a given quantity of feed, will still perform at industry acceptable levels. Individual feed intake data captured at efficiency collection facilities has the most sizable impact on improving the accuracy of the EPD. Leveraging the individual intake data and the genomic information on dry-matter intake in a weekly genetic evaluation will give Angus producers nearly “real time” selection of more feed efficient genetics.

$Values are expressed in dollars per head and represent an estimate of how future progeny of each sire are expected to perform, on average, compared to progeny of other sires in the database.

FAQ on Feed Intake EPD and the Feedlot Value Index ($F)

What’s happening?
The Feed Intake EPD will be incorporated into $F.

When is it happening?
December 5, 2014.

What’s the feed intake EPD?
The Feed Intake (FI) EPD is calculated in the background as a required precursor to the Residual Average Daily Gain (RADG) EPD. Though it is not visible along with the other more commonly known EPDs, it is available in AAA Login to the owner of those animals that have individual feed intake data (i.e. GrowSafe information).

Which $ Indexes will be impacted?
To obtain a better estimate of profitability through the feedyard, the FI EPD will be incorporated into the $F Index. $F and $G (Grid Value) together go into $B (Beef Value). In other words, $B is a terminal index that focuses on profitability through the feedyard and on the rail.

Why now?
When the indexes were first developed in 2004, very little feed-intake information was being collected and the RADG EPD did not exist. At that time, $F attempted to account for differences in feed efficiency by assuming that faster-gaining cattle are more efficient. There’s certainly a high correlation between growth and efficiency, but the relationship is not perfect.

Why is it important?
The goal of the $Value Indexes is to explain expected differences in profit for the various phases of production. Since the cost of feed has a major impact on the economics of cattle feeding, it’s important to estimate that cost as accurately as possible.
Also, it’s important to note in the last 10 years (since the development of the $-Value Indexes), the Angus breed has an increasing genetic trend for feed intake. Of course, this is expected as we’ve also seen an upward genetic trend for growth and carcass traits. However, incorporating FI into $F will give us a chance to moderate the trend for FI while continuing to improve for growth and carcass (much like has been done for BW and the other growth traits since the development of EPDs for those traits).

Economic Assumptions

AAA Login allows members to access information by obtaining a unique and private password. Once members have their password, they can submit their performance measures and other information and view their updated information online. Information on the Web site is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

AIMS is the record-keeping software created for the American Angus Association and its members. Once a member purchases AIMS, a listing of their herd is sent to them on disk, and they can submit weights and manage their herd via AIMS and e-mail. AIMS is available only to American Angus Association members and affiliates. For more information or to order, contact the AIMS department at the address below or go to

American Angus Association
AIMS Department
3201 Frederick Ave.
Saint Joseph, MO 64506