Weaning and Dam Data: What to Know

By Briley Richard | American Angus Association

With fall quickly approaching and spring calves soon to be weaned, it’s a good time to review what data points should be collected at this time. Records collected during weaning provide incredible opportunities to assess productivity of the pair, costs and adjust management as needed. Additionally, weaning time can serve as a point to make initial selection and culling decisions. 


Below are some reminders for weaning data collection to help ease the process and set you up for a successful, robust data submission: 


Weaning Weight Data: 

  • Wean between 120-280 days of age.
  • Each individual calf must be weighed separately.
  • For calves to be eligible for the same contemporary group, weaning dates cannot be more than three days apart.
  • Weaning weights are required for carcass ultrasound data to process.

Code Reminders:  

  • Management codes indicate whether an animal had creep feed available or not and are required for data to process 
  • Group codes separate groups of calves based on different management. Calves managed the same should have the same group code. Group codes are required for weaning weights to process. To learn more about group codes, watch the Angus University Contemporary Group webinar. 


Dam Data at Calf Weaning:  

  • Cow weight and body condition score must be recorded within +/- 45 days of calf weaning date and are used to calculate mature-size EPDs.
  • The cow’s calf must also have a weaning weight recorded. 
  • Any cow weight without a body condition score will not be used in the National Cattle Evaluation. 

Dam Data Reminder: 

  • While working pairs is an optimal time to collect foot scores on dams. For more information on foot score guidelines, click here 
  • If culling, record the date and reason for culling. 


DNA Sampling:

In tandem with data collection often comes registration.

  • Collecting DNA via blood cards, hair cards and Allflex Tissue Sample Units (TSUs) are all acceptable methods for collection. For more information on DNA sampling, click here. 


Beyond using these records solely from a management perspective, these measures directly influence EPDs such as weaning weight (WW), Maternal Milk (Milk), Mature Weight (MW), $Values including Maternal Weaned Calf Value ($M), Weaned Calf ($W), Cow Energy Value ($EN) and Combined Value ($C).  


If any questions arise, call the Association at 816-383-5100. The staff is happy to help and guide you to helpful resources. 

American Angus Association | 3201 Frederick Ave, Saint Joseph, MO 64506 | 816-383-5100 | ©Copyright 2022, All rights reserved.