Weaning and Dam Data: What to Know

By Performance Programs | American Angus Association
With fall quickly approaching and spring calves soon to be weaned, it's good 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 get ready for 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 to process carcass ultrasound data.

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 at 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
  • An optimal time for collecting foot scores on dams is while working pairs. 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. 

These records are valuable beyond a management perspective. The measures directly influence EPDs such as weaning weight (WW), Maternal Milk (Milk), Mature Weight (MW), and $Values including Maternal Weaned Calf Value ($M), Weaned Calf ($W), Cow Energy Value ($EN) and Combined Value ($C).

Please call the Association at 816-383-5100 if you have questions about weaning data or dam data. Staff members are happy to serve you with additional resources and advice as needed.
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