Beef Improvement Records is a service provided through performance programs at the American Angus Association to assist purebred and commercial cattle producers in making progress through genetics. The level of participation is in the hands of the producer, but the dynamic performance system has benefits to all users.
For years, registered Angus breeders have capitalized on progress through performance by enrolling and participating in the Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) program.
AHIR is available for registered Angus breeders who are serious about making genetic progress in their herds through the use of performance records. The records submitted to the Association through AHIR include weights and measures, as well as carcass and ultrasound data. The records are stored along with millions of other records in the Association's database, the largest beef cattle database in use. The records submitted are utilized in the Angus National Cattle Evaluation to calculate selection tools such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and $Value Indexes. These tools are then provided to Association members and their customers and can be used to make informed breeding decisions.
Commercial producers with interest in Angus genetics have the Angus Beef Record Service (BRS) as an opportunity to record performance data at all production levels on their cow herds and calf crops, regardless of breed composition. The program provides a unique opportunity for you to evaluate your commercial cattle productivity by tying to the 40 years of performance data maintained by the American Angus Association. Records are summarized to provide adjusted measures and ratios; however, EPDs are not generated on commercial cattle. Reports are generated by the Association to allow you to evaluate and compare the data, characterize your commercial cow herds, and work toward a higher-quality, more marketable product for your customer.
Cost of the program is $3.00 per calf assessed at the time of first weight submission, whether first weight is a birth or weaning weight. To enroll in Beef Improvement Records (AHIR) you will need to obtain an enrollment form by contacting the Performance Programs department at 816-383-5100 or click here . Once the enrollment form is received via fax or mail (signature is required on file), you will receive a preprinted calving and weaning report. If dams are not listed on this report (purchased, young replacement heifer or commercial dam), you may write those in the blank spaces provided at the end of the calving and weaning report form. Commercial dams require a herd ID and birth date. Commercial sires need only a herd ID. If submitting data online, new dams can be added by clicking the box 'Get Dam by Herd ID.'
If members of your family or business associates have cattle that run in the same herd, these cattle can be ratioed together and processed in the same contemporary groups by using 'main' and 'secondary' codes. One code will need to be designated as the main code. The others will be assigned as secondaries. The cattle in each herd will retain their rightful ownership. All performance data will be submitted by the main code and will be returned to the main code address. Indicate the secondary codes on the enrollment form.
The records submitted to the Association include breeding, calving, weaning and yearling performance, as well as carcass data and ultrasound measurements if available. Program participants can submit performance records three primary ways: electronically with the use of the Internet or with Angus Information Management Software (AIMS), or on paper via conventional mail. If producers are interested in submitting and/or viewing their data via the Internet, they can access the information through AAA Login at www.angusonline.org.
The Internet and AIMS are more efficient ways to use AAA Performance Programs. Both AIMS and AAA Login offer you the most current information on your herd and eliminate the "paper shuffle."
AAA Login at www.angusonline.org 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 www.angus.org/aims.
American Angus Association
3201 Frederick Ave.
Saint Joseph, MO 64506
For the most complete use of AHIR, it is advantageous to monitor and record your breeding inputs. Submission of records is strongly encouraged. Records include fields for breeding dates and AI sires, as well as pasture mating, with details on synchronization and pregnancy results. Future research will focus on the use of these records in Angus reproductive efficiency studies and development of genetic tools.
As your calves are born, it is important to weigh within 24 hours of birth using a scale and record the birth weight information on the Calving and Weaning Report. A calving ease score can be recorded on females calving. You will want to measure your calves' weaning weights when a group of them is near an average age of 205 days old. Weaning weights must be taken when an individual calf is between 120 and 280 days old. Once you have collected calving or weaning records, you will submit this information to the Association.
The Performance Programs department will process the calving and weaning information as part of the Association's database. The following items are available based on the customer preferences you choose for reports and summaries: a Weaning Summary that lists calves both by sire group and calf identification, a Yearling Report and an ultrasound barnsheet to record ultrasound information that is measured by a certified Centralized Ultrasound Processing (CUP) technician.
Establishing proper contemporary groups is essential in providing accurate and predictable performance records necessary to generate EPDs. A contemporary group is a set of two or more calves of the same sex and similar age that have been managed under similar practices. Contemporary groups should include as many animals as can be accurately compared. For more information about contemporary groups, access the Association Web site at www.angus.org, or contact the Performance Programs department.
Cows should be measured for weight, hip height and body condition score within 45 days of weaning. Cows without body condition scores will not be used in calculating mature weight and height EPDs. Only cows that wean a calf will be included in the mature size database.
Measurements on all animals should be taken between 320 and 440 days of age to be adjusted to 365 days. The group should average as close to 365 days as possible. Enter those weights and measures (scrotal circumference, temperament, yearling height) on the Yearling Report, and submit to the Association.
These ultrasound images are collected by a UGC certified field technician between 320 and 440 days of age for bulls and 320 and 460 days for heifers. Weaning weights submitted prior to the scanning date are required to process ultrasound data. The ultrasound field technician sends the images to one of the American Angus Association's authorized ultrasound processing labs for interpretation by a UGC certified lab technician, along with the barnsheet generated when weaning weights are submitted. If you do not have a barnsheet, contact the Performance Programs department. The interpreted records from the scans are then sent to the Association for adjustments, EPD calculations and summaries that are provided to the breeders.