Santa Gertrudis Breeders International is committed to providing its members and their cattle buying customers with selection and decision-making information based on sound science and cutting-edge technology. Due to the increased amount of performance related data submitted over the last 5- year period, the Board of Directors approved a recalibration of the breed’s genetic evaluation and the development of new selection indices to replace the association’s original indices, $ Growth and Carcass Rank. The Performance Committee reviewed and ratified the recalibration and indices late last month and the January EPD download utilizes the updated configuration. As expected, there was some movement, however, the recalibrated information presents a more accurate picture of an animal’s genetic merit.
Fertility EPDs (heifer pregnancy and breed back) are being calculated but not being reported on pedigree certificates or included on the public search. The Performance Committee has initiated a campaign to encourage SGBI members to submit pregnancy and breed back data. Inclusion of more records will strengthen the breed’s fertility data, resulting in fertility EPDs with greater accuracy. Fertility EPDs are scheduled to be added back to the suite of reported traits later this year.
The association’s 3 new indices provide selection and decision-making information to SGBI’s cattle buying customers and are designed to apply to different business models.
- SGBI Balanced Index: This index assumes that producers are keeping replacement heifers from the bulls they purchase. It further assumes that producers are either 1) marketing carcasses on the grid or 2) that buyers of their feeder calves base pricing on feedlot and carcass performance. Most large cow-calf operations fall into this category.
- SGBI Cow/Calf Index: This index assumes that producers are keeping replacement heifers from the bulls they purchase. However, it assumes all calves are marketed at weaning or soon thereafter. It further assumes that feeder calf buyers don’t base decisions on feedlot or carcass performance, making these traits less relevant to profitability. Many small to mid-sized herd operations fall into this category.
- SGBI Terminal Index: This index assumes that producers are not keeping replacement heifers from the bulls they purchase. It assumes that producers are marketing carcasses on the grid, making carcass traits relevant to their business.
Selection indices will be reported as a percentile ranking (top 1% – bottom 99%) and will replace the association’s original indices, $ Growth and Carcass Rank, on pedigrees.
The Performance Committee also approved utilizing the Balanced Index as SGBI’s American Red qualification. To qualify for the RAAA-SGBI collaboration, steers and heifers must be sired by registered Santa Gertrudis bulls averaging in the top 50 percentile of the SGBI Balanced Index.
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