Breed Improvement

Canadian Balanced Index

Applying EPDs for all these traits into selection and breeding decisions can be challenging. Therefore, the Canadian Angus Association has worked to develop an Economic Selection Index that includes the EPDs for all traits. Traits are weighted in the index based on their economic impact on the Canadian commercial operation.

Basically, indexes help producers use EPDs to balance traits. Balancing traits can be complex. Not all traits make an equal contribution to profitability, and some traits counteract each other (e.g. post-weaning growth and cow size/feed requirements). Other traits are important to a certain threshold, then there is less benefit in going any further (e.g. calving ease) or even a direct cost (e.g. milk production).

A well-constructed index can help streamline the process of selecting cattle for breeding. It is not intended to replace individual trait EPDs (which will still be available) or to tell breeders how to breed. An index can help breeders focus on cattle that will tend to be more profitable under Canadian production systems and markets.

 


What is included in the
Canadian Balanced Index:

Growth Traits
Birth Weight EPD
Weaning Weight EPD
Milk EPD
Yearling Weight EPD
Residual Daily Gain EPD

Maternal Traits
Calving Ease Direct EPD
Calving Ease Maternal EPD
Heifer Pregnancy EPD
Docility EPD
Mature Weight EPD
Foot Angle EPD
Foot Claw EPD

Carcass Traits
Marbling EPD
Rib Eye Area EPD
Back Fat EPD

cows-field

The index is expressed in terms of Canadian dollars and reflects the expected difference in profits between bulls’ progeny.

For example:

Bull A CBI = $250
Bull B CBI = $150

On average, progeny from Bull A will be $100 more profitable in a Canadian commercial operation than the progeny from Bull B.

If you have any questions about the new Canadian Angus Association Balanced Index please do not hesitate to contact the Association’s Director of Science and Technology, Kajal Devani at email or 403-537-5604.

NOTES AND RESOURCES

The Canadian Balanced Index will officially be launched later this year.

For the commercial producer—who likely purchases bulls and thinks about EPDs on only one day of the year—it is a useful overall guide that simplifies the complexity of multiple EPDs.