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Keeping Good Records - Jester
Visual evaluation of livestock, the age old method recorded in the Bible (Ezekiel 34:17), can only be improved upon by perfect data. The eye ball method of judging cattle is very exacting by the trained eye, yet even better with perfect data. Both are a marriage for the serious herdsman -- the professional who really wants to know.
At Dickinson Cattle Co Inc the first registered cattle were purchased in 1967. Not owning a cattle scales, every calf was weighed at the county sale barn or tied to the back of a trailer and weighed free standing on a feed store truck scales. As a result of these early evaluations some of the great foundation cattle were determined good, and used seriously -- others were sold for hamburger.
From 1967 to 2012 thousands of DCCI cattle have been measured and weighed. As a result, small increments of improvement have been recorded annually.
Single factor selection is a planned breeding method where one single factor is determined "all-important" and other factors are either not considered or believed to be of minimal interest. To have a goal of one single factor makes success in that one trait much easier. It totally lowers the bar.
To add multiple value-factors reduces the success rate on all traits, makes the progress slower, but may in the long run create far more quality and diverse marketing appeal. Each must decide how high the genetic bar is planned for their own program.
To illustrate, if one weighs every animal and dedicates future breeding 100% to weight increase, ignoring traits like disposition, horn growth, color, correct structure, etc., then most likely weight will rapidly increase, but the other traits will go down the tube.
Tight line breeding of brothers to sisters is a way to increase consistency and lock in family traits, but also locks out opportunities available by out-crossing to unrelated families with better virtue. Line breeding historically is riddled with disappointments and defects.
At Dickinson Cattle Co Inc (attached) is the normal record keeping form. Since computers became available a world of extended records can be retained. To evaluate the DCCI records, not just one form of animal ID, but actually 4 are used, being a hot iron holding brand, a hot iron ID brand number, a bangs ID # and a bangs ear tattoo. Every vaccination, weight, measurement, worming, service sire, AI date, calving records and birth weights are recorded.
Beyond computer data is a very serious eye-ball evaluation for color value, conformation, soundness considerations and the Temple Grandin exit score for disposition calculations.
It is not just about raising great cattle, but more seriously about knowing precisely how it was done, and how it can be repeated.
There is no question that many great cattle have been raised with no weights, no measurements and not even a yellow tablet for record keeping. However, in today's competitive business, don't bet your future cattle profits on non-documented, non-recorded, or even non-registered cattle for a happy profit.
No one is forced to keep any records, but beware, intelligent buyers WILL buy from ranches with complete accurate records. The day of "drive-by" purchases -- "shoot-from-the-hip" decisions is over....... ended.
Registered Texas Longhorns since 1967
DCCI~~~ Purveyor of “one owner” quality Cattle.
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