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Update on the NBCEC Decision Support System. R. Mark Enns Department of Animal Sciences Colorado State University. What is Decision Support?.

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Update on the nbcec decision support system l.jpg

Update on the NBCEC Decision Support System

R. Mark Enns

Department of Animal Sciences

Colorado State University

What is decision support l.jpg
What is Decision Support?

  • For many traits there are optimum levels of EPDs that are not the highest or lowest, but somewhere in between. The most valuable animal often represents a balance of EPDs for various traits.

    Richard M. Bourdon

    Understanding Animal Breeding

Current modeling approach l.jpg

Simulated Situation








Sire Summary


















& base mean





Base Cow-calf outputs & inputs


Simulated Cow-calf outputs & inputs

Current Modeling Approach


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Decision Support Model

  • Goals

    • User friendly and simple while remaining as accurate and powerful as possible

    • Alternative to Indexes

      • Allows producers to customize to fit their own production system

      • ‘Selection by Simulation’

    • Automated with online sire summaries

    • Include only traits which economically effect production

B. Brigham

Current model assumptions l.jpg
Current Model Assumptions

  • Developed for cow/calf production

  • Calves are sold at weaning

  • Cow herd reaches equilibrium

    • Simulates a herd of daughters

  • No breed effects

    • Eliminated with MBE

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Other Considerations

  • The system should not be used to compare bulls of differing breed compositions

    • Does not currently account for heterosis

  • Must be cognizant of the differences in EPD produced by each breed

    • Stayability

      • Ramifications of having/not having

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How important is reproductive ability?

  • The largest contributor to profitability of the cow/calf operation.

    • Ponzoni and Newman, 1989; Melton, 1995

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Net Income

Herd Stayability

Change in net income ($) per 1000 base cow herd -- stayability

Stayability EPD

Ert s used in the dss l.jpg

Sale weight

Weaning weight direct

Weaning weight maternal

Cow weight

Sale of cull cows

Yearling weight

Sale of open heifers

Maintenance energy req.

Number of cows

Feed costs

Heifer pregnancy and stayability

Age structure

WW of calves

number of animals for sale/replacements

ERT’s used in the DSS

Ert s used in the model and their influence l.jpg
ERT’s used in the model and their influence

  • Calving Ease

    • Direct and Maternal

      • Number of calves

      • Costs of assistance

  • Additional

    • Birth weight (part of growth curve—feed req.)

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Red Angus Example:Next release (beta)

Most complete set of EPD for the Economically Relevant Traits

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Scenario #2

  • Keep cow numbers constant

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Scenario #3

  • Herd only experiences 10% calving difficulty

    • All else constant

      • EPD

      • Costs

      • Prices received

Outcomes l.jpg


Customized selections for these particular management scenarios based on economics of those decisions

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Future additions

  • Price slide (only interface remaining)

  • Discounted gene flow

  • Post-weaning model (prototype done)

  • Heterosis effects/MBE EPD

  • Streamlining input of EPD

  • Risk analysis that accounts for differences in accuracy of EPD

    • Yearling vs proven sires