For the past two and a half years, the American Simmental Association has been working with Dr. Jon Beever from the University of Illinois on a specific genetic condition called oculocutaneous hypopigmentation or OH. Animals with OH have uniformly light colored irises coupled with an unusual chocolate coat color. This is not a lethal condition. In fact, the effects of OH seem to be mainly cosmetic. OH is a simple recessive trait meaning an animal must inherit two copies of the mutation to display the trait.
Recently Dr. Beever has found the causative mutation and developed a diagnostic test for OH. Using this diagnostic, an archive of ~245 SimGenetic bulls were tested for OH. The incidence of this particular mutation is very low in the Simmental animals screened to date. The mutation can be traced back to an Angus bull, Sir WMS Warrant, which was likely misdiagnosed as a heterochromia irides HI carrier. Although this mutation possibly originated from the Angus breed, out of over 1,300 Angus animals tested, only one (Sir WMS Warrant) has been identified as a carrier of OH.
Due to the non-lethal nature of this condition and the low frequency of the mutation in the Simmental population, the ASA will not require any testing for the trait. The ASA will add OH to TraitTrac and OH test results will populate the pedigrees similar to other traits. This genetic trait will be treated the same as other largely cosmetic traits like coat color and horned/polled.
Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation (OH)
Further investigation, including the genotyping of frequently used sires, indicates the mutation is present at a relatively low frequency in the Simmental population. This is consistent with the very low frequency of affected calves reported over the three year period. Examination of carrier pedigrees reveals the Simmental bull, PVF-BF BF26 BLACK JOKER (ASA #1930631), as the most popular recent ancestor with DNA available for testing. However, several of the genotyped carriers do not have this sire in their pedigrees indicating the mutation could be significantly older. Considering this information and the prior description of similar traits in other breeds, namely heterochromia irides (HI) in Angus cattle, the possible origin of this mutation was investigated by obtaining samples from known HI carriers. Although there are very few DNA samples available from these older animals, a sample was obtained for the Angus sire SIR WMS WARRANT (AAA #9196894). Indeed, WARRANT was found to be a carrier of this newly identified mutation. Therefore, it is most likely that the mutation was introduced into the Simmental population by the use of Angus cattle during the development of black purebreds. The subsequent screening of more than 1,200 Angus sires indicates the mutation has most likely been eliminated from the current Angus population via pedigree selection in the early 1980s.
Based on these data, the scientific literature was reviewed in an effort to understand if there were documented features that clearly distinguish between the oculocutaneous hypopigmentation (OH) and heterochromia irides (HI) traits, both of which had been previously described. It is our opinion that the characteristics displayed by these affected Simmental calves is more representative of OH than it is of HI. Additionally, examination of the human and mouse literature also supports this designation. Thus, we suggest that if both phenotypes exist in the cattle population, WARRANT should be designated as an OH carrier. Further screening of current descendants of Angus HI carriers is being conducted but has not identified any additional carriers of this mutation within the Angus population.
Information contained in reports and literature from the 70s and 80s, and in these current Simmental cases, indicate that this abnormal phenotype has little or no effect on the viability or performance of affected individuals. However, in some cases, a possible sensitivity to light has been reported. Thus, we suggest this mutation be monitored similarly to other non-lethal traits such as coat color or horned/polled. As with any recessive condition, breeders can avoid the appearance of affected calves by restricting matings between carrier animals.
Ultrasound Certification and Data Submission RequirementsCertification Requirements: Ultrasound measurement provides an effective means to improve the accuracy of your carcass EPDs. If you don’t submit your data to the ASA, however, it is essentially of no value for genetic evaluation and improvement. If you spend money to ultrasound you might as well get your data collected in the manner required for submission to the ASA.
The ASA requires that all ultrasound data be collected by an Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC) Certified Field Technician and read by a UGC Certified Interpreter - usually a lab technician. This can be accomplished by selecting a UGC certified field technician that submits their images to a centralized processing lab for interpretation. The lab then forwards the results to the ASA. The ASA also accepts data directly from technicians who are UGA certified to both scan and interpret.
Following are testimonials from several breeders who have been actively pursuing Performance Advocate status for their herds.
After six years, ASA’s Performance Advocate (PA) program, which recognizes those breeders who consistently submit perfor mance data on six different traits, continues to expand. In the first year, a single breeder reached a perfect score of 600. During the second year, perfect scores expanded to eight breeders, to 13 breeders after three years, 19 after four years, 23 after five years. The current listing shows 29 per fect scores.
In addition, 64 other breeders recorded scores between 500 and 599. The six traits, for which all data must be reported, are: calving ease, birth
weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, yearling hip height and ultrasound. The maximum score for each of the six traits is 100, with the PA score calculated as the sum of the scores for each trait. PA scores listed in this issue are for the Fall, 2013 and Spring, 2014 calf crops.
R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, TX
The R.A. Brown Ranch is a progressive family ranching business that has an excellent reputation for producing some of the most superior cattle and Quarter Horses in the business. The ranch was established in 1895, and is now in its fifth generation under the direction of Donnell and Kelli Brown in Throckmorton, TX. The R.A. Brown Ranch raises, develops and sells 600 SimAngus™, Angus and Red Angus bulls plus several horses for their annual production sale on the second Wednesday of each October. The R.A. Brown Ranch has been in the SimGenetics business and involved in its leadership since the beginning. With ASA #79 they have registered cattle every year. Rob Brown, Donnell’s father served on the ASA board for many years and as president in 1974. Donnell currently serves as Chairman of the ASA/RAAA joint Technical Advancement Committee. The ranch may be best known for their unique way of testing bulls for performance and efficiency, while developing them for longevity on the rocky hills of northwest Texas. The number one goal of the R.A. Brown Ranch is to improve the profitability and sustainability of their commercial customers. Their mission statement says, “We are continually striving to improve the efficiency of converting God’s forage into safe, nutritious and great tasting beef to better feed His people.”
Driggers Simmental Farm, Glennville, GA
Driggers Simmental Farm is a small cattle operation, located in Southeastern Georgia, about 60 miles west of Savannah. Our breeding program concentrates on producing Simmental and SimAngus™ bulls for commercial cattle operations. Though our operation is not big in scale, it is big on the belief that data must be collected and passed along to the American Simmental Association on each and every cow and calf in our herd.
Driggers Simmental Farm has always been about improving performance of cattle. They believe that unless you track performance of individual animals in your herd and make diligent use of that data, your program will never move forward and will never offer your bull buying customers seedstock that can help improve their bottom line.
We believe that skillful use of EPDs and Performance Indexes by conscientious ASA members have been the driving force in making Simmental Cattle a major player in the beef industry today. What has made the EPDs and indexes such a powerful tool is the reliable phenotypic data that is turned into the ASA on each calf crop. Without accurate and reliable data on each and every animal in your herd, EPDs and indexes can’t project a true picture of an individual animal. When a prospective bull buyer looks at a sale catalog, we want them to get a true and accurate picture of what they are looking at and how that animal can improve their bottom line. Ultimately, the beef consumer is the winner in all this data collection. It helps to make sure that each and every beef purchase will result in an enjoyable eating experience and keep beef on the tables of U.S. consumers.
Ellingson Simmentals, Dahlen, ND
Ellingson Simmentals was established in 1990, by Terry Ellingson and his father, Trueman. We are a diversified farming operation, raising wheat, barley, pinto beans and corn along with our cattle. We are located in northeastern North Dakota, halfway between Grand Forks and
Through the use of embryo transfer and artificial insemination, the herd has grown to 120 purebred cows of both black and red color.
Our goal has always been to produce high performance cattle with calving ease, high carcass traits and balanced EPDs. The Performance Advocate program has allowed us to focus on specific traits to improve our herd. Through the use of performance records, ultrasound, and DNA testing, we strive to provide our customers with the most data possible when purchasing breeding stock at our production sale on the third Saturday in February. We have found that the ultrasound data collected on our heifers has proven to be as important as the data from the bull calves. Because of our focus on performance data, several bulls we have raised have had national impact on the breed including Ellingson
Legacy M229 “Olie”, Ellingson Dominator W905, Ellingson Black Perfector, Ellingson Klondike Y123 and Ellingson Ideal X13.
Salinas Farms, Marion, MI
Salinas Farms is located five miles south of Marion in North Central Michigan. Three generations work together: Andres and Doris, Andy and Lynn
and our son, Andrew. We are proud members of Allied Genetic Resources, Great Lakes Beef Connection Bull Sale, Value by Design Female Sale and New Day Genetics Bull Sale. We enjoy the partnerships we share with JC Simmentals and J Bar J Ranch in these ventures and the comraderie with the Miller and Zinser families. Our herd size is around 175. We market a potload of feeder calves in the fall through Superior Livestock Auction in addition to the bulls and bred heifers we sell. We raise hay, wheat, soybeans and corn.
It is important to us to collect accurate data on our cattle and have found ASA’s THE program to be a great way to manage the data in
addition to our Cow Sense Management Program. The data is input into the Cow Sense program and then uploaded to the ASA to prevent
double entry. There is always a little cleanup to do as twins don’t transfer very well and are entered manually. The ASA system and reports that we generate assist us in making more informed decisions regarding the improvement of operation. It is our goal to provide cattle to the industry that excel in calving ease, maternal efficiency and carcass traits.
Dearmon Fork Farms, Millry, AL
Dearmon Fork Farms (DFF) is truly a family business owned and operated by Ethan Dearmon, with help from his wife, Cindy, mother Myron and several part-time farm hands including grandkids Neilan and Riley Kate. Located in Washington County in southwest Alabama, DFF was originally a commercial operation until 2007, when Ethan purchased his first three registered Simmental heifers from Jamie McConnell at Sunshine Farms, Clanton, AL. The herd now consists of registered Simmental, SimAngus™, Angus and a small number of commercial cows. Their production design utilizes A.I. with the 7-day co-synch protocol. Strong emphasis is placed on planned mating with data collection and comparison. This formula delivers high performance calves with optimum expectations and creates the ability to consistently improve herd genetics. With 70 to 80% early season calves, it also allows a desirable selection for replacement heifers and seedstock bulls. The success of this work was evident at the 2014 Southern Excellence sale with DFF Big Eye A20, ASA #2846869 being the top selling SimAngus bull, sold to Tom Nelson of Wibaux, MT, and currently partnered with Whelan Farms and DFF. Big Eye A20 ranks in the top 30% for weaning and milk; top 25% for yearling; top 20% CE, $API, $TI and marbling; top 2% REA and is enrolled in the carcass merit program. This bull is an excellent example of the farm’s goal to produce quality cattle with sound genetics. During the past eight years, Ethan and his family have worked hard and spent long hours researching, planning and relying on experience and knowledge of cattle to develop an improved herd base from farmraised calves. Everyone at Dearmon Fork Farms loves farm life and enjoys seeing the new calves hit the ground growing.
Water’s Edge Farm, Franklin, TN
Water’s Edge Farm is a seedstock cattle operation situated in the rolling hills near historic Leiper’s Fork located just outside Franklin, about thirty minutes south of Nashville. It is owned by Sam and Leslie Lynch, with Chris Martin as farm manager. Since 2010, the focus of the breeding program has been to create production-oriented, black baldy SimAngus cattle utilizing top Angus and Simmental genetics. Both artificial insemination and embryo transfer are utilized along with natural service using our herd sire, Gibbs 1084Y Tux & Tails. Performance measures are
collected through the American Simmental Association’s Total Herd Enrollment program, and all registered Angus females are also enrolled in AHIR through the American Angus Association.
Cattle are marketed by private treaty as well as through participation in the Martin Farms Open House at the Farm production sale each
September and Tennessee Simmental Association-sanctioned sales, including the Tennessee Fall Showcase Sale and the Tennessee Beef Agribition. Bulls have been tested and marketed through the University of Tennessee Experiment Station and the Alabama BCIA test at Cullman,
Alabama, and ten bulls are currently being fed in western Missouri through New Day Genetics. Water’s Edge is planning an inaugural production
sale, Black Tie & Blue Jeans Sale, to be held at the farm April 30, 2016.
Allen’s 5X Ranch, Armstrong, IL
The Allen Family Farm, Six Bar R, membership number 4895, was established in the early 1970s. Over the years it has branched out to KA Cattle, AKA Livestock, and Allen’s 5X. Part of the original herd remains in the family today. Some of the successes of the family — 1981 6 Bar
R Signals Image National Champion Simmental Bull; 2005 Ron Allen was named Illinios Pioneer Breeder; 2006 WHCC Angels Dream National Champion Female in Denver; 2010 KA Shamoo was named National Champion Female in Denver, 2013. A daughter of Angels Dream, KA Dream Come True (Dreams), was National Bred and Owned Champion and Reserve Grand Champion overall, 2012, 2013, 2015 Rick Hafner Supreme Champion Individual at Illinois State Fair; 2012 Purchased Infamous One Eyed Jack. For the last 30 years, the Allen Family has been breeding
Simmental cattle, strongly believing in cow families and accurate weights and dates. Roger Allen served on the original PTP Committee, believing strongly in the THE Program. Roger has also judged several State Fairs, Junior Regionals and National Shows. Over time we have seen a lot of changes in the Simmental Breed. Today, the Allens farm includes more than 2,000 acres, runs approximately 200 commercial cows, focusing on a few select donors and embryo transplants, a 5,000-head feedlot, and a meat-processing plant. Six Bar R and AKA Livestock are looking forward to their first on-line show cattle sale October 20, 2015. One thing remains the same: Simmentals are here to stay.
South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
The South Dakota State University Cow-Calf Research and Education Unit (CCREU) plays a key role in serving the needs of students and beef cattle producers in South Dakota and across the region. Students enrolled in numerous courses in the Department of Animal Science
have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in beef cattle production at the facility. In addition to courses, cattle from the CCREU are also used for the SDSU Little International, various 4-H and FFA activities, and Extension field days. Cattle produced at the CCREU are also integral to the research conducted by SDSU faculty and students. In 2016, the CCREU will be moving into a new, state-of-the-art facility just northwest of campus. The new facility will strengthen SDSU’s rank among the top universities in beef cattle teaching and research. Construction of the new
facility is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in December of 2015. The CCREU calves approximately 110 Angus and SimAngus™
females annually. For decades, selection at the CCREU has focused on producing high-performance, functional cattle that fit in both seedstock and commercial operations. Recently, SDSU has produced three bulls that are now available through national semen suppliers. S D S Graduate 006X, S D S Alumni 115X, and S D S In Force 112Y have made significant impacts on the beef industry. (information provided by Dr. Cody Wright.)
|Economic Traits||Simmental Ranking Among Continental Breeds||Angus Ranking Among British Breeds|
|Calving Ease||First (Tie)||First|
|Post Wean Gain||First||First|
|Pounds of Retail Product||Second||First|
|Shear Force||First (Tie)||First|
|Feed Efficiency by Weight Gain||First||Second|
|Feed Efficiency by Marbling||First||First|
|Feed Efficiency by Retail Product||First||Second|
|Feed Efficiency by Days||Second||Second|
|Maternal Calving Ease||First||Second|
|Maternal Weaning Weight||Second||First|