As a Carcass Merit Program cooperator herd, ASA tests a number of young, unproven, high prospect sires through artificial insemination on the cattle within the cooperator’s herd. The purpose of this is to obtain data on the progeny of the sires in order to improve accuracy on the sires EPD’s and adjust the EPD’s according to how the progeny perform. This allows bull owners and genetic companies to identify the high prospect sires and high-quality genetics early on in the sire’s life. Also, by improving the accuracy on the EPD’s, the sires become more predictable and marketable.
Incentives for Cooperator’s
There are a number of incentives for cooperators within the Carcass Merit Program. A number of herds have had a great deal of success with the program and have been very satisfied. Here are the reasons:
- Free semen from the industries top herd sire prospects
- Cooperators have the option to retain all or some of the females produced from the program (cooperators must decide whether or not they will retain heifers prior to breeding)
- ASA will pay $60/A.I. sired carcass (obviously this does not include any retained cattle that aren’t harvested and ASA does not receive carcass data on)
- All cows in the cooperator herd will be put in ASA’s database which will provide EPD’s for every female in the database. This provides a unique opportunity in which a commercial producer can make selection and culling decisions within the cowherd based on EPD’s. This is extremely rare (CMP cooperators have some of the only commercial cows with EPD’s in the nation).
- Cooperators will get carcass data back on all the calves harvested through the program
- Only bulls with high calving ease EPD’s or low birth weight EPD’s are used on heifers.
- All cows in the herd need, at the very least, birth year and approximate breed make-up (we would like all additional information and it would allow us to provide cooperators with more accurate information)
- All cows must be individually identified
- ASA sets up all matings in a random fashion so that the test produces unbiased, accurate results
- ASA will work too and typically can provide bulls that fit the general criteria of your herd (ex. black, polled, etc.). However, ASA must only use the bulls that are enrolled in the program.
- At least two sires must be used per contemporary group (herd) and ASA may, and most likely will, use several sires per contemporary group to provide better, more accurate test results
-Use Individual Identification
-Collect Birth Weights
-Collect Calving Ease Scores
-Collect Weaning Weights
ASA needs a guarantee that all carcass data will be obtained in an accurate, painless and timely fashion (this is typically done through retained ownership or partial ownership and that is what ASA would prefer). The measurements ASA must have are:
There are several aspects to an operation that makes becoming a cooperator herd much easier. ASA seeks herds with these traits but does not necessarily reject herds without these traits.
- Current A.I. program and facilities established (obviously if these aren’t already established they must be upon entering the program)
- History or willingness to retain ownership of cattle
- History of accurate and consistent record keeping (if producers do not already they must be willing to commit to doing so upon entering the program)
The Carcass Merit Program is in high demand for fall calving herds. ASA has more spring calving cooperator herds and would like fall calving herds as we are short of opportunities to test bulls in the fall. ASA can always use herds that are willing to test red bulls as many of the cooperator herds prefer to test black bulls. ASA is always excited to enroll herds that will go 100% terminal with their calves to test the occasional but rare horned or scurred sire as well as any red sires that don’t get tested in our multi-color or red herds.
The American Simmental Association has a history of working with universities and other research programs. We must not jeopardize our test but if ASA and university goals can coincide we are happy to consider cooperating with universities or research groups to conduct additional research.
ASA has worked with a number of cooperator herds for a number of years. The Carcass Merit Program has worked very well for many cooperator herds and has played a vital role in driving genetic improvement for not only the Simmental/SimAngus breed but for the entire beef industry.
If you have questions regarding this program
or specific concerns please contact:
Field Services, Western Region