ASA Releases Dry Matter Intake EPD in Research Release Format

Expected progeny differences (EPD) for Dry Matter Intake (DMI) and an economic subindex have been released by the American Simmental Association (ASA) in a research release format. The purpose of these traits is to help breeders better characterize terminal performance by evaluating genetic differences for feed intake and the profitability potential associated with growth relative to intake. 


The International Genetic Solutions (IGS) science team is committed to the development of genetic tools that aid breeders in making commercially relevant selection decisions. Being able to identify animals with genetics for more efficient growth relative to feed intake is an industry-wide concern. Feed intake records submitted to IGS partner breed organizations and the existing growth records database were used to develop the DMI EPD and an economic subindex that weighs an animal’s growth potential with respect to its intake to provide a snapshot of that animal’s profitability potential in the feedlot growing phase (growth relative to intake). An extensive validation process was performed over the last year to ensure DMI and subindex were reflective of the existing growth and feed intake records. 

At this time there is no official name for the dry matter intake and average daily gain (DMI/ADG) economic subindex, and membership should expect a more formal announcement of the trait near the conclusion of the research release phase.


The DMI EPD is expressed as the difference in pounds of daily dry matter intake. A lower EPD is more desirable, as this is representative of the genetic potential for progeny to consume less feed. For example:

Bull A = 1.00 DMI EPD

Bull B = 0.00 DMI EPD

You would expect progeny from Bull B to eat 1 pound less daily dry matter of feed compared to progeny from Bull A. 

Feed Intake and Average Daily Gain Economic Subindex (DMI/ADG Subindex):

The economic subindex is expressed as the difference in daily profitability of animals in the feedlot based on their combination of DMI and ADG (Average Daily Gain) EPD. ADG is positively weighted by the value of a pound of gain, and DMI is negatively weighted by the cost of a pound of dry matter. The result of the DMI/ADG Subindex is already factored into both $API and $TI, meaning we already factor the relationship of value of gain to the cost of intake in $API and $TI; however, we are beta testing the merit of publishing a subindex that focuses solely on profit differences due to the genetic levels an animal possesses for gain and intake. For example:

Bull A = $0.10 subindex value

Bull B = $0.00 subindex value

You would expect progeny from Bull A to be $0.10 more profitable per day than progeny from Bull B due to a combination of feed requirements and growth potential. 

To view the electronic spreadsheet of DMI and economic subindex on high-use sires and high-accuracy DMI EPD animals in a research format, click here. As research EPD, these will not be evaluated weekly nor published on an animal page on Herdbook.org. It is important to acknowledge that development of both metrics into a weekly genetic evaluation is still under development and may take some time. The IGS science team will periodically update the DMI and economic subindex genetic evaluation as more data is uploaded. 

Data Collection

The ASA encourages membership to submit feed intake records on their animals to ASA staff. Reporting feed intake data will greatly help bolster the genetic evaluation, improve prediction accuracy, and help to accelerate the launch of DMI into a weekly genetic evaluation. Members are encouraged to follow these guidelines for feed intake data collection. For more information, members should visit the Beef Improvement Federation guidelines available at guidelines.beefimprovement.org.

Individual feed intake records are often taken post-weaning or around yearling age.

Warm-up period: Depends on the background of the cattle and the type of feed intake system. If calves are already accustomed to eating out of bunks, a seven-day warm-up period with the feed intake system is likely adequate. For cattle that have not yet been bunk-broke, they could need up to a 21-day warm-up period. 

Feed Intake Test: Recommend a 42-day minimum, which allows for missed days due to weighing or problems with the intake measurement. Records should be submitted as a measure of dry matter intake. No as-fed data should be reported.

Membership is encouraged to evaluate DMI and DMI/ADG subindex predictions and compare with their expectations. Please remember that DMI is already incorporated in $API and $TI. That said, the new DMI EPD will be more accurate, particularly on animals with genotypes and/or feed intake phenotypes on multiple progeny. Members who have any questions, or those who have submitted feed intake data and would like a full download of EPD on their animals, should contact Lane Giess, ASA Geneticist, at lgiess@simmgene.com. 

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