By Lane Giess, Director of Commercial & Nontraditional Data Programs
Seedstock and commercial cattlemen have a vested interest in improving the end-product merit of cattle they produce. As progressively more cattle operations rely on grid-based revenue programs through retained ownership, the need for more accurate estimations of carcass merit becomes paramount. Research projects and data submission efforts are underway to address these needs. One of these, the American Simmental Association Carcass Merit Program (CMP), is a structured young sire progeny test where breeders nominate bulls of their choosing to be sampled across a diverse group of commercial cattle operations. Calves from these matings are harvested and individual carcass records provided. Started in the 1990s, the CMP continues to see success and growth among the membership and commercial clients.
Included are the results from the CMP Bull Class of 2016. A total of 28 bulls were sampled in three partner herds across the country. In total, 745 calves were born in 2017 from CMP-sired matings, with 397 carcass records submitted. Harvest plant data reported 84% of the calves graded USDA Choice or higher with an average score of Small 97. The average 12th ribeye size was 14.54 square inches with an average carcass weight of 840.4 pounds.
As one of the most demanding and informative young sire tests in the industry, the CMP requires comprehensive data collection from partner herds in the form of recording birth weights, calving ease, weaning weights, and yearling weights on every calf born. Feed intake records are also gathered on a large portion of CMP calves. All matings are randomized and multiple test sires are used in each partner herd to ensure proper statistical design. A notable addition in recent years is the integration of genomic testing; all CMP-sired terminal calves receive a low-density test and all nominated bulls receive a research F250K test.
The usefulness of genomic testing on animals with actual carcass and feed intake phenotypes is incredibly informative in developing genomic knowledge of carcass traits and dry matter intake. This will allow the genomic tests to better predict these valuable and hard to collect traits on any future animal with a genomic test. A total of 435 low-density genomic panels were run on CMP-sired calves. The CMP will continue to add valuable and relevant progeny testing data to the industry’s top young herd sire prospects. Anyone interested in participating can learn more at www.simmental.org.