The American Angus Association will soon introduce a voluntary, inventory-based reporting system designed to capture additional reproductive trait data and to ultimately expand reproductive and lifetime productivity tools, such as longevity measures.
The new program, known as PathfinderPlus, will debut in early 2012 and provide Angus breeders and their customers with additional information to make effective selection decisions.
“The PathfinderPlus program is a unique system that will allow us to more effectively capture reproductive trait data while providing participants with additional information at weaning processing time, such as calving ease, birth weight and weaning weight EPDs for calves out of inventoried cows,” says Bill Bowman, Association chief operating officer (COO) and director of performance programs.
Breeders interested in participating in PathfinderPlus can enroll in the program through AAA Login, available at www.angus.org, beginning early 2012.
To begin, breeders provide an online inventory of breeding heifers and cows in their herd.
The primary requirement of the program is submission of heifer breeding records from the production herd. “Heifer breeding records are pivotal pieces to the PathfinderPlus program,” explains Sally Northcutt, Association director of genetic research. “These records will then be used in the existing heifer pregnancy evaluation and will also allow us to develop more lifetime trait measures such as longevity components.”
In addition to heifer breeding records, each inventoried female will be required to have either a calf record (weight, preweaning disposal reason), a disposal code for the cow or a reason code for why the cow didn’t produce.
“Disposal codes will help pinpoint why an animal left the herd and will greatly aid in the development of a longevity selection tool,” Northcutt says. “The PathfinderPlus program provides us the opportunity to identify superior genetics for traits that greatly influence profit but are traditionally difficult to measure — reproduction and longevity.”
Breeders will be able to enroll in PathfinderPlus at any time during the year. Females 20 months of age and older are assessed an annual $3-per-cow inventory fee based upon the enrollment date. The fee includes performance reporting for the cow’s calf (CED, BW and WW EPDs).
An additional fee is charged to reinstate or reactivate a cow.
Bowman says the current Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) reporting system will remain in place for non-participants, along with the traditional Pathfinder recognition program.
“PathfinderPlus is the most comprehensive route to generate reproductive selection tools on your herd,” Bowman says. “The program is streamlined to capture the necessary data for genetic predictions to assist you and your customers.”
Contact the American Angus Association at 816-383-5100 or visit www.angus.org for more information.
The American Angus Association serves nearly 30,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.angus.org.