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More Animal Husbandry Knowledge

July 31, 2014
animal husbandry

Once again I would like to share some of the tidbits of information I hope the youth gained thanks to participating in the livestock skill-a-thons this year.  The livestock skill-a-thon allows the youth a chance to test their knowledge of the livestock industry as a whole.

Expected progeny differences (EPDs) allow for producers to estimate the genetic value of an animal as a parent.  These are great things to use when determining what bull, boar, or ram you are going to purchase to own or use as an artificial insemination (A.I.) sire.  One way to utilize EPDs is when determining which bull would be best for a first calf heifer.  The bull with the highest calving ease direct number or the lowest birth weight would be the best to use for first calf heifers.  This would be because there would be an increase chance of having unassisted births when calving time comes.  However, there are other factors that impact calving ease including the body condition of the cow.

Producers and consumers of meat should be knowledgeable about how much meat can come from a beef steer or hog.  The live weight is how much the animal weighs before processing.  The carcass weight is the weight of the animal after it has been processed.  Dressage percentage is the percentage of live weight that remains as carcass weight.  The average dressing percentages are 61% for beef cattle, 59% for dairy steers, and 72% for hogs.

Each animal carcass can be divided into primal cuts (large sections).  Primal cuts can then be broken down into smaller retail cuts that can be purchased at the store.  By knowing where the primal cuts are on the animal, you can get an idea of how tough the meat can be (i.e. meat from the chuck or shoulder moves a lot, so it has more muscle groups with ligaments which are tougher to eat and thus are often cooked in the crock pot).

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay Co. or 829-5020 in Owen Co. or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

August 1-17—Indiana State Fair

August 14 - Class on Canning, Owen Co. Library, 6-6:45

August 16 – Insect Program, Owen Co. Farmers’ Market, 9-1

August 23 - Class on Canning, Owen Co. Library, 10-10:45

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