September 11, 2014 (Omaha, Nebraska) Shorthorn breeders are now able to enjoy the benefits of the newly implemented Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation. Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are calculated by the American Simmental Association Association's Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation, which also calculates EPDs for the Gelbvieh, Red Angus, and Simmental breeds, among others.

The "new" North American Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation is complete, representing over a year of diligence and effort by the American Shorthorn Association Board of Directors and staff. The North American Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation will be comprised of data collected from both the American and Canadian Shorthorn Associations. The entire set of EPDs are now on the same "base" as Simmental, Red Angus, Gelbvieh, and a growing number of other breeds. All EPD data is in a common multi-breed databank. As a result, Shorthorn EPDs are comparable to the breeds included in the multi-breed evaluation. Shorthorn continues to have its own unique $Indexes including: $CEZ, $BMI, and $Feedlot.

Another major change involves the $Indexes. These are complex math equations aimed at helping breeders and buyers select for multiple traits at the same time, avoiding the pitfalls of single-trait selection. Though the relative economic differences between the traits remain constant in the formulas, the Shorthorn breed base is now far different. Consequently, the $Indexes have changed significantly, but their percentile rank within an index and even each EPD should be relatively similar. In other words, if a bull was in the top 10% for YW and $Feedlot in the previous evaluation, the bull should still be at or near the top 10% in this evaluation.

The power of this data lies in the hands of Shorthorn breeders. ShorthornPlus cattle will have better EPD predictions, but only if the non-Shorthorn percentage of the pedigree is built in the registry system. Angus, Simmental, Red Angus, and many other breeds and composite sires are represented in this evaluation. In the end, bull and female buyers can search for genetics from multiple breeds and compare the performance profiles against one another. Within the Shorthorn breed, we have known our strengths and weaknesses versus our competitors; now we get to gauge our genetic progress moving forward compared to other breeds.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the American Shorthorn Association, Montie Soules is excited about the opportunities the new genetic evaluation system represents for the Shorthorn breed. "The new genetic evaluation positions the Shorthorn breed to be compatible with breeds in the industry. This tremendous opportunity allows cattlemen to compare and evaluate Shorthorn cattle against other breeds to make educated performance decisions for their herd."

Any questions about Shorthorn participation in the Multi-Breed Genetic Evaluation can be directed to Jake Alden, Director of Performance and Field Services at the American Shorthorn Association. Jake can be reached at (402) 393-7200 or by e-mailing jake@shorthorn.org.