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2010 Across-Breed EPD Table

Authors as Published

Larry Kuehn and Mark Thallman, USMARC Geneticists, Clay Center, NE

The table of adjustment factors to be used to estimate across-breed expected progeny differences (AB-EPDs) for eighteen breeds was presented at the Beef Improvement Federation Annual Meeting in Columbia, MO, on June 30 (see Table 1).  Across-breed adjustment factors have been calculated for growth traits and maternal milk since 1993.  Adjustment factors for carcass traits have been calculated since 2008; to be included, breeds must have carcass data in the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) database and report their carcass EPDs on an actual carcass basis using an age-adjusted endpoint.  Bulls of different breeds can be compared on the same EPD scale by adding the appropriate adjustment factor to the EPDs produced in the most recent genetic evaluations for each of the sixteen breeds.  The AB-EPDs are most useful to commercial producers purchasing bulls of more than one breed to use in cross-breeding programs. For example, in terminal cross-breed systems, AB-EPDs can be used to identify bulls in different breeds with high growth potential or favorable carcass characteristics.

As an example, suppose a Shorthorn bull has a weaning weight EPD of + 19.2 lb and a Red Angus bull has a weaning weight EPD of + 38.9 lb.  The across-breed adjustment factors for weaning weight (see Table 1) are 20.6 lb for Shorthorn and -2.3 lb for Red Angus.  The AB-EPD is 19.2 lb + 20.6 lb = 39.8 lb for the Shorthorn bull and 38.9 lb - 2.3 = 36.6 lb for the Red Angus bull.  The expected weaning weight difference when both are mated to cows of another breed (e.g., Hereford) would be 39.8 lb – 36.6 lb = 3.2 lb.

Most breed associations publish EPDs on an annual basis.  These EPDs predict differences expected in performance of future progeny of two or more bulls within the same breed for traits including birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, and maternal milking ability (as reflected in progeny weaning weights).  Normally, the EPDs of bulls from different breeds cannot be compared because most breed associations compute their EPDs in separate analyses and each breed has a different base point.  The across-breed adjustment factors allow producers to compare the EPDs for animals from different breeds for these traits; these factors reflect both the current breed difference (for animals born in 2008) and differences in the breed base point.  They should only be used with EPDs current as of July 2010 because of potential changes in EPD calculations from year-to-year.

It is important to note that the table factors (Table 1) do not represent a direct comparison among the different breeds because of base differences between the breeds. They should only be used to compare the EPDs (AB-EPDs) of animals in different breeds.  To reduce confusion, breed of sire means (i.e., when sires from two different breeds are mated to cows of a third, unrelated breed) between 2008 born animals under conditions at USMARC are presented in Table 2.

The adjustment factors in Table 1 were updated using EPDs from the most recent national cattle evaluations conducted by each of the eighteen breed associations (current as of May 2010).  The breed differences used to calculate the factors are based on comparisons of progeny of sires from each of these breeds in the Germplasm Evaluation Program at USMARC in Clay Center, Nebraska.  These analyses were conducted by USMARC geneticists Larry Kuehn (email:;
ph: 402-762-4352) and Mark Thallman (email:; ph: 402-762-4261).

Table 1: Adjustment factors to add to EPD's of eighteen different breeds to estimate across breed EPD's.



Weaning WeightYearling WeightMaternal MilkMarbling ScoreaRibeye AreaFat Thickness
Red Angus2.6-2.3-5.5-4.2-0.06-0.06-0.051
South Devon4.84.6-4.0-8.0-0.030.11-0.118
Santa Gertrudis7.427.523.9 -0.60-0.30-0.137
Chiangus5.0-16.7-39.4 -0.480.60-0.155
aMarbling score units: 4.00 = Sl00; 5.00 = Sm00


Table 2: Breed of sire means for 2008 born animals under conditions similar to USMARC





Weaning Wt.

Yearling Wt.

Maternal Milk

Marbling Scorea

Ribeye Area

Fat Thickness









Red Angus92.3584.9989.2582.95.2712.400.474
South Devon96.8601.81010.9583.85.5412.720.417
Santa Gertrudis97.3588.0968.6 4.6712.100.388
Chiangus95.6581.9976.3 4.9312.920.390
aMarbling score units: 4.00 = Sl00; 5.00 = Sm00


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.


Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Alan L. Grant, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.


August 11, 2010

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