Angus at Work

Cut Through Genetic Confusion with Kelli Retallick-Riley

January 04, 2023 Angus Beef Bulletin Season 2 Episode 1
Cut Through Genetic Confusion with Kelli Retallick-Riley
Angus at Work
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Angus at Work
Cut Through Genetic Confusion with Kelli Retallick-Riley
Jan 04, 2023 Season 2 Episode 1
Angus Beef Bulletin

"When you buy Angus, you’re buying a lot of accuracy and a lot consistency because of our seedstock members and how committed they’ve been to data reporting."  — Kelli Retallick-Riley, Angus Genetics Inc. president. 

A lot of commercial cattlemen have told us they chose Angus because of the breed's marketability. There's more benefit to Angus than just premium prices, though — the genetic database and the multitude of tools available to seedstock and commercial cattlemen alike.

In today's episode, AGI president Kelli Retallick-Riley and Kasey chat about:

  • Why using only genetics or phenotypes alone in selection is leaving money on the table. 
  • How do you decide which of the many genetic tools to use?
  • What questions you should ask your seedstock supplier.
  • What does accuracy mean on EPDS?
  • Why can full siblings differ so much?
  • New tools available for commercial cattlemen.
  • Why do EPD percent ranks matter?
  • How do you set an optimum threshold? 

Find more information to make Angus work for you in the Angus Beef Bulletin and ABB EXTRA. Make sure you're subscribed! Sign up here to the print Angus Beef Bulletin and the digital Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. Have questions or comments? We'd love to hear from you! Contact our team at abbeditorial@angus.org.

Show Notes Transcript

"When you buy Angus, you’re buying a lot of accuracy and a lot consistency because of our seedstock members and how committed they’ve been to data reporting."  — Kelli Retallick-Riley, Angus Genetics Inc. president. 

A lot of commercial cattlemen have told us they chose Angus because of the breed's marketability. There's more benefit to Angus than just premium prices, though — the genetic database and the multitude of tools available to seedstock and commercial cattlemen alike.

In today's episode, AGI president Kelli Retallick-Riley and Kasey chat about:

  • Why using only genetics or phenotypes alone in selection is leaving money on the table. 
  • How do you decide which of the many genetic tools to use?
  • What questions you should ask your seedstock supplier.
  • What does accuracy mean on EPDS?
  • Why can full siblings differ so much?
  • New tools available for commercial cattlemen.
  • Why do EPD percent ranks matter?
  • How do you set an optimum threshold? 

Find more information to make Angus work for you in the Angus Beef Bulletin and ABB EXTRA. Make sure you're subscribed! Sign up here to the print Angus Beef Bulletin and the digital Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA. Have questions or comments? We'd love to hear from you! Contact our team at abbeditorial@angus.org.

Hello. Welcome back to Angus at Work. I'm your host, Kasey Brown, and I am really excited to get to talk with the president of Angus Genetics, Inc. today. One of the best benefits of working with the American Angus Association is our database and all of the genetic tools that we offer, both to seedstock producers and to our commercial cattlemen. So we're going to dive into that today. First of all, thanks for being with me today, Kelli.

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for the invite.

Kasey Brown:
All right. So what's your background in the beef industry?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Sure, absolutely. Like you had mentioned, I'm the president of Angus Genetics Incorporated now, but prior to that, I actually grew up on a cow-calf operation in Wisconsin, so grew up on that livestock operation, went to UW Madison and did a degree in animal science. So I got my fill of the dairy industry while I was there, and so then for my graduate degrees, I escaped to beef cattle country and went to Kansas State University, and so been really fortunate to be able to work with a lot of really great applied industry type people, which really keeps us grounded here at AGI when we may sit behind computers a lot and look at and analyze a lot of data, but we need to make sure that those tools work out for our folks that we're serving.

Kasey Brown:

Oh, cool. Did you start straight at Angus or did you start elsewhere before you came back here?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Yeah, so I actually started at the American Gelbvieh Association, and so was able to work off a little newness there at that association and great people that I got to work with there, and then got to transition here in AGI in 2016. So I've been here for, it'll be seven years come March, and so moving right along.

Kasey Brown:

Yeah, absolutely. Excellent. I love that you've got practical cattle experience to go with all the data. Let's take this to commercial cattlemen. Why should commercial cattlemen, we'll start just real basic, why should they care about genetic data? How does that help a commercial cattleman's operation move forward?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Sure. I think we always use the old adage, and I always hate to use it, but you can't make progress on things that you don't measure. So when we think about genetics, that's really all we're trying to do. I think early on when it was the Aberdeen Angus Association and things like that, a lot of our individual selection for sires, they're based on when we went to the Chicago International or in the show ring and how did those animals look and used eye appeal and conformation from that standpoint to make those decisions. Then we went through the '50s and the '60s and then up into 1972, that's when our first structured salary evaluation report came out, our group one report. We had 25 bulls in there, everyone was pictured, it's beautiful. You know that report is much larger today with over 15,000 bulls in it, and so we don't picture all of those.

But I bring that up because that was really a turning tide for the American Angus Association and really, the commercial cow-calf industry because we went away from this idea of, "Well, we can look and we can see, or who wins the purple ribbon and that's the bull that we're going to use to basically make our mating decisions this year," to, "Let's weigh, let's measure, let's find out which bulls in this contemporary group or which bull in my farm actually has the highest performance based on weights and measurements and those objective measurements, and how can we utilize that information and data to make better decisions?" So that's really where this all started. Kasey, we oftentimes get the question, "Well, I'm selecting these bulls on performance measurements," and the reality is you can make genetic selection on performance measurements, but with EPDs and national cattle evaluations in this genetic data you're talking about, we avoid the mistakes. We have higher degree of accuracy and it allows us to move along genetic change a lot quicker when we can basically use this big engine to get at purely that genetic component versus the environment.

Kasey Brown:
One thing I love about having heard you speak before is that you are not a proponent of only using genetic tools. You're probably one of the biggest proponents of phenotype tools also. Can you talk to how both phenotypic and genotypic tools, how those marry together and how they help work together?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Yeah, absolutely. When you talk about the tools, the genetic tools, the EPDs, the dollar value indexes, the genomic scores for things like GeneMax Advantage, things like that, I don't think we can forget the confirmation of that individual animal because at the end of the day, if an individual has poor feet, our females have poor udder quality things like that, they're not going to be able to stay in a herd for a really long time. So what I like to encourage individual commercial breeders to do is to, one, use the resources that are available to them, but at the end of the day, get to that sale.

Get eyes on that bull and make sure that he's going to be able to fit your own individual scenario. If you get there and a bull's got a wicked set of EPDs, and they're great, but you're starting to see maybe there's some structure issues, maybe there's some food issues, things like that, well then maybe that's not something where you want to move in that direction. So when you think about those things, cattle got to be built from the ground up, making sure that they're structurally sound in some of those other structural traits are on point. That's going to go a long ways when you're trying to make that bull decision and make sure that, "Hey, once I bring this bull back, he's going to be able to go out and work in my herd."

Kasey Brown:

Let's talk about some of those tools. But really, I think the first place to start is figuring out those breeding objectives. Then let's talk about how do you pick the tools to use once you figure out your breeding objectives?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Yeah. You're speaking to my soul, Kasey, because I talk about this a lot. I talk about breeding goals and breeding objectives. When we think about those objectives, really what a commercial cattleman has to respond on is. How is he going to sell us calves? That is how you build your breeding objective. If you're not building cattle that fit your program to basically generate income, which is how you sell those calves, then you're probably not going to be all that successful. But once you determine that, whether you're going to retain ownership, whether you're going to sell those calves as feeder calves, maybe you have a replacement heifer market that you're selling to other commercial cow-calf breeders. Those are things that really help you determine, "Okay, which tools that I need to focus on?"

So you know that we have 22 different EPDs and we have eight different indexes. I'm not going to lie, it can be a lot once you get down to it, but if you can determine what your goal is that allows you to say, "Okay, this is a trait that I need to focus on, and this is maybe a trait that I don't need to put so much selection pressure on." So for instance, let's say I'm a commercial breeder. I'm going to sell my weaned calves through the sale barn after I wean them off for 45 days and things like that. Something like our index that's really targeted for that specific commercial cow-calf system, something like maternal wean calf value, especially if you're retaining replacements in your own herd type of thing, that's a tool that you can really start with to center yourself.

So really defining those goals for you and understanding where you're at and where you need to go is really important because one of the things that I always remind people, if you're having an issue getting females pregnant as virgin heifers, if you're having calving dystocia issues, even if you are using our indexes which are really profit centered, you may need to put a little extra selection pressure on something like calving yeast or a little extra selection pressure on something like heifer pregnancy based on the issues that you're having in your own herd. That's what's really going to help you be successful.

Kasey Brown:

Excellent. That ties into every herd is made up of so many cattle, so you don't want to select on only one single trait. I think maybe we've heard, "Well, people select for $B," or, "People select for this so much," that's why we have 22 EPDs and all of these dollar values. How can some of these selection tools work together so we avoid just looking for one single trait?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
You brought up a good point with the $B argument, for instance. $B in itself is a terminal index. So when you're thinking, again, back to your breeding objective, if you're not keeping your own replacement females, being able to put a lot of selection pressure on something that is a terminal index that's really going to drive feed efficiency and quality grade premiums and carcass weight and those sorts of things, that's probably a pretty good thing. So when you think about those tools working together, the indexes themselves, they're made up of multiple different EPDs weighted by basically revenues and cost associated with our industry; things like feed costs, things like what's it cost to replace a cow that we have to coal to early on in life, what's it cost when a cow unfortunately doesn't make it through the birthing process because she has a calving dystocia issue?

Those are the types of economic assumptions we fit into those models. But then again, how do we use them in tandem with each other? Well, maybe those dollar values are our goalpost. We start with, we say, "Okay, this ultimately has to be my threshold that I feel comfortable with for this profit value index. But then we can say, "Well, based on the fact that I'm keeping my own replacement females, maybe I do need to place more selection pressure on something like calvies heifer pregnancy, but because I'm selling those calves at weaning, I'm going to look for that highest weaning weight sire that's going to allow us to basically come in and have the most value for our specific marketing scenario."

So that's what I like to try to help commercial breeders with and try to help our seedstock breeders help their customers through those questions is to ask them those questions and tell your seedstock provider what's happening on your herd, where you're at, what your goals are, and what you intend to do in the next five to 10 years, because I think those are all things that really help make that selection process easier. Then we can figure out, "Okay, how do those tools all work together?" So just know that there's a lot of tools out there, but when you think about those indexes, those can be used as your goal post. Then based on your individual scenario, maybe you're already at cattle that are grading all right, average choice and you want to really try to hit that high choice prime type premiums. Well then, okay, we're going to focus a little bit more on that marbling EPD or something like that. So understanding where we're at and where we want to go, vitally important to make sure we can put the tools to work for us.

Kasey Brown:

Absolutely. That leads to my next question of the relationship with your seedstock supplier is just so important and you kind of hit on it. You want to tell them what your breeding objectives are, but what are some questions that might be good to ask your seedstock supplier?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah. I think in my world, when we think about all these genetic tools, there's a lot of genetic tools out there and they're not all created equal. So when you think about working with your seedstock provider, whether that's an Angus seedstock provider or a seedstock provider outside of Angus, ask them how many records are they collecting? Are they involved in something like the Angus Herd Improvement Record Program? Because that's going to allow you to understand how much information and data are behind those genetic tools that they have. Are they continuing to do things like ultrasound scanning? Are they continuing to spend the time to take and record nutrients like foot score and docility and hair shed score if you're in the south and things like that, that really allows you to get a scope for, "Okay, how good are those tools that are being predicted?"

Because at the end of the day, we don't talk about accuracy very much, but there's a difference in how well we can estimate those things based on the amount of data that's there, and so talking to them about that, also talking them to them just about how those bulls are raised, what type of environment they're raised in. For a long time, we talked about growth tests, specifically with yearling bulls, trying to find the ones that can gain the most from weaning to yearling and having these 90-day game tests and things like that. I think we've found over the years how we manage those cattle early on in their environment is going to affect how long they stay in the herd. It's going to affect, for instance, their foot conformation. So understanding how those animals were raised, what management practices were happening, those are things that aren't necessarily genetic tools, but things that, hey, might be good questions to ask my seedstock breeder as I try to move forth. But you're right, utilize them as a resource. They're breeding these cattle to fit their customer base too, and everybody likes to talk about their cattle, right, Kasey?

Kasey Brown:
Yeah, absolutely. That's the whole reason we have a podcast. Well, that's awesome. You mentioned accuracy, so tell us a little bit, what do those numbers in that box mean? How do you use that as another tool as you're working on your genetic selection?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah, so when we talk about accuracy, know that accuracy ranges from zero to one, basically, 0% accuracy to 100% accuracy. You're never going to see the American Angus Association publish a one. We're never 100% accurate on any of these tools that we put out there, but you will see a 99% accuracy. So those types of bulls that have that high of accuracy, those are going to be huge players in our Angus breed because they've gotten used a lot and they have a lot of progeny records or calf data that have been sent back into the association debate, basically get us to that level of accuracy. When you are looking for a yearling bull or a two-year-old bull, those accuracy differences between those young sires aren't going to be quite as high, but the biggest thing that's going to differentiate them as a young sire is going to be do they have that genotype in the evaluation. On a young sire like that, that's what our seedstock members are investing in.

They're investing in upfront accuracy on those EPDs. So when we think of something like progeny equivalence, basically progeny equivalence is a terminology that I use to basically say, "How much progeny equivalence are basically that value that I use to say how much value does that genotype add to the accuracy of that EPD?" So when you think of something like birth weight or calving weans, that genotype adds the equivalent amount of accuracy to adding 22 to 25 progeny records into the evaluation. So Kasey, if you think about how many right cows we let a yearling bull cover, sometimes it's not even 20...

Kasey Brown:
Right. Right.

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
... individual cows in his first breeding season. So when commercial cattle producers buy a bull that has basically genomically-enhanced EPD, they're basically buying a bull that has as much accuracy as he would if he had his whole first season already reported back to the association. So that's where you're going to get the biggest differentiation and accuracy on a young sire. But it all really comes back to the only reason we get that high of accuracy in the Angus breed, and this is really specific to the Angus breed and why we do have so much consistency, basically, when those bulls get turned out is because we have these millions and millions of data points that our members have sent in to allow us to be able to combine those two things together to get that level of accuracy. So when you buy Angus, you're buying a lot of accuracy. You're buying a lot of consistency because of our seedstock members and how committed they've been to data recording.

Kasey Brown:

Yeah, that is awesome. But one thing I want to note, and this is maybe one of the finer points of accuracy, it's not saying that his numbers, so he's got five calves and their weaning weights might all be a little bit different. It's not saying that they're never going to change, it's just saying that it's ... Can you talk about the standard deviation a little bit?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah, especially with a bull that's genotyped young and those sorts of things, and he has his own performance records in there. He has his genotype in there. He has a full pedigree obviously because he's been basically recorded in a herd book and things like that. Those bulls are still only going to land about a 40% accuracy. Like we said, the scale goes from zero to one. And so when you have a 40% accuracy, that's a heck of a lot better than a 5% accuracy that you would've got without the performance information in there, without the genotype information in there, but they're still not proven. So when you think of that as more progeny data comes in, especially on sires that get picked up in the industry and they really get tested in many different environments, those EPD values can change based on the progeny data. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to get that early prediction as close to what he possibly can when he gets all the rest of this data.

But you're right, there is room to move because of the fact that with every accuracy, we like to call it possible change. There's still a possible change around that accuracy as to where he's going to move. Not only that, there's going to be differences within his progeny because you know, every time we know make a mating, 50% of the genetics come from the sire, 50% come from the dam. But at the end of the day, the random half that I get from that sire every time is going to be different with every single mating. So we see that a lot even on the seedstock side in full sibs, we do flushing activities, those sorts of things where we create a set of embryo transfer calves and all those, they're full sibs. They all had equal opportunity, but at the end of the day, they're different. Why are they different? Because they get a different random sampling of genes from their sires and dams basically when those matings take place.

Kasey Brown:
Gotcha. That's one of the things I find fascinating about genetics and you know way more about that than I do. But I love that of even though we have all of this information, there is still possibility for change, but that's okay. That's part of the cattle industry.

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Exactly.

Kasey Brown:

So let's talk about, we've got a lot of new things happening here at Angus Genetics. Can you talk about those? I know you've released a couple of new EPDs. Let's talk about some of those and why those tools are important for commercial cattlemen.

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Sure. So a couple of the new EPDs that we've released here within the last couple of years have been basically PAP EPD or that pulmonary arterial pressure EPD, that's basically targeting which animals can live at high elevations for those high elevation producers that live out in the Rocky Mountain range and things like that and the hair shed EPD, which is basically an indicator of how quickly those females or really any cattle are going to shed off early in the summer. So I bring those two up because of the fact that we did develop those in the mindset of trying to actually adapt those cattle to different environments a little bit better. So PAP EPD for those cattle that are dealing with things like brisket disease, high altitude disease in those types of environments, and then hair shedding EPD to help our producers that are running in fescue country and have to deal with things like fescue toxicosis or running in just really hot environments where they had to have a little bit higher level of heat tolerance. So that is a way that at AGI and at the American Angus Association, we talk a lot about matching cattle to their environments.

When we have a national cattle evaluation like we do, we're comparing animals from several different environments. But those two specific EPDs are really trying to match cattle to environments where they may be handling either environmental pressures or disease pressures where cattle in Iowa usually aren't dealing with something like brisket disease because they don't have that stressor from something like those high elevations with not a lot of oxygen just like me. I grew up in the Midwest too, so when I go to Denver and I have to walk up The Hill, I'm out of breath once I get there. So my PAP probably isn't all that great, but when you think about that in cattle, really trying to meet those cattle to those different environments. Then from there, some of the newer stuff that we're coming out with hopefully within the next 12 months, one of the things we've been working on for a long time, Kasey, and we're really excited that we're hopefully heading into the final phase of research is something that we like to call functional longevity.

So there's been longevity and stability evaluations in the beef industry for a while, but basically, we're trying to predict at an early age which sires are going to create daughters that stay in the herd, in calving the herd year after year for a very long time. So we're using our data that our seedstock producers have basically sent in basically calving records, understanding if a cow-calves in a given year, and if she does, was she old? Did she turn up open? Did she get held over? Did she get put in a donor program? Why and when do those cows leave the herd? And those types of records help us to be able to predict, "Okay, this sire does a better job at creating females that can stay in the herd for a long time." Obviously that has an economic impact on our commercial cattlemen, because if we're coaling too many females, especially early on in life, that can have a huge detriment to your bottom line as a commercial cow-calf producer.

Kasey Brown:
Absolutely. One of the newer ones that I personally love, my dad was a hoof trimmer and he always talked about structure affects everything. Can you talk to a little bit about the foot and claw angle EPDs and how those play together into helping select for really sound functional cattle?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah, so the foot score EPDs, Kasey, I almost forgot about. I feel like I've been talking about foot score, I think since the day I walked into the door at the American Angus Association. So sometimes I forget that not everybody knows. So basically our two-foot confirmation EPDs, we have basically claw set and foot angle. So basically what we're targeting with those EPDs is we're trying to one, with claw set avoid the curl of basically the claws or the individual toes of those individual females. In males, as they continue to grow on in life, then for foot angle, what we're really focusing on is not only the angle of the pasture to the ground, so targeting that 45-degree angle, but also the heel depth.

So if you think about it as cattle tend to get more and more slope to their pasture and with that foot angle, sometimes that's actually not a terrible thing when you think about it from a standpoint of being able to have enough set to get around, especially if you're in a rocky environment or you're traveling from windmill to windmill, being able to make sure that those cattle have enough set where they're not getting too straight and then essentially can have stifle issues or things like that. But that heel depth is important because as you get more angle, if you don't have enough heel depth, then your pad starts to rub against the ground, can tear it up, and then basically obviously cause you foot issues and structural problems.

So those two particular EPDs, if you are a commercial producer and you want to take those EPDs into account, basically a lower EPD is better because right now we're focused on trying to get to that optimal more ordeal foot and for qual set that's basically symmetrical toes, straightened symmetrical toes, and for foot angle, that's basically a 45-degree angle to that pasturean with an appropriate heel depth. So those are two EPDs where again, we talked about it a little bit earlier, trying to build those cattle from the ground up. So even though we're not taking measurements as far as angle of the hawk or something like that, angle of the pasturean individual records like that, if we can build them right from the feet, hopefully we're building a more correct as you go up that individual animal.

So our breeders use a scoring system, it's a one through nine scoring system to basically actually go out, observe those cattle. They score those individual feet and then they send them in here and we're able to do some analysis on them to try to give commercial producers and seedstock producers alike a tool to basically select for that individual trait genetically. So we're moving right along with that one. It's as heritable as something like weaning weight. So when you think of how much progress we've made with weaning weight or even post-weaning gain, it has the same level of heritability, and so the same amount of that trait is controlled by genetics as it is something like that. So we know we can make progress for a trait with that level of heritability. So as long as we collect the data and we actually use the tool, we should be able to create genetic change for something like foot conformation.

Kasey Brown:

Oh, cool. One thing I've heard you talk a lot about is optimums versus maximums. so we're trying to build better herds, we want long-lived cattle, we want cattle who can perform. So what kind of tools are there? We've got so many tools in this toolbox, but how do you figure out what is closer to optimum as opposed to just picking the biggest numbers kind of deal? I guess I'm thinking of percentages within the breed, but can you talk to that a bit?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah. I think the biggest thing within optimum, is that, Kasey, your optimum may be different than my optimum. So you have to be able to try to manage those cattle with your feed resources, with your land resources, with the things that you have available to you. So my optimum may be different in southwestern Wisconsin where we have corn silage to feed all winter long versus someone out in the Sandhills in Nebraska who are those cattle are running on a bit tougher country and probably don't have the same type of feed resources. So there's some things there that we need to pay attention to in order to make sure that we're matching those cattle to what we need in our environments. One of the things you can look at is to avoid just selecting the absolute highest are those EPD percent ranks.

So when you look at those individuals online, for instance, at angus.org, at the animal pedigree lookup to see their updated EPDs, they'll see a percentage number, and that's where those animals rank within our population right now. So you may have an animal that ranks in the top 10% of the breed and maybe that's going to be sufficient for you for whatever trait you're focused on, and so that you don't have to one, select on that extreme because a lot of times, Kasey, the extremes, they come with a little bit higher checkbook price. So when you think about that, it might be optimum for your budget as well, if we can help you set those thresholds. So when you think about that, I would pay attention to those percent ranks.

One rule of thumb that I always like to use as a litmus test is, if you are breed average or above for whatever trait that is, you can consider yourself a breed improver. If you're below that average, you're probably taking the breed the other way. So that's just one easy way that you can use your breed averages to gauge where you're at. The other thing you got to realize is my average in my cow herd may be different than your average in your cow herd. So being able to find that kind of optimum is going to be dependent on where you're at as well to ensure that, "Well, maybe I do need to put a little bit more, maybe I need someone in the top 5% of the breed instead of the top 10, and maybe I can stay around the 50 percentile for something like mature cow size because maybe I don't want the biggest cows in the breed."

So maybe that's one where I really need to pay attention to just because having top 10% cows for something like mature cow size when I'm out in Sandhills, Nebraska or somewhere where feed resource limited, maybe that's not something I want to place as much selection pressure on. So some of those traits, they're not necessarily the fancy traits, all the ones that we've talked about since 1972, but something like mature cow size could be something that really some producers really need to pay attention to, especially as we continue to push growth early in the early stages of life, because guess what, Kasey? It actually does have a correlated response later on. So those are things that we just need to consider, especially when we're trying to keep our costs down in the commercial cow-calf industry.

Kasey Brown:

I think that's where phenotypic traits come back in of, you still need to weigh your cows.

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's one of those things where after you wean off all your calves, nobody likes to have to say, "Okay, now we got to run the cows through just to capture this weight." But those are some of the most important records that we can get in here because that's a huge cost when we start to try to build things like selection indexes like we were talking about earlier to basically get at profit from conception to weaning. Well, a major cost of that is, "How much do we have to feed those calves?" the bigger they are, usually the higher maintenance energy requirement they have, the more we just have to feed them to maintain them, so those are things that we do need to keep in mind as we move forward.

Kasey Brown:

Cool. Kelli, I'm sure we could talk all day about things, but podcasts need to have a limited amount of time. Where can cattlemen find some more resources if they have questions about genetics or how can they start using these toolboxes when they are selecting for their next bulls?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:

Yeah, absolutely. So we have a lot of information on angus.org. You can also call into the office and you can basically request to have a sire evaluation report sent to you. I'm kind of old school. I love those printed sire evaluation reports, even though before the ink's dry, some of those EPDs are old because we run a weekly genetic evaluation. But it has a really good information in that preamble of that particular report. So call and request one of them. Also, we write monthly articles for things like The Angus Journal and we actually have an article called The Sorting Gate in the Angus Beef Bulletin. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of that and read some of that because that's really where we get to continuously write to our cattlemen who are buying Angus bulls in the commercial cow-calf industry and hopefully give them the right information about our genetic tools that we're creating here at 3201.

Kasey Brown:

Oh. That's perfect. Before we wrap up, I always like to end with some good news 'cause we all know the cattle business is really the people business. So would you mind sharing something with us that's happened that is good news, whether it's personally, professionally, or both?

Kelli Retallick-Riley:
Sure. So we just came off a great Angus convention here in Salt Lake City, and so I would say that that was a complete success. I talked to a lot of producers who it was actually their first time at Angus Convention and because we actually went out to Utah and Salt Lake City there, they were able to join us I always just find that that's a complete high for November, moving into the holidays and all the chaos because you get to catch up with those folks and really get to spend some one-on-one time with the people that we do serve every single day here. But because we're not out in the trenches, sometimes we don't get to talk to them all that often. So still riding that high for sure, Kasey.

Kasey Brown:

All right. Well, excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time and for your insight. Your column is always one of our most popular and highly read ones, so listeners, definitely check that out in the Angus Beef Bulletin. You'll find information to subscribe to both the Bulletin and the Angus Beef Bulletin Extra in our show notes. After you've listened to this one, this is the end, go check out The Angus Conversation, which is a podcast put on by The Angus Journal, and it is a really great resource as well for those in the Angus business. If you've got any questions or concerns, you can email us at abbeditorial@angus.org. We'd always love for you to rate and share this podcast so we can get this information out to other cattleman as well. Thank you for listening. This has been Angus at Work.