Data Collection & Traits

The American Gelbvieh Association encourages breeders to collect and report as much data as possible on Gelbvieh and Balancer® animals in their herd. All data can be entered via the AGA online registry system. Not only does collecting and recording data help to maintain records that are used by the producer during the selection process, it also ensures that the EPDs for Gelbvieh and Balancer animals are as accurate as possible.

Collecting and recording traditionally gathered data such as birth, weaning and yearling data is as important today as ever. However, below is a list of additional points of data collection that have gained industry relevance as genetic evaluations have progressed over the years.

Foot and Leg Scoring

Foot and Leg Scoring

The AGA Foot and Leg Scoring Rubric provides breeders with a resource to accurately describe the variation that exists in their herds. Allowing breeders to better select and evaluate the traits of: Foot Angle, Claw Shape, and Rear Leg Side View. Breeders who desire to improve foot and leg quality can use the scoring system and guidelines to annually evaluate their herd.

Foot and Leg Traits

Foot Angle Foot angle is measured as the degree of angularity from the toe and the base of the foot to the base of the coronary band and hair line. Heel depth plays a significant role in foot angle. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely straight and rigid pastern and hoof, where a score on the high end represents an extremely shallow heel and long claw, which is commonly associated with weak pasterns.

Claw Shape- Claw shape is described by the relative size and curvature of the claws/toes on an individual foot, where the distance between claws serves to indicate the level of divergence. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely open and divergent claw set, where a score on the high end represents an extreme scissor or corkscrew claw with noticeable curling of one or both claws.

Rear Leg Side View- Rear leg side view is described as the degree of angularity from the stifle to the hock and down to the pastern. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely straight and post legged animal with little to no angle or set to the hock. A score on the high end of the scale represents an extreme amount of set or angle to the hock and the animal is sickle hocked.

Scoring Conditions

Animals are to be evaluated while they are standing still, allowing a clear and unobstructed view of the animal’s feet and legs. To ensure an accurate observation is recorded, animals should be on dry, hard, and level ground. Animals should not be evaluated in a chute or restraint that compromises the natural weight distribution of the animal.

Scoring Scale

All three measurements use a scoring range from 1-9 with a score of 5 considered ideal. Scores 4 and 6 show slight variation from ideal but are considered acceptable. Scores 3 and 7 show greater variation from ideal and less acceptable for seedstock operations. Scores 2 and 8 should be considered as possible cull animals. Scores 1 and 9 are definite cull animals.

Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Rubric

Though not required, scores recorded per the suggested measurements can voluntarily be sent to the AGA to contribute to ongoing research.

Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Form (Excel)

Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Form (PDF)

Disposition Scoring

Disposition Scoring

Studies have shown that animals with calmer dispositions are more productive both on the ranch as well as in the feedyard and ultimately exhibit higher carcass values and greater tenderness. The AGA is currently in the process of developing a temperament EPD to help better select for a more desirable disposition. Below are guidelines on how to disposition score and what information should be reported to the Association on the registry system.

When to Score:

The ideal time to score is when the calves are still within their weaning contemporary group. This scoring could take place at branding, during the weaning process, or even a short time after weaning when the producer is making the final evaluation of animals prior to them leaving the herd. Scoring at this time gives a better unbiased set of scores across all sires represented in a group of calves.

How to Score:

Below are the Beef Improvement Federation’s Guidelines for Disposition Scoring. This system is a simple 1 to 6 score where animals that score a 1 are the most docile and a 6 is the most aggressive. This docility scoring system is designed to subjectively evaluate difference in disposition when animals are processed through the squeeze chute.

The docility scores below are designed to subjectively evaluate the differences in disposition when animals are processed through the squeeze chute. Scores should be collected while calves are restrained with headgates but without having motion restricted by squeeze.

Score 1 – Docile. Mild disposition. Gentle and easily handled. Stand and moves slowly during processing. Undisturbed, settled, somewhat dull. Does not pull on headgate when in chute. Exits chute calmly.

Score 2 – Restless. Quieter than average, but may be stubborn during processing. May try to back out of chute or pull back on headgate. Some flicking of tail. Exits chute promptly.

Score 3 – Nervous. Typical temperament is manageable, but nervous and impatient. A moderate amount of struggling, movement and tail flicking. Repeated pushing and pulling on headgate. Exits chute briskly.

Score 4 – Flighty (wild). Jumpy and out of control, quivers and struggles violently. May bellow and froth at the mouth. Continuous tail flicking. Defecates and urinates during processing. Frantically runs fence line and may jump when penned individually. Exhibits long flight distance and exits chute wildly.

Score 5 – Aggressive. May be similar to score 4, but with added aggressive behavior, fearfulness, extreme agitation, and continuous movement which may include jumping and bellowing while in chute. Exits chute frantically and may exhibit attack behavior when handled alone.

Score 6 – Very Aggressive. Extremely aggressive temperament. Thrashes about or attacks wildly when confined in small, tight places. Pronounced attack behavior.

Source: 9th Edition Beef Improvement Federation Guidelines.

Mature Cow Weights

Mature Cow Weights

The American Gelbvieh Association is continually developing tools for producers to monitor maternal efficiency. One of those tools is a mature cow weight EPD. Members are asked to collect and submit heifer yearling weights and mature cow weights.

  • Females should have a yearling weight and then several weights as a mature cow. The mature cow weights can fall into different age brackets (2-4 years, 5-8 years, 9+ years).
  • Heifer yearling weights should be taken between 320 and 410 days of age.
  • The ideal time to take cow weights is within 30 days of weaning.
  • The process of taking weights can be combined with other management practices such as ultrasound scans and preg-checking.
  • Weights can easily be submitted at the same time as weaning weights via the member online animal registry system.
Udder Scoring

Udder Scoring

Udder and teat quality are two of the most important functional traits of a mother cow. Udder and teat soundness are a concern for a number of reasons: 1. Labor associated with extra costs and reduced convenience; 2. Longevity, which may be reduced because of injury or mastitis; 3. Calf performance, affected by a reduction in milk flow, or lower colostrum intake by newborn calves having difficulty nursing oversized teats; and 4. Udder and teat characteristics appear to be heritable. This means there is variation in the udder quality of daughters from different sire groups. Thus, udder and teat quality can be changed through selection.

Below is a udder and teat scoring system based on the Beef Improvement Federation’s Guidelines.

Udder suspension and teat size scores are numerical values that reflect differences in udder and teat quality. Udder suspension scores are subjective assessments of udder support and range from 9 (very tight) to 1 (very pendulous). Teat size scores are subjective assessments of teat length and circumference and range from 9 (very small) to 1 (very large). Udder and teat scores should be taken within 24 hours after calving, preferably by one person and on the weakest quarter.

HP and PG30 Data

HP and PG 30 EPD Data

The AGA has developed and released two EPDs to further help producers improve profitability through maternal efficiency. These EPDs are heifer pregnancy (HP) and 30-month pregnancy (PG30). In order for an animal to obtain these EPDs, certain data described below must be turned in on females.HP predicts the profitability that a bull’s daughters will become pregnant as first-calf heifers in a regular breeding season and is expressed as a percentage. To have a heifer pregnancy EPD, a female must have a yearling weight observation to be assumes as exposed to a bull. If a calf is then recorded around two years of age the female is given a successful HP record.30-month pregnancy is the probability that bull’s daughters will become pregnant and calve at three years of age, given they have calved as first-calf heifers. To have a PG30 EPD, a female must have a successful HP record.When the animal has both a successful HP and PG30 record, the animal then receives a $Cow index value.For more information on these EPDs, please visit the EPDs page.

Collecting Carcass Ultrasound Data

Collecting Carcass Ultrasound Data

The American Gelbvieh Association encourages members to collect and submit carcass ultrasound data for inclusion in genetic evaluation and EPD calculations. Official ultrasound barnsheets can be printed from the AGA online registry system, for those members not on the online registry service you may contact the AGA office to request an ultrasound barnsheet. For your ultrasound data to be included in an AGA ultrasound evaluation, the following guidelines must be met:

  • Ultrasound data must be processed through a centralized ultrasound processing lab accredited by the Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC).
  • AGA has no official requirements regarding ultrasound equipment provided the technician is UGC certified and can generate the required ultrasound information.
  • All animals must be on file (registered or computed) with the AGA prior to submitting ultrasound data to the AGA.
  • Data must be submitted to the AGA on barnsheets obtained through the AGA office or via the online registry system.
  • Ultrasound Data Required:
    • Percent IMF – intramuscular fat (0.00 %)
    • Ribeye area (00.0 sq. inches)
    • Rib fat thickness (0.00 inches)
    • Rump fat (0.00 inches)
  • In addition to actual ultrasound data, AGA requires the following information:
    • AGA registration number of each animal
    • Date scanned
    • Actual weight on the date scanned
    • Technician name (must be certified)
    • Ultrasound equipment used
  • Ultrasound carcass data must be collected between 320 and 480 days of age. Collecting data on bulls at or close to an average contemporary group age of 12 months is ideal. Heifers tend to show more variation if they are slightly older, 13-14 months of age
  • AGA recommends that ALL animals are weighed and scanned for a given contemporary group.
  • Animals should be in good flesh at the time of scanning. Bulls should be scanned prior to being taken off of gain test. Heifers should be scanned following a growing or developing program. Scanning at these times allows animals to express maximum genetic differences for marbling and fat thickness.
Data Collection and Trait Links