Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Certified Ultrasound Technicians

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cattle breeders who wish to collect ultrasound data on their cattle should be familiar with the rules and protocols established by their breed association. Once familiar with the guidelines for their breed association, breeders can then contact a UGC-certified field technician to scan their cattle. After scanning the cattle, the field technician will submit the images to a UGC-accredited lab where a UGC-certified lab technician will interpret the images. The lab will then transmit the data to the breed association.

- updated December 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ultrasound Guidelines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The American Salers Association is working closely with Salers producers to increase the number of ultrasound scans on heifers. The following guidelines and procedures may be helpful for producers thinking about taking ultrasound measurements this spring and in the future.

Procedures for Breeder Participation

Salers breeders are asked to fill out a barnsheet for ultrasound scanning. Currently, ASA utilizes the CUP barnsheet or a barnsheet provided by the technician.

Select the scanning technician. Make sure to select a technician that has participated in the annual training and certification program, sponsored by the Ultrasound Guidelines Council.

Breeders need to plan ahead to ensure that scanning is done early enough, if the information is to be included in a sale catalog. If your data are processed through a certified laboratory, processing time will require about seven working days. In some instances, it can take longer.

Breeders should scan all animals in a squeeze chute to ensure image quality and ease of scanning.

Scanning Costs

Scanning fees are set individually by ultrasound technicians. These fees will be approximately $12-$16 per animal plus mileage and setup fees. The fee structure is established by each individual technician and can vary depending on the number of head to be scanned and other circumstances. The technician will bill the breeder directly for the scanning fee.

What the Breeder Receives

Ultrasound images are sent to an approved laboratory for interpretation. Images are cross-checked by more than one image interpreter to ensure quality control in measurement accuracy.

After interpretation, the measurements are forwarded to the breeder and then to the American Salers Association for processing. The ultrasound record processing follows the same format used for weight traits within performance programs. Ultrasound measures are adjusted to 365 days for yearling bulls. The current age end point adjustments for developing heifers is 390 days (approx. 13 months of age).

Ultrasound measurements will include the following on each animal:

  • Rump fat thickness
  • 12-13th rib fat thickness
  • Ribeye area
  • Percentage intramuscular fat (marbling)

Guidelines for Developing Heifers

Breeders should scan developing heifers when they are in the age range shown in the table listed below. All heifers within a contemporary group should be scanned on the same day or over no more than two consecutive days. Many breeders will scan their yearling heifers when other pre-breeding examinations are being performed. As with yearling bulls, it is important that the heifers be scanned when they have sufficient condition for measuring genetic differences. Thin heifers are not suitable for determining external fat differences and marbling differences. It is very likely that a lot of heifers will actually lose condition after breeding time, especially if grazing conditions are not optimal. At this time, breeders are best advised to collect the images on heifers prior to breeding. There is no reason to expect that processing heifers through a squeeze chute to collect the images will have an adverse impact on breeding or reproductive performance.

Breeders should record individual heifer weights within seven days of when the heifers are scanned. Weights should be taken in the morning prior to feeding of the heifers. Heifers should not have access to overnight feed or water prior to weigh collection.

Each contemporary group must have at least two animals of the same sex from the same weaning contemporary group to be considered a proper contemporary group. The number of progeny required to accurately evaluate a sire for carcass traits using ultrasound measures is a direct function of the heritability of the ultrasound-measured trait. Contemporaries must be from the same weaning contemporary group.

Acceptable Scanning Ages
Breed Yearling Bulls Developing Heifers
Salers 330-450 days 330-450 days
Angus 320-440 days 320-460 days
Limousin 330-450 days 330-450 days
BIF Guidelines 335-395 days 335-395 days

By Sherry Doubet - ASA Executive Director
Published in the American Salers Magazine - March 2004

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Frame Score Guidelines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Frame score. Hip height converted to frame score is a linear measurement that helps cattle producers evaluate lean-fat ratio potential of an individual animal in a performance program. No one frame size will be best for all feed resources, breeding systems, and markets. Large-framed animals tend to be heavier at all weights, leaner, and later maturing. Small framed animals tend to be lighter, fatter, and earlier maturing.

Frame scores can be monitored to maintain body size, fatness level, and maturing rate within the optimum ranges dictated by the resources, breeding system, and market specifications of a herd.

Frame score is a convenient way of describing the skeletal size of cattle. With appropriate height/growth curves, most animals should maintain the same frame score throughout their life, regardless of when they are evaluated. However, frame scores may change for animals that mature earlier or later than average for their breed.

The recommended site for hip height measurement is a point directly over the hooks. This measurement should be adjusted to a weaning age-endpoint of 205 days and to yearling age endpoints of 365, 452 or 550 days. The same age range guidelines as for weaning and yearling weights should be used. It is recommended that the actual hip height and adjusted hip height be printed in national cattle evaluations rather than the height ratio. Height Measurement The following tables give current estimates of cattle height, along with adjustment equations for bulls and heifers. Values for steers are not available; however, bull height estimates may be used as approximations for steers.





Rev. May, 2009

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How Can a Single Bull Set You Free?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Purebred Salers breeders, have you ever thought of how all of the Salers breed’s benefits such as:

  • Calving Ease
  • Added Calf Vigor
  • More Live Calves
  • More Live Pounds
  • More Pounds Weaned Per Calf
  • Superior Milk Production
  • Unsurpassed Fertility
  • Extended Longevity
  • Healthy Calves
  • Efficient Feedlot Gains
  • High Yielding Carcasses

helps you enjoy your daily life better? Because Salers are low maintenance aren’t you most likely towatch your children’s or grandchildren’s champion sports performance or listen to their first class musical production? Doesn’t the realization that spending time with the family instead of calving cows set you free? Salers enable you to experience this type of freedom without sacrificing the opportunity to profit more through more live calves, broader marketing windows, and all-around flexibility within the beef industry. You have more freedom to do about anything that is in your reach that your heart desires. It’s time to brag about the benefits that we enjoy by raising Salers cattle and set more people free!

Salers breeders, you should take great pride in raising Salers. Just read what our commercial cattlemen are saying about our great breed!

Bruce Boettcher Nebraska Commercial Cattleman

“I started using Salers bulls in 1986 on my 200 Salers Angus cross cows because they are ease calving and they are an economical breed. I don’t have to pamper them; they fend for themselves. My calf crops have been right at 98%. I sell our calves private treaty. There is such a demand for our calves when we sell them, we don’t need any other data to show to buyers to sell them. We background our calves and sell our heavy calves that weigh about 850 lbs in July and then sell the rest in October or November. Words of advice to commercial cattlemen who haven’t use a Salers bull, ‘Go Get You One!’ They are definitely missing out on calving ease, calf vigor and low maintenance cattle that will take care of themselves. Depending on how many cattle that anyone has, if a person was by himself, you can run more Salers cattle than with any other breed; they are good mothers and take care of themselves.”

Cap Proffitt Barton County Feeders, Kansas

“I bought some cattle from Bill Myers last year and based on our experience with them, we bought them again this year. The cattle met and exceeded all expectations. One particular group of his cattle grade 85% Choice. Salers biggest asset is live performance meaning average daily gain, yield grade and dressing percentage. We have a yield grade and dressing percentage driven grid that these cattle were terrific on. Salers on this particular grid would be among the most consistent breed for this grid. I also bought these cattle again because of their health. They seem to stay healthier than other breeds. Based on the feed weight, we will feed Salers longer but in return get more red meat yield without affecting the production cost. In my experience, as a breed Salers cattle are very consistent. Salers are superior when it comes to dressing percentage compared to other breeds. My feedlot tries to be a predominantly custom feedyard however I am tasked by my customer base to buy them a set of cattle to be placed on feed for them. I prefer breeds like the Salers because with other breeds I don’t get as good grid premiums as I do with Salers. It doesn’t make sense to buy other breeds at a premium price and not get much more of a premium at harvest.”

Bootleg Angus - Hank Vogler Nevada Commercial Cattleman

“People don’t really understand how hard this country is to raise cattle. I live in the true desert of Oregon where it is dirty mean tough country! Its fish or cut bait around here. For my cows it is open range year around. The bulls are out with the cows six months out of the eight months and I only see my cattle twice a year; one time when we brand and the other when we wean. It is up to them to survive. I use Salers bulls on my 600 head of Brangus x Hereford cows because they can survive out here; other breeds are not tough enough for this country. I started raising Salers because I first liked the way they travel; they are clean fronted, long bodied and gentle. They are the type of cattle this industry needs. Most importantly they get the job done! Like I said before, this is rough tough country all year around; there are no calving barns or hay stacks; the cattle are strictly on their own. I really can say that Salers have kept me in the business that I really truly love. When you are a true hearted agri-businessman, like me, you have to find what it takes to get the job done and thanks to Salers, I can do what I truly love to do!”

Troy Blackwell Missouri Commercial Cattleman

“I read a little bit about Salers and since Bruce Lowenburg of Show-Me Salers is my landlord it was pretty convenient to try a Salers bull. The biggest thing that I really like is their calving ease; I have never pulled a calf. I have about 200 cows that consist of Red Angus, Black Angus x Salers and crossbred cows. I haven’t pulled a calf ever since I started using Salers bulls. By increasing the number of live calves, I have improved my profit line. Other than calving ease, they all have been gentle and easy to handle. They are low maintenance meaning that they winter good and stay pretty healthy. I sell my calves at the local livestock sales yard. When I do sell my calves, I am always in the top 30% of the sale.”

Donald Garner Missouri Commercial Cattleman

“I started breeding Salers bulls to breed my heifers. I have 90 head of Hereford and Angus females and I really like the calving ease that the Salers bulls offer. I haven’t had a bit of calving problems over the three years that I have been breeding Salers bulls to my heifers; I have never lost a calf. They definitely have increased my profit line since I have more live calves on the ground each year. The Salers calves are small when they born but it don’t take long before they start growing really fast. Most of the time, I top the market at the local sale yard in February or March. I background the calves until they are around 700 lbs.; they are very efficient gainers. They grow just as good as any other cattle but the main reason why I use Salers bulls is because of the calving ease. My son just bought a Salers bull because I have had such good luck with mine.”

Ken Lierheimer Missouri Commercial Cattleman

“I had been using another breed of bulls on my crossbred cows and one of them went bad and I got a replacement for him. The replacement did alright but I wasn’t quit satisfied so I started looking for different bulls. I have always seen Bruce Lowenburg’s ads so I decided to see what he had for bulls and purchased a red Salers bull. I used him for 2-years and boy, I was getting some fantastic calves out of him. I have been using Salers bulls for 7 to 8 years now and I really like the calving ease that I get in return. I really don’t have to watch my cows too much. I don’t even average one dead calf per year. I had found also that they really are very efficient gainers. I always get a really good premium for them at the livestock sale yard in January. I would recommend other commercial cattlemen to look at someone else’s Salers influence calves to see what they are missing out on. I had a guy who bought a Salers bull because he liked my Salers calves.”

Jeff Jones - JJJ CATTLE CO Utah Salers Purebred Breeder Speaking for His Customer

“We started breeding Salers in the early 1980’s partly for the calving ease but also for their high quality carcass traits I witnessed while I was on the Utah State University livestock judging team. Salers really fit our rugged environment here in Morgan, Utah. We run 450 Salers and Salers cross cows. All of our operation is managed on horseback. We have steep brushy range where water is widely scattered. You don’t have to worry about Salers not finding it. They take care of themselves. The Salers fertility and maternal traits are unbeatable. We calve our cows on horseback, tag and move pairs toward spring range in March and April. Our Salers females do a good job of keeping track of their new calves.

"We background all of our calves and have sold them at Producer’s Livestock Auction in Greeley, Colo. during the National Western for 15 years. Buyers have heard about how good our cattle do on the rail which is why our cattle top the sale every year. I received data back from one of my buyers for two groups of my 2004 calves. These two groups of calves averaged way above the average in quality and yield grade. One group of 40 heifers were 82.5% Choice with 97.5% yield grade 3 or better. On second group of 52 heifers, 74.51% graded Choice. This group also had a 64.07% dressing percent. My buyer is thrilled to have purchased these calves!”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Contemporary Groups...You can't have accurate EPDs without them

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Accurate EPDs are an important part of the seedstock business. One critical part of accurate genetic evaluation is accurate submission of weights and measurements to the Association. Perhaps the most important component of data submission is accurate contemporary grouping.

Most reading about this topic may find it boring and dull, but remember, in relation to your data, the topic is electrifying.

A contemporary group consists of animals that have been exposed to the same external environment. ASA has four automatic contemporary group splits:

  1. Same sex
  2. Born in the same herd and season (within 90 days)
  3. Managed together and treated alike and
  4. Have the same weigh date.

Items 1, 2 and 4 are self explanatory. Defining and discussing item 3- “managed together and treated alike” is the objective of this article.

Most contemporary group errors are made when submitting weaning data in the management code and management group sections of ASA forms. Management code details are noted first.

Chart 1 lists ASA management code definitions:

ASA Management Codes

1 – no creep, raised by natural dam

2 – received creep feed, raised by natural dam

3 – fed for show, within show/sale group

4 – embryo transfer

5 – irregular, such as twin, sick, injured

The second section contains optional management group information. Most often this is where confusion comes in. If one group of cows are run on irrigated pasture with exceptional forage resources, and another group of cows are grazing native prairie grass there will probably be a difference in the weaning weights of the calves. Therefore, the calves in each group should be reported as being in different management groups even if they have the same weigh date.

Commonly, breeders think calves can be grouped together even if they were raised in different pastures. Most think that differences in “prairie grass” pastures on the same ranch are minimal. Studies have shown that pastures next to each other that visibly look the same can still cause large discrepancies in weaning weights among the calves in those different pastures. Inaccurate submission of the data from these two pastures as the same group causes negative and inaccurate effects on the EPD of both the calf and the entire pedigree. When submitting data in this case, list two different numbers, such as 1 or 2, in the management group section.

To most producers larger contemporary groups are perceived to equate to more accurate EPDs. This is true in reference to higher calculated accuracy values such as are listed by each trait in the Sire Summary. If larger groups should be split into smaller groups due to pasture differences, the EPDs you generate by doing this will be more informative and more accurately relate to the true differences.

To help explain this I’ve borrowed an example from Wade Shafer, Director of Performance Programs at the American Simmental Association.

Let’s say we have weaning weights on 15 calves apiece by three sires. Let’s also say they were raised in three different pastures with five calves from each sire per pasture. If we ignore the rules and group all 45 calves together, it is true that the calves’ EPDs will have a slightly higher calculatedaccuracy than if we went by the book and sorted them into 3 contemporary groups. On the other hand, grouping all the calves together will actually lower their factual accuracy compared to placing the calves in 3 groups.

The impact on sire accuracy may be surprising at first glance, but it does make intuitive sense; we would certainly put more faith in a sire tested across multiple management scenarios and physical environments than a single-contemporary group proof. In this case properly grouping your calves supplies EPDs as close to an animal’s true genetic value as possible.

In summary, before filling out that next set of performance forms take a few minutes and think about accurate contemporary groups.

Common Pitfalls when turning in performance information

  • Don’t bias ratios. Take weights on the entire crop – not just the top 50%
  • Accurately record Management Codes (as listed in chart 1)
  • Split off twins Split off Sick or Injured calves
  • Make sure to denote those animals pulled out and fed more
  • Accurately record Pasture Management Groups
  • If you cut bulls at weaning, record weight as a bull not a steer
  • Make sure most calves are between 160 and 250 days of age for weaning
  • Contact the ASA before weighing if you have questions
  • Correct errors if data was recorded incorrectly
Print Friendly, PDF & Email