Free tool: Beef Cattle EPD Resource application for iPhone and Android
Cell phones and cowboys go hand-in-hand these days. With modern technology, the information a rancher needs to do their job is just a quick click away. Things are about to get a lot easier, too, with the “Beef Cattle EPD Resource” application for iPhones and Androids.
This EPD application was created and developed by Mindy Montgomery, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, who was inspired by a classroom assignment in her Advanced Methods of Teaching Agriculture course at Mizzou. Her new application will become the basis of what her entire master’s degree program will be based on. Montgomery hopes the application will be a practical tool for producers when making breeding decisions.
So, what does the application do? The Beef Cattle EPDs Resource Guide is a free tool that offers quick, instant access to expected progeny difference (EPD) averages of Angus, Charolais, Chianina, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Maine Anjou, Red Angus, Shorthorn and Simmental cattle. Montgomery hopes to also bridge the gap between traditional EPDs and genomics.
“How often are you checking cows and wanting to compare their performance data to breed averages or standing in the barn with the AI gun loaded and second guessing your breeding decision?” asks Montgomery, who has been busy traveling to promote her new application. “You may not have your record keeping computer next to you or the latest bull catalog at hand, but now, with any smartphone or tablet computer that has the Android or Apple iOS operating system, you can solve this problem. The new, free Beef Cattle EPD App allows users quick, instant access to EPDs.”
Her promotions have been well received by industry professionals and producers.
“So far, producer response has been really positive,” said Montgomery. “In addition to new application users, I have also reached a global audience with survey response from producers in Australia and Brazil wanting versions of this App for their respective EPD systems.”
The survey Montgomery is referring to is included with the application. This 10-question survey is entirely anonymous and consists of six multiple choice questions and four fill-in-the-blank questions. The survey wants to know: where, when and how the data was helpful to its user.
In addition to providing quick access to EPD information, one of the ways Montgomery hopes this application will be useful is in educating producers about new DNA technology.
“It’s important to note that, to date, the educational link in the beef industry doesn’t have a significant presence, but does demonstrate a need, especially with new DNA technology entering our industry,” said Montgomery.
She explained that traditional educational resources like university Extension service has declined in programs available for producers due to budget cuts, and she said this new application might help fill the void in educational programs regarding EPDs and genomics.
Producers can find the application on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/pk/app/beef-cattle-epds/id413237460?mt=8. Once the application is downloaded, the home screen of the App will display three links: a Facebook page, an e-mail address to the creator and a link to a survey. Become a fan of the Facebook page to receive any new announcements and learn when the application needs to be updated, recommended Montgomery.
“The App is easy to use with only four tabs,” said Montgomery. “See current EPD breed averages included in a percentile breakdown chart and EPD definitions specific to individual breeds. DNA technology is introduced using a quick guide to Pfizer’s HD 50Ks and MVPs along with Merial’s Igenity Profile. The Beef Cattle EPD Resource Guide App has been created to be used as an educational tool. Establishing a basic beef cattle genetics education is important to help producers make more educated breeding decisions. Establishing a basic EPD education can lead to the understanding and implementation of new DNA technology in the beef industry.”
The entire beef industry chain, from seedstock producers to processors, can benefit from this application. If you’re a cattle rancher who owns an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or Android Operating System, be sure to take advantage of this free program to assist in making breeding decisions down the road. Montgomery hopes this will revolutionize the way producers access information. In a world where cell phones are as common on ranches as cattle, it will certainly be possible.
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