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The 439 Cow: "Das erbt nach"

The 439 Cow
The 439 Cow at 11 years of age

One of the best daughters of Baruck of Wye 7004 is the “439 Cow.” She is an example of carcass and maternal heritability. The old Germans in Gillespie County had a saying: “das erbt nach.” It means, “it gets inherited,” or “it gets passed on.” They used that saying to describe traits they believed got passed from one generation to another, like “block headedness,” (a trait my wife says I inherited). We have found that carcass traits and maternal traits can be highly heritable. But to find out which cows have those traits takes careful observation over a long period of time. Here is the story of how we discovered those traits in the 439 Cow.

In 1998, we sent a steer of the 439 Cow to Kansas. That steer graded Medium Choice (MT10, Certified Angus Beef). In 1999, we sent another steer. That steer did even better, and graded Prime (SLAB20). Because she produced these two high-quality steers, we decided to flush the 439 Cow. We first flushed her to RP 3rd Bushwacker in 2001. When the GeneSTAR marbling test became available, we tested the 439 Cow. Not surprisingly, the 439 Cow tested homozygous for the GeneSTAR marbling gene. We then flushed her to Alberda Traveler 416 in 2002.

But the story continues. In 2001, the 439 Cow had a natural son, Windy Bar Pedernales L145 (the “L145” bull). We used him heavily as a clean-up bull in 2002. In 2003, we sent seven of his steers to Kansas, along with 14 others, for a total of 21 steers. Out of those seven steers of the L145 bull, six of them were the six highest-marbling steers in the group of 21 steers. These six steers easily beat the two steers out of TC Stockman 365, a bull well known for carcass traits.

The L145 bull was sired by the 7364 bull. The 7364 bull had four steers in the group of 21. Although those four steers did well (50% CAB), they did not come close to those of his son, the L145 bull (86% CAB). Based on this first group of steers, the L145 bull obtained a carcass marbling EPD of +0.49. Apparently, the L145 bull got some of his high marbling genes from the 439 Cow.

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