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VQA Sire EPD Specifications Spring 2008

Livestock Update, February 2008

Scott P. Greiner, Ph.D., Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech

The Virginia Quality Assured Feeder Calf Program has established a strong reputation as a source of high quality feeder cattle.  This strong reputation has assisted many producers in adding value to their beef enterprise.  In 2007, over 14,000 VQA calves were marketed at a $34.92 per head ($5.23 cwt.) premium compared to graded feeder cattle sold at the same time.  The added value for VQA calves is the result of several factors, including program standards for animal health, genetics, and management.  Specifically, to qualify for VQA designation, feeder cattle must have received a prescribed vaccination program, be sired by bulls with minimum EPD requirements, and come from a producer’s who is Beef Quality Assurance certified.

Genetic specifications for the VQA program are presented in the following table.  VQA Purple Tag requirements include a specification that sires must meet minimum yearling weight growth Expected Progeny Differences (EPD).  Each calf’s sire must meet breed-specific yearling weight EPD minimums to qualify for the Purple Tag.  The intention of the sire growth EPD specification is to verify these calves have documented genetic potential for post-weaning growth performance.  Research has demonstrated that feedlot profitability is highly related to cost of gain (cost to put on live weight or carcass weight), which is primarily a function of growth (ADG), feed efficiency, health, and feed costs.  Post-weaning growth can be effectively enhanced through selection using Yearling Weight EPD.

The following table provides the breed minimum yearling weight EPD requirements for bulls born Fall 2006 and Spring 2007.  Calves sired by bulls with yearling weight EPDs greater than or equal to the minimums published are eligible for the purple tag.  In the event a bull does not have a yearling weight EPD, weaning weight EPD is used as the specification.  For specifications for bulls born in previous years, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office or the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association.


VQA Purple Tag
Sire Minimum Yearling Weight EPD Requirements
Bulls Born Fall 2006 & Spring 2007


Breed (%)









Charolais (PB and 15/16)



Gelbvieh (PB)



Gelbvieh (Balancer)









Red Angus



Simmental (PB )



Simmental (1/2)



*WW EPD only used if YW EPD not available



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