The Results Are In – Olsen NRSP 2017 Performance

February 19, 2019

Below are the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) results from 2017-born calves at Olsen Ranch in Harrisburg, Neb. The cow base used at Olsen Ranch for the NRSP is a commercial Hereford herd, and this year is the ranch’s 20th anniversary of providing phenomenal results.

Because of the American Hereford Association’s (AHA) partnerships with various test herds like Olsen’s, breeders can make better-informed decisions relative to traits of interest. This test evaluates reference sires to further validate their values and to compare those young sires with the Hereford population. Ultimately the AHA’s goal is to identify young sires that can positively affect the marketplace and give seedstock and commercial breeders alike proof Hereford genetics are profitable.

2017 Olsen Ranch results
Table 1 lists the phenotypic averages by sire group for dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG), along with calculated feed conversion (F:G) results. The adjusted F:G ratio takes body weight into account.

Likewise, Table 2 lists the complete performance results from birth to harvest by sire group. It is important to note the two distinct groups were analyzed separately, as the first calf heifers were managed differently from the mature cows. Consequently, two separate contemporary groups were formed, and data should only be compared within each group.

Table 3 showcases the phenotypic averages of each group to complement tables 1 and 2. In regards to the progeny averages, both groups of cattle performed extremely well on their 70-day feed test. Also, each group had very impressive marbling score averages. The progeny out of the heifers averaged 634 (high Choice), while the progeny out of the cows averaged 589 (top-end average Choice). In fact, 77 percent of the 253 steers evaluated graded a remarkable upper-two-thirds Choice and higher. These impressive marbling achievements are attributed to the strict selection emphasis of Olsen Ranch and are a true testament to the progress made in the breed! Both groups of cattle offered more-than acceptable carcass weight and ribeye area but were pushed a little past their optimum end points based on their backfat measurements.

Table 4 shows the improvements in accuracy as a result of collecting actual carcass data. Prior to the test, there were 11 sires that did not have carcass progeny data, but after participating in the NRSP, these sires saw a valuable increase in carcass accuracy values. This increase confirms the value of enrolling young sires in the NRSP, as the program proves the genetic merit of these up-and-coming sires as well as identifies bulls that truly check the boxes at the given data points.

Table 5 displays the expected progeny differences (EPDs) for the sires used in the Olsen test and are reflective of the genetic evaluation released Jan. 28, 2019. All phenotypes measured are included in this genetic evaluation release. Regardless, I encourage you to study the genetic profiles of the sires used to find a bull that will work in your program.

In my opinion, there are several bulls that will satisfy multiple economically relevant traits (ERTs). If interested in participating in the NRSP, please refer to the nomination form or visit

Nominations are due March 1.

This article originally appeared in the 2019 February Hereford World. To view the original article, click here.