The Female Foundation Project

The Canadian Gelbvieh Association has enrolled 1200 females over 22 herds thus far. The program aims to examine the different measures and methodologies of assessing docility. The methods for assessing docility include crush scores, flight speed, pen scores, and artificial intelligence evaluation through the development and training of BETSY with OneCup AI.

We will look to examine the interrelationships of various traits, including docility on profit drivers such as mothering ability, calf survival, rebreeding success, longevity and carcass characteristics. We will look at developing an interrelationship matrix that can be used in the creation of a maternal selection index which includes the influence of docility.

All participating herds must 100K test all of the females in their herd. This is at a reduced rate of $20 / test. The Canadian Gelbvieh Association is investing $10 / test and thank you to Neogen Canada for sponsoring $10 / test as well. It is an investment in the Gelbvieh herd book that will go toward ensuring herdbook accuracy in terms of parentage and also improving the accuracy of the EPD evaluations for participating herds. Females represent a large portion of retained animals within the purebred herdbook and a large proportion of animals that go toward the accuracy of EPD evaluations. Thank you to Allflex for sponsoring the TSUs for all females enrolled in the project.

Each animal is assessed on the following:

  • Movement score (MOV)
    • Assessed the movement of the animals inside the squeeze chute (crush) [from 1 = no movement to 5 =constant and vigorous movements, animal can jump and raises its forelimbs off the ground]
  • Tension score (TENS)
    • Assessed the cattle overall body tension, and head, ear and tail movements scoring [from 1 = No sudden movements of the tail, head, and neck, no muscle tremors to 4 = exhibited continuous and vigorous movements of the tail, head and neck]
  • Crush score (CS)
    • Assessed the cattle overall reactivity inside the squeeze chute [from 1 = animal does not offer resistance, remains with head, ears and tail relaxed to 4 = offers great resistance, abrupt and vigorous movements of the whole animal as well as the head, ear and tail, sclera of the eye visible, audible breathing and may jump or fall]
  • Flight speed (FS)
    Measured the speed at which the animal leaves the crush after being weighed using a chronometer
  • Or Flight speed Score (FSS)
    Visual score of how each animal leaves the crush after being weighed [from 1 = walking to 4 = running]
  • Pen score (PS)
    • Assessed the reaction of the animals in a pen of the corral [ from 1 = the animal walks slowly, allowing proximity to the observer to 4 = runs during the entire time of the assessment, jumps against fences and obstacles, and tries to attack the observer]

Click on the below video links to see examples of the different camera views we set up to record these docility evaluations. Thank you to Goodview Gelbvieh for piloting the camera views in helping to train the BETSY artificial intelligence. The animal in these videos scored the following:
MOV = 2
TENS = 1
CS = 2
FSS = 1
PS = 1

Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

The Gelbvieh breed is known for it’s docility and mothering ability. Both very economical traits in the beef industry. We look forward to collecting the data to back up the long standing reputation of the breed and helping to pioneer the data collection of this phenotype using innovative technology.

The CGA office will provide reports on the following information:
  • Weights
  • ADG
  • Feed to Gain
  • Ultrasound results
  • RFI data

If you are interested in participating in an RFI test or have any questions please contact the office.


Scanning should be completed by a certified technician and within the acceptable age range. The range for Canadian Gelbvieh animals is 320 to 410 days of age. Barn sheets will be required by the lab. You may generate these through your Digital Beef login. Contact the office with any questions.

Yearling Bulls

Weights – should be taken within 7 days of the scan date and preferably before morning feeding.

Gain - The best measure of a bull's propensity for marbling and muscle expression is when the bull is being fed to gain at least three pounds per day. Additionally, these tendencies will best be expressed at the end or near the end, of a post-weaning gain test.

Contemporary group – contemporaries must be from the same weaning contemporary group.

Replacement Heifers

Weights - should be taken within 7 days of the scan date and preferably before morning feeding.

Contemporary group – contemporaries must be from the same weaning contemporary group.

Feedlot Steers and Heifers

Scans - Feedlot animals should be scanned when the contemporary group averages 0.3 - 0.4 inches of external fat or just prior to slaughter.

Weights - should be taken within 7 days of the scan date and preferably before morning feeding.

Contemporary group – contemporaries must be from the same weaning contemporary group.

All animals within a contemporary group should be scanned on the same day or no more than three consecutive days.

Beef ultrasound measurements collected for each animal include:
  • Rump fat thickness
  • 12-13th rib fat thickness
  • Ribeye area
  • Percentage intramuscular fat (marbling)


Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs)

EPDs are generated using the Single-Step Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation powered by BOLT by International Genetic Solutions (IGS). The new genetic evaluation provides more predictive EPDs, better use of genomics, more accurate accuracy reported with EPDs, all with weekly evaluations. Single-step uses DNA markers, pedigree information, and phenotypic data simultaneously in the prediction of EPDs. The BOLT single-step method only uses DNA markers that have a meaningful impact on the traits of interest, while ignoring those that have little to no effect, thereby increasing the accuracy of the EPD prediction. For more information on the individual trait evaluations and indexes please go to the CGA website.

Genomically Enhanced EPDs

Genomically enhanced EPDs are EPDs that are calculated while factoring in a high density genomic profile on the animal. Animals with genomically enhanced EPDs have their EPDs displayed on Digital Beef with a yellow highlight. Providing a high density genotype allows for increased accuracy in the EPD evaluation, just as an increase in the number of progeny and their performance data increases the EPD evaluation on a given sire or dam. The table below is a display of estimated progeny equivalents. An estimated progeny equivalent is the average number of progeny records it would take to see an equivalent change in accuracy from a genomic test. Over time these estimates will change as the statistical models improve, the number of phenotypes reported increase, and genomic data improves.
Example: If Sire A has no progeny reported to him and he is genotyped with a high density profile, then the accuracy of his EPD is the same as having over 25 calves with a calving ease direct record.

EPD trait definitions

DNA Testing

Please ensure that you have reviewed the CGA DNA regulations and that all of your animals comply with the DNA requirements. All DNA samples are to mailed directly to the lab at the address below. Before mailing your sample ensure that you have made your DNA requests through the CGA office.

Intro Video

DNA Regulations

DNA for Gelbvieh Breeders

Mailing Samples

Please mail your samples directly to the lab.
Neogen Canada
7323 Roper Road NW
Edmonton, AB T6E 0W4
* When mailing your samples be sure to indicate that you are a CGA member on your sample envelopes. Also be sure to include your information and return address. When labelling your sample envelopes with the animals tattoo, please ensure you are labelling your tattoo accurately, the same as you have recorded in Digital Beef. Without all of this information, the lab will not be able to find your DNA request orders coming from the CGA office.

Taking Samples

Samples must be submitted via hair card, blood card, or tissue sampling unit (TSU). You can get these supplies directly from Neogen Canada by contacting Michelle Miller at You will be billed directly from Neogen Canada for these supplies.

• Blood cards $0.25/card
• Hair cards $0.60/card
• TSU $2.50/tube, come in boxes of 10
• TSU applicator $45.00

Submitting DNA Requests

You must make your DNA requests through the CGA office before mailing your samples directly to the lab. All DNA tests have a 21 day turnaround time. Delays in turnaround time may occur if you have not submitted your requests before the samples arrive at the lab. You can make your requests online through Digital Beef or using the below DNA request form.

Male Fertility Research Project

The purpose of this research project is to better understand what male fertility traits are most critical to getting cows bred, better understand the genetic relationships between male fertility and other economically relevant traits, and to prototype a genetic evaluation for the most important traits. The goals of the project are as follows.

  • Evaluate the impact of male fertility on conception rates and develop a prototype sire conception rate EPD for beef cattle
  • Provide a prototype for evaluation of male fertility in beef bulls utilizing semen quality metrics from AI studs and BSE evaluations of natural service sires
  • Identify and validate QTL and genetic variants predictive for male fertility component traits
  • Estimate genetic correlations between semen quality parameters and growth, reproductive and carcass traits

Please use the following link to record your breeding soundness data and submit it to the CGA office. You can record breeding soundness data from older, previously tested bulls and bulls you are currently going to get tested. Recording the same bull from year to year is also encouraged.


Why participate?

Those who participate will have access to the data and conclusions made from the research project. Participants will also have access to the EPD evaluations developed. Being involved from the ground up will give the CGA the opportunity to publish the evaluation as soon as it becomes available, as our data will have already been collected.