Performance Clear to the Bone

Sale Barn at Apex Angus

The ranches began performance testing with the original Montana Beef Performance Association in the late 1960's, since that time the ranch has consistently consigned bulls to performance test stations. Registered cattle were introduced into the operation in 1972. Today, the Swanson's run two Angus herds with approximately 675 females. About half are registered cows with the remaining half commercial cows.

An annual Value Added production sale is held the first Tuesday in March at the home ranch. Offered each year are 100 top yearling bulls plus a few select registered female lots and some commercial females.

Crowd at recent Apex Angus saleThe ranch's first experience with carcass traits occurred through an involvement with 4-H steers. Utilizing carcass data, feedlot performance and expected progeny differences (EPDs), Apex continues to focus on providing maximum customers satisfaction. In 1993 Apex took the next step in tracking their steers by participating in the Certified Angus Beef Program's Value Discovery Project. They have received excellent results, with all six of the ranch's steers sired by Apex V Oscar 9026 graded Choice, with an average yield grade of 2,54 and average hot carcass weight of 709 pounds. Two head met Certified Angus Beef TM product carcass specifications.

In 1994 Apex Transform 013 was the top selling bull at the Midland Test Station. Through cooperative partnership on the bull, Apex was able to enroll Apex Transform 013 in two commercial sire evaluation test herds which will yield even more valuable progeny carcass data.

Performance Data

Apex Transform 013
Calved Jan 12, 1993 • 12039689

       Rito 2100 GDAR #
Transformer 100 EAR
Travelers Marias JE 489
Rito Ever 865 GDAR #
Blackcap Lady 999 GDAR #
QAS Traveler 23-4 #
Basin Elone 2159
       Hilltop Mr. Omega 251 #
Apexette Chloe 5003
Apexette 2009
Mr. Omega
Hilltop Shoshone Lass 1878 #
Apex 8034
Apexette 3009

Pathfinder (#) - Sire and dam's pedigree are indicated by this symbol.  Beginning with the first calf, all calves must be recorded in AHIR.  No irregular weanings or calves by commercial sires are used in the analysis.  Weaning weight must be processed on a calf born after June 30th.  Cow must have had her first calf at an equal to or less than the average age of the herd at first calving, plus 30 days.  She must maintain a regular calving interval.  A cow must have produced  at least three calves with a ratio of 105. evaluated with at least 9 other herd mates.  To become a Pathfinder sire such as Hilltop Mr. Omega 251, he has sires at least 5 Pathfinder daughters.






Birth EPD (BW) - A predictor of progeny birthweight  transmitted by the sire.

Weaning EPD (WW) - Predictor of a sires ability to transmit weaning growth to his progeny.

Maternal Milk EPD (MILK) - Predictor of sire's genetic merit for milk and mother ability as expressed in his daughters.

Carcass Value*
taken from the Angus Journal

Meaningful carcass data from the proven sires creates a unique buying opportunity for those wanting to concentrate on carcass quality and retain ownership of their calves.

Carcass EPD









Apex Transform 013 Carcass EPDs

Carcass Weight EPD (CARCASS WEIGHT) -  Carcass Weight is a good predictor of total retail product.  In general, carcass weight is not a good predictor of percent retail product.  Selecting sires with the higher EPD for carcass weight will result in progeny carcasses that produce more total retail product at a constant fat and age end point.  An industry target weight range for carcasses would be between 650 and 850 pounds.

Marbling Score EPD (MARBLING) - Although a less than accurate subjective measurement of intramuscular fat in the ribeye, the marbling score EPD can be used to select sires that will produce progeny with more marbling at a constant fat and age endpoint.  The higher the marbling score EPD, the higher the amount of intramuscular fat in the ribeye.  It should be noted that the genetic correlation between marbling score and external backfat at the twelfth rib id nearly zero.  This means that breeders can select for increased marbling, and not have to worry about selecting for increased for external fat when taking animals to an age-constant endpoint.

Ribeye Area EPD (RIBEYE AREA) - Cross-sectional area of the longisismus dorsi muscle (ribeye area) at the twelfth rib has been shown to account for a significant amount of variation in percent retail product at a constant carcass weight endpoint.  This means that given two sires with the same carcass weight EPD, the sire with teh higher EPD for RIBEYE AREA will have progeny that yield more percent retail product.

Fat Thickness (FAT THICKNESS) - The twelfth rib fat thickness heritability has been estimated to be .25 from the Angus carcass database.  According to research from MARC, there is a high  negative genetic relationship (-.74) between external twelfth rib fat thickness and percent retail product.   From the Angus field data this correlation has been estimated at -.85, but it must be remembered that the percent retail product used for sire evaluation, is made up of component traits of which fat thickness is the biggest contributor.

% Retail


Percent Retail Product (% RETAIL PRODUCT) - A predictor of the difference in pounds of saleable retail product of a given sire's progeny, compared to the average sire in the Angus Breed.

beyond boundariessolid foundationspreferred siresvalue-addedriding for the brandhome
beyond boundariessolid foundationspreferred siresvalue-addedriding for the brandhome