What are Outliers & how do I deal with them?
Outliers are animals, which have extreme performance figures for one or more particular traits. These figures can be extremely high or extremely low in relation to figures on other animals within the same-recorded (management) group.
When the computer identifies these animals, it brings them to your attention by flagging them as OUTLIERS in your herd report (highlighted by ***). What the computer is telling you in doing this, is that there is a possibility that:
Either the information you recorded on these animals, (eg birthweight, weaning weight etc) – or the information presented to the computer for evaluation is incorrect. There are a number of reasons why this may be so:
- The animal may have received different treatment to that of other animals within that management group. For instance, the animal may have been taken out of the group for show purposes and fed grain; it may have been sick or it may have been used for mating as a yearling.
- The incorrect information may have been entered on to the input sheet, the computer disk or into the computer.
The computer will NOT print out EBVs on an outlier until the input information on the animal is investigated and proved to be correct.
It is very important therefore that if one of your animals is identified as an outlier, that you contact your breed society office, or myself at Performance Beef Breeders, so that the information can be investigated. If you do NOT do this, the animal will miss the breed group run (analysis) and you will NOT receive any EBVs for it.
Unfortunately, with the new TACE (TransTasman Cattle Evaluation) Version 4.1 computer programme, you cannot get interim EBVs on animals that have NOT been evaluated in the group run. This means you will have to wait a year, until the next group run, before you can get EBVs on the animal.
The worst possible scenario is if you have an outstanding bull identified as a legitimate outlier and you do not get the information on him checked before the group run, you will have no EBVs on him when you want to sell or use him as a 2 year old. You will have to wait until the following year for his EBVs. Whatsmore, you will have to wait a year before the information on the bull has any impact on the EBVs of his parents.
The message is to AVOID outliers by:
- Making sure all animals within a recorded (management) group are treated the same. (If they are not, put them into a separate management group)
- Ensuring that the correct information (figures) goes onto your input forms or your computer disks.
The outlier identification procedure is the means by which TACE “polices” the input information and ensures that no-one “cooks the books”.
The probability of an outlier occurring is one in every 2,500 animals, so the chance of one being reported in your herd is small.
REMEMBER: Swoop on those OUTLIERS as soon as they appear on your herd reports and contact your breed society office immediately Phone 06 323 4484 to get the information checked.