Brahman EPDs and Pedigrees

What Brahman EPDs and Symbols Mean

We always like to share information to help new people in the Brahman breed understand some of the things we take as second nature. One of these would be understanding Brahman EPDs and also understanding the symbols you see in front of Brahman pedigrees.


+ – A plus sign in front of a name means “Register of Renown” which is a designation given to animals of point earning offspring in the show ring. This is a very prestigious award to win, and an animal must have multiple calves winning in shows to receive this honor.

 = An equals means “Maternal Merit,” an award given to cows who are not in an ET program and have a  regular calving interval and above-average progeny performance over a multi-year period. This is a great award to achieve.

A = in front of a bull means “Maternal Performance Sire” – bulls who produce multiple Maternal Merit daughters


 (+) means “Vanguard Sire” a bull that is both Register of Renown and Maternal Performance Sire. This is like “the cream of the crop” and there are very few of these.


$ means “Vanguard Cow” a cow that is both Register of Renown and Maternal Merit. This is very rare.

When you also look at the pedigree, you will see the EPDs. Here is an explanation of what the EPDs mean:

  • BW EPD – Expressed in pounds, a predictor of a sire’s ability to transmit birth weight to his progeny compared to that of other sires. 
  •  WW EPD- Expressed in pounds, a predictor of a sire’s ability to transmit weaning growth to his progeny compared to that of other sires.
  • YW EPD – Expressed in pounds, a predictor of a sire’s ability to transmit yearling growth to his progeny compared to that of other sires.
  • Milk EPD – A predictor of a sire’s genetic merit for milk and mothering ability expressed in his daughters compared to daughters of other sires. 
  • REA EPD – Expressed in square inches, a predictor of the difference in rib eye area of a sire’s progeny compared to progeny of other sires.
  • Marbling EPD – Expressed as a fraction of the difference in USDA marbling score of a sire’s progeny compared to progeny of other sires.
  • Tenderness EPD – A measurement combining Warner-Bratzler Shear Force from harvest data and GeneSTAR DNA results for tenderness. A lower value indicates more tender meat and is more desirable.
  • Actual BW – Actual birth weight taken at the ranch. All calves are weighed individually using birth weight tapes.
  • Adj. WW- Adjusted weaning weight. 
  • Adj. YW – Adjusted yearling weight.
  • % IMF – Percent intramuscular fat is an objective measurement of marbling in live cattle. Marbling is the main trait used to determine USDA Quality grades. A value of 4.0 is the minimum score to equal USDA Choice. 
  • REA – Rib eye area, in square inches, measured between the 12th and 13th ribs,  gives an estimate muscle in the animal.
  • REA/CWT – A ratio of rib eye area per 100 pounds, with favorable scores being 1.0 or higher. 
  • Backfat – Backfat, in inches, measured between the 12th and 13th ribs.  

If you are interested in learning more about Brahman cattle, we invite you to sign up for our Brahman Academy. This is a 12-hour online video series that teaches you ALL about Brahman cattle for $149 lifetime access.

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