The program identifies Pathfinder Cows in herds actively involved in AHIR. First, the female must produce her first calf near the herd's average age for first calving. More specifically, the maximum age accepted for first calving of a Pathfinder Cow is the within-herd average for first calving plus 30 days. The within-herd average is determined separately for each herd on AHIR.
As a second criteria, the Pathfinder Cow must maintain a regular calving interval. The maximum calving interval is: 365 Days, + or - 30 days.
Next, to qualify initially, her first three calves must post a minimum average progeny weaning weight ratio of 105. Should she fail to do this on her first three calves, she can qualify later by achieving an average progeny weaning weight ratio of 105, provided she meets the other requirements. A minimum of 5 herdmates or contemporaries of the same sex must be evaluated together each year to determine the weight ratio. Additionally, her calves must be sired by registered Angus bulls. To continue to qualify each consecutive year, the cow must produce regularly and wean a calf that helps maintain the average weaning ratio of 105 or above. It is pointed out that once a cow is designated a Pathfinder, she is always a Pathfinder, even though she might not qualify for listing each year.
The Pathfinder Angus program was started in 1978 in an effort to identify superior cows in the breed based on their records of performance from Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR). In identifying these superior cows, emphasis was placed on early puberty, breeding and early calving, followed by regularity of calving and above-average performance of the offspring.
While outstanding cows can be identified after their first or second calves, the Pathfinder Report requires a minimum of three calves from a cow to determine her regularity of calving and ability to produce superior calves for weaning weight year after year. In addition, an important part of the report is the list of bulls that have sired five or more qualifying females. The Angus Pathfinder Report identifies cows that have excelled in production based on AHIR records of performance. To qualify for the report, a cow must have produced a calf measured through AHIR in the past 18 months.