and disposition, to name a few. I will highlight each of these items for you. Cost: Each of us buys bulls as a long-term investment, keep ing them in the herd for several years. But with today’s prices, we can shy away from the price tag. Start with a budget and, as they say with gambling, bet with your head, not over it. The balance is not to sacrifice the traits you want for the cost of the bull. The bull is going to be half of the genetics on the calf and must overcome the deficiency in the cow as well as the previous bull. In setting your budget, be mindful of the return on invest ment or, as some say, how long it will take for the bull to pay for himself. Also, buy bulls from someone you trust. Do your home work when buying a bull. Getting to know the management of your bull is just as important as the cost. Traits: Barzona cattle have specific traits we all desire and what draws us to them. Each herd has unique traits, so when selecting a bull, one must seek out the trait they desire to introduce and improve their herd. One such way is to discuss with the seller about the records kept on the bull, such as birth weight, weaning and yearling weights, maternal ability, calving ease direct, etc. Depending on the producer, some may be able to provide you with data through expected progeny differences or DNA evaluations. If the seller provides you with data, know how to interpret the data to make the most informed decision. No question is a dumb question when buying a bull. Remember, you are selecting for herd improvement. Do not select for a de sired trait and sacrifice a trait in the herd you do not want to give up. Take your time while making your selection. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your herd won’t be either. Conformation: Data and records can only go so far. The bull might be the best thing and the top of his industry – on paper – but does not have what it takes to be turned out with the cows. Look at the bull. My great-grandfather always said, “The best way to tell is to look at ‘em!” What does he look like? How does the bull move? Is he sound? Having a better confor mation bull within the frame size you desire is better on the bottom dollar than one with poorer conformation. According to the USDA feeder calf standard, bulls should generally have a muscling score of 1 and be medium-plus to large-minus framed. Ultimately, select for what you want your bull to look like and for soundness. Scrotal Circumference: When talking to the seller, ask about scrotal circumference of the bull at 1 year of age. A bull with a bigger scrotal circumference can cover more cows. If you are attempting to decide if you can cover 25 head with one bull or two, the scrotal circumference could be a determining factor. If you’re looking for breeding age in heifers, remember that yearling bulls with larger testicles sire daughters that reach puberty at a younger age. The generally accepted scrotal mea surement is 30 cm at 1 year of age. The closer to that size the better. While talking to the seller, also ask if a breeding sound ness exam has been performed on the bull and what the results of the exam were. Condition and Disposition: Last, I would look at the bull’s condition and disposition. A fat bull will have as hard a time breeding a cow as a skinny bull. The bull’s overall condition can affect semen quality, stamina and conformation. Keeping your bulls healthy and at an optimum body condition score will help their longevity and help you get more years out of your investment. Look at the bull’s disposition. Is he nervous? High headed? Difficult to handle? Disposition can be passed on to offspring. Plus, no one wants a bull that is a pain to deal with. Continued on page 3 ›
By Matthew Heinz, Golden Hz Farms, BBAA President
. W elcome to this edition of the Barzona Bulletin . Sever al exciting things are happening within the Barzona Breeders Association of America (BBAA). The BBAA Feedlot Committee met several times over the last few months, ironing out the details for the feed efficiency test. More details can be found in the executive secretary’s report this month. I would like to thank all committee members for taking the time to meet, work together and come up with the rules for our Barzona cattle to go into this test. Golden Hz Farms held our first Barzona auction. Not only did we have high-quality Barzona cattle from our farm, but other members consigned the best bulls from their herds as well. Golden Hz Farms would like to thank those consigners. Bulls are still available from all BBAA members. You can contact the breeder directly or the BBAA executive secretary and she will make sure you get what you need for your herd. Bull-buying season is upon us. Purchasing a bull is the quick est way to see results within your herd, but it should not be done without doing your homework. You want to select a bull that will make improvements to your herd, not delay positive results for several years. As a producer, you want to identify the product you’re producing. Are you selling seedstock? Fat cattle? Freezer beef? When selecting bulls, we look at several factors, including cost, traits, conformation, scrotal circumference, and condition From all of us at Golden HZ Farms a big thanks to our bidders, consignors and buyers !
LIST OF CONSIGNORS: G olden H z F arms r aymond B oykin d odd C armiCHael
Golden Hz J45, consigned by Golden Hz Farms and sold to Mike Decker.
2 | BARZONA BULLETIN OH Jasper 102, consigned by Raymond Boykin and sold to Steve Smith.
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