Bull Buying Considerations and Why Quality Matters


A s we leave the fall days be hind, producers are already gearing up for the upcoming breeding season. For many, this preparation includes acquiring new bull power for their herds. Select ing the proper bull for your operation is the No. 1 priority when looking to make genetic improvements to your herd as the greatest genetic impacts will come from your newly selected sires. Identifying the bulls that will best serve the goals of your operation is of utmost importance and prepara tion is key. Before bringing home a new sire, there’s work that needs to be done to ensure you’re making the right selection. Determine Operation and Breeding Goals Before you set out to find the per fect bull, it’s important to determine your operation’s goal. A great place to start is determining your end market. Do you have a seedstock operation – looking to raise, develop and sell

bulls or females of your own? Are you planning to keep females as replace ments or to build your herd? Do you plan to sell calves at weaning or retain them for beef to sell locally? Every end market has its own specific traits to consider. While it’s never too late to define your goals, “it is much better to think about your end market early on in the game,” says Dean Pike, who worked as the American Aberdeen Asso ciation ® breed representative for 10 years and recently accepted the posi tion as program manager for Idaho Livestock. Evaluate Current Operations After determining operation goals, evaluating its current status allows you to determine the direction you need to go with future breeding deci sions. Are the sires you are currently using producing the desired quality offspring, or are there traits that could be improved, either phenotypically or performance-wise? Perhaps end car

cass weight and ribeye area weren’t as expected in the last year; selecting a bull with superior muscling can ben efit future lean meat yields. The herd’s foundation should also be evaluated. Are females perform ing as desired – efficiently raising and weaning calves and breeding back on schedule or should developing replacement females be considered? If improvements are needed, it would be especially beneficial to obtain further information regarding the bull’s dam and, if an active sire, any of his daughters, including phenotypic evaluation such as feet and leg struc ture and udder integrity. Sourcing Genetics With an overall direction in mind, it’s time to consider whether purchas ing a bull is the most cost-effective decision for your operation at the moment. Especially for operations with a small herd, it may be advanta geous to consider purchasing semen rather than a more expensive bull to

Continued on page 12 


Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs