Bull Buying Considerations Continued from page 10
your end goal, sound bull selection be gins by simple observation. “By far the highest prior ity is overall quality, not pedigree,” Pike explains. Any bull be ing considered for purchase should be evaluated for proper confor mation. The No. 1 charac
reach your breeding goals. Artificial insemination (AI) opens a world of possibility to breeders because it enables you to utilize a more proven bull while mitigating your overall risks and advancing your genetics more rapidly. Be sure to factor in the ad ditional costs associated with AI, such as extra labor and synchronization, when making your decision. Semen can be sourced directly from breeders or through bull studs and third-party providers. If purchasing a bull is the right deci sion for your operation, the majority of fullblood American Aberdeen and Moderators ® will be purchased via pri vate treaty. Begin seeking out breed ers in your surrounding areas and inquiring about their current bulls for sale. The American Aberdeen Associa tion offers a useful tool on their web site, allowing you to search the mem ber database by ranch name, state or zip code. The association website also has a “Marketplace,” listing animals available for private treaty. Above all, ensure you’re buying from a reputable source that will stand behind the qual ity of their bulls. What to Look for in a Bull The American Aberdeen breed, both fullblood and percentage Ameri can Aberdeen, is known for the cat tle’s moderate size, low birth weight, high yield and overall efficiency – all very desirable traits in any operation. So, what sets one bull apart from another?
Photo is of the bull Rifleman
“If a bull has not produced a son better than himself, he may not be as high quality as you thought,” Pike says. Before buying or selling an older bull with average potential, consider the impact new genetics could have. Producing calves that are innovative in their look and performance pro vides your program with a leverage point when it’s time to market. Not to mention, sourcing new genetics is also important for breed advance ment. With limited funds to invest in your operation each year, it’s important to recognize that the genetic impact a bull has on the calf crop, in a typical breeding program, far outweighs the impact of acquiring a single, high-dollar female. With all the decisions that must be made regarding your operation, bull selection should be a top priority. Determine your overall goals, find a trusted genetic source and select a sound bull that will suit your needs. The genetic advancement alone that a quality sire can bring to your herd is well worth the effort, and the increase in marketability is a bonus. TL
teristic to consider is structural integ rity, specifically, feet soundness and leg structure. Watching the bull on the move is the best way to evaluate his conformation. He should move freely without restriction while covering his tracks, demonstrating his ability to travel and service the herd. Other characteristics to evaluate include overall muscling and depth of body. Why Quality Matters With so many decisions to be made and daily tasks to be completed, searching for and identifying the perfect bulls for your operation can fall to the wayside. While it may be more convenient to buy a bull for sale nearby or lease from a neighboring breeder, it’s worth the extra effort and travel to consider sourcing a bull that can further progress you toward your goals. A quality bull adds exponential value to your program as you advance your genetics and produce calves that demand higher prices as feeders or replacement females. With limited funds to invest in your
Photo from JC Ranch
operation each year, it’s impor tant to recog nize that the genetic impact a bull has on the calf crop, in a typical breeding program, far out weighs the im pact of acquiring
a single, high dollar female.
12 | THE LEDGER
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