More Bull Selection and Management

            The most usual time to be thinking about Beef Bull Selection and management is prior to and ito late spring because spring marks the traditional bull buying season. The importance of bull buying decisions have long-term consequences, particularly in single-bull units since the genetic merit of future generations is impacted by only a few bulls. Additionally, market signals are clearly sending the message that cattle with superior genetics and management have more value, further emphasizing the importance of bull selection. With some prio planning, bull buying can be simplified and chances of success enhanced by a little advance thinking.

     Define your bull's job responsibilities. In simple terms, how will the bull be used and how will the new herd sire contribute to the herd's overall genetic plan and goals? Will the bull be used on heifers, mature cows, or both? Will replacement females be retained in the herd? How will the calf crop be marketed (at weaning?, backgrounded?, retained ownership?) What are the labor and management resources available? What are the feed resources and environmental conditions of the operation? How will this sire contribute to the overall breeding system plan? Answers to these basic questions will outline the basics from which individual selection traits can be defined, categorized, and prioritized.

     Evaluation With the above defined, you are ready to look at individual bulls. There are many sources of bulls that warrant consideration, production sales, test stations, and private treaty sales. Of critical importance is that the bull be from a reputable breeder who will stand behind his genetics and product. It may be necessary to look at several sources in order to find the correct bull. The first step to doing so is to evaluate the sale catalog, performance pedigree, or data sheet. By examination of the bull's performance record, determine which bulls meet the specifications that have been defined, categorized, and prioritized. Be prepared to make trade offs, because your perfect bull may not be attainable. Do not be surprised or alarmed when the bulls you have highlighted appear scattered through the sale order. Remember to stick to the selection criteria and qualifications and specifications that have been established. Once the list has been narrowed to only bulls which meet your criteria, they can be further evaluated and selection refined. Doing this homework prior to arrival at the sale or farm will not only save time, but also assist in making sure the right bull for your need is purchased. Upon narrowing the potential candidates on paper, the bulls can be evaluated for suitability of phenotypic traits and the potential candidate list shortened even further.

 Bull Management 101


 Red Beef Cattle Barn