The Udder Side
I’m Just Buying A Bull…Right?
Most of us don't really believe that, yet the gravity of the decisions associated with selecting the next generation of seedstock may be greater than you first think. All of us consider the calves these bulls might sire and the value that they should return to the ranch. Most consider pricing bulls based on a projection of years of service (hopefully 3-7 years, barring injury) and the calf performance we might expect them to sire. If you don't keep your own replacement heifers, this makes some sense. If, like most folks, you raise your own females, the long term effects of this year's buying decisions on ranch profitability may not be quite as obvious until we break it down based on the long term maternal value traits we are purchasing. Let's assume your operation purchases 4 bulls this coming spring of 2018.
First calves born in spring of 2019
First daughters calving in spring of 2021 (First granddaughters calve in 2022)
With any luck at all, 2 or more of these bulls are still breeding at age 7 (2024)
Last calves born sired by these bulls in 2025
Last calf crop females have their first calves in 2027 (Their first daughters calve in 2029)
In 2028 a substantial share of the 2-7-year old cows are daughters of the bulls purchased 10 years before.
In the year 2036 there are still a few 11 and 12-year-old daughters in your herd sired by the 2018 purchased bulls.
Also, the granddaughters and great-granddaughters of those bulls purchased 18 years earlier still make up a substantial portion of the genetics of your herd.
I know most of us don't like to think about the year 2036. If, however, your plans are to keep or make the beef business an important part of your families' livelihood as far out as 2036, which most of us do, the bulls you purchase this year will still be an important piece of the profits you enjoy or the challenges you are still working through nearly 20 years from now. Sire selection is that important, so use all the tools available to make the best decisions you can...every time!
If you would like to see a snapshot of your cowherd 10-20 years from now... you only need to spend some time viewing the cowherd of the seedstock provider you buy your bulls from. With the exception of a few differences created by environment, you'll see where your program is headed. The quality, size, disposition, body condition, udders, feet, calving-ease, fertility, longevity, etc. of your future cow herd is right there for you to see.
Stop by for a visit anytime to see what your herd can look like by using Trinity genetics! At Trinity Farms, "You are buying more than a bull, you are buying a program." Come to the sale - the cattle speak for themselves. Call or visit ahead of time and we will be glad to review your goals with you and help you make selections to get you where you want to go - to the year 2036 and beyond!
(Thanks to Marty Ropp from Allied for putting together this article.)