It is that time of the year now when many producers are coming into the market for new bulls to add to their beef cow herd. Dr. Bob Weaber, a cow/calf production specialist, has a few tips for commercial producers to keep in mind this year as they shop around for their next set of yearling bulls. He explained to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, that cattlemen should take full advantage of the upgrades in bull performance predictions, including EPDs and available genomic information. He says this can help ranchers get the most bang for their buck.
“A lot of it has to do with setting yourself up to make a really good informed purchase decision,” Weaber said. “But then there’s sort of after the purchase things we need to think about as well in terms of management of the bull during its first and second breeding season.”
Weaber says buying bulls with the right traits increases the odds of getting exactly what you need for your cows. As genomic technologies have matured in recent years, he says producers stand to substantially benefit from the accuracy and value they add to your final purchase by decreasing risk in your bull’s genetic potential. Weaber also contends that post-purchase management of your bull(s) is equally important. How you deploy them in your herd can impact not only their initial breeding performance but the longevity of your bull as well.
“A good rule of thumb for bulls less than two years of age,” Weaber imparted, “is their exposure is one cow per month of age. One of the other strategies to think about is if you are turning out a set of yearling bulls - don’t turn them out all at once. Turn out a couple of bulls for the first 30 or 45 days of the breeding season with the appropriate number of cows and then part way through the season, replace them with a cohort of bulls to fill in that gap so you don’t use them for the whole breeding season.”
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