Bull Costs

Published on Tue, 06/04/2019 - 8:13am

 Bull Costs

 Written by James Coffelt from Ohio Land and Cattle

 Bull costs are a big deal. Keep the costs down. I had the pleasure of spending 4 days in New Zealand with Gavin and Willie Falloon, of Pinebank fame. He has 800 head, and designed a breeding program with a genetesis 65 years ago. He said something I will not forget. He said, every 10 years they produced a game changing bull, that is, 800 head, 400 bulls a year, over 10 years, that is, one of 4000 bulls was a game changer.

We recently had a sale, and I advised customers, keep your costs down. And if you think you will pick out a game changing bull from yearlings and two year olds, forget it. They may be here, probably not, or any where else you go. Game changers are almost dead of old age by the time they are identified. It is similar to choosing a son in law when they are in fifth grade, inaccurate.
Choose a good bull. We want a good looking bull, birthweight EPD around zero, weening weight EPD around 40, milk EPD around 15, and a dollar $EN of efficiency above 20. These numbers produce easy fleshing, easy wintering, easy calving cattle. This permits a higher stoking rate, and more pounds of production per acre, with less labor.
A good looking bull with bad numbers is out, a bad looking bull with good numbers is out.

Phenotype and numbers are both required.
Why should a bull cost more than a bred heifer? They cost the same to develop. One answer is they are culled harder, and this is true. We sell about 25% of our top bulls and the rest are steered.
For one year we worked with a top 10 bull seller in the country, 50% of the bulls needed feet trimmed prior to the sale, as they have never been outside the feed lot, and were sold as range bulls.
For 6 years we worked with another top ten bull seller This a low input proponent, that develops bulls on 10lbs of soyhulls per day, unlimited second cutting hay, in a feed lot.
This is pretend development.
Keep bull costs down……………….