Bull hip height and frame score.

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Ky hills

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I’ve always said that when I used to AI I wanted to use bulls that were 6 or close to it, and 7 frame was ok too, but hard to find in Angus or Hereford.
I knew that the home raised bulls I’ve been using were under that, but seems like the calves especially by the older slightly taller bull are still have adequate frame.
The other day when we moved our bulls, and ran them down the chute, it used a stick and marked it as a makeshift way to measure them.
The 37 month old bull was just under 56 inches at 55 3/4”
The 25 month old heifer bull was 2 inches shorter.
According to the chart I found that put them at frame 5 and 4.
 

faster horses

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I would say that is what I would want! It's easier to get them taller than it is to keep them moderate. You have moderate. I like it.
 

simme

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"Best" frame depends on what you are selling and to whom. Retaining ownership to slaughter - whatever frame is efficient for you. Need to have enough frame to get around in their environment and gain and carry weight to slaughter. Selling calves at weaning - need to have whatever frame the buyers in your area think is right for them to make money on, whether they are "right" or not. Selling breeding bulls - need whatever frame the buyers in your area think they need for breeding their cows, whether they are right or not. Point is that perceived desirable traits affect selling price, regardless of university studies, real world experience, efficiency, etc. "Best" sometimes depends on what the customer wants and rewards, even if it is "wrong". Hard to sell a bull here less than 5.5 frame with 6.5 being preferred over 5.5.
 

wbvs58

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I, as you Ky like a frame 6 but will go higher. Some under 6 will be OK if they have the same body volume, just gotta be carefull of the ones that are smaller overall.
I dislike the term "hip height", it is far from that, more like the tuber sacrale if my anatomy serves me correct. The greater trochanter of the hip is several cm lower than that. Just me being nit picky but I struggled with knowing what was meant when I started measuring. When/if I get my new crush I am going to make some permanent measuring system in it.

Ken
 
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Ky hills

Ky hills

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@simme that is true here also, calves sold at the stockyards will be docked if they don’t have enough frame.
@faster horses I was kind of surprised that my oldest bull didn’t get a little taller. Most of our cows are as tall or taller than these bulls, so the calves still have adequate frame.
The younger bull is a bit different, in that he is out of our smallest cow, she is a good producer and the kind that I would like to have a bunch like her. I kept him back for a bull, specifically for a heifer bull.
 

faster horses

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I tend to think the steer calves are by-products, that the heifers are the most important.
She is the factory. You can do anything with a bull, but the heifer needs to be able to do
3 things. 1)have a live calf. 2)save it 3) breed back. Not that that has anything to do with frame at this point but stacking pedigrees over time (example: selecting for more frame) could come back to bit you on the butt. We sold replacement heifers for years, therefore selected for good ones; ones that could survive and do those 3 things I mentioned above.

I must qualify what I said, however. We live in Montana and Wyoming; quite a different climate than where you are. You have a better feed source to raise larger framed cattle successfully.
 
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Ky hills

Ky hills

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I tend to think the steer calves are by-products, that the heifers are the most important.
She is the factory. You can do anything with a bull, but the heifer needs to be able to do
3 things. 1)have a live calf. 2)save it 3) breed back. Not that that has anything to do with frame at this point but stacking pedigrees over time (example: selecting for more frame) could come back to bit you on the butt. We sold replacement heifers for years, therefore selected for good ones; ones that could survive and do those 3 things I mentioned above.

I must qualify what I said, however. We live in Montana and Wyoming; quite a different climate than where you are. You have a better feed source to raise larger framed cattle successfully.
For me, the key is to find that balance between the kind of calves that do well at sale time and what works as feasible as possible in the breeding pasture.
I agree that stacking a lot of frame can be detrimental as far as replacements.
At this point I’m extremely satisfied with the kind of calves we are getting from those bulls, and am going to try to keep back several heifers if we can.
 

SPH

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The great frame score debate lives on! My thoughts are if someone doesn't like bulls under a certain frame score such as a 6 or 7 the bull better have some guts to him because there are plenty of 6 and 7 frame score bulls out there that are more leg than guts than what some of the 5+ frame size bulls have. Chasing frame size can sometimes lead you down a path where you are sacrificing some traits just to add a couple inches of height if you aren't careful. Have seen it in the past in the Hereford breed where there was a time everyone was chasing a 7+ frame and the result was a bunch of flat muscled long legged animals with no guts and butts.

As others have said here, know your environment and market and make your decisions accordingly. Anyone selling seedstock should know what performs well for their buyer base and be trying to replicate a consistent looking animal in phenotype that their customers want. There's nothing wrong with "moderate" sized cattle if you breed them right just like there is nothing wrong with larger framed cattle too if you aren't just breeding them for the sake of taller hip heights.
 

J+ Cattle

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I find frame score to be a poor evaluation method for a bull. It says nothing about length, width or depth, it might mean more if it also came with a measurement from the ground to the belly because then you could determine the depth of the body.
The difference between bulls with frame scores of 5 and 7 is 4.1 inches of height, it is assumed the taller bull is bigger/heavier, but this is not always the case. Personally, if I could add several inches to a bull, it would be in length, width and depth rather than height.
 

simme

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Some different thoughts here on ideal frame score. What opinions are there on ideal mature bull weight? Heaviest mature bull I ever had was 2650#. He was a 7 frame, 1996 born black simmental. Pretty thick and deep. He was not a calving ease bull for heifers. His current bw epd is +6.2. Is mature weight important?
 
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Ky hills

Ky hills

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I think mature weight is definitely important, and hard to quantify. I don’t want a herd of cows that weighs 1800-2000 lbs even if they are just 5 frame or whatever. Good condition for cattle not thin, not overly fat 1250-1500 with most being 1300-1400 and probably a range of 4-6 frame with most being probably 5-6 is where my cows are now. My current bulls are apparently in 5 frame range now, and calves are still hitting enough growth to not be too small of a frame. If buying a bull, I do prefer a upper 5 to 6 frame and with the right phenotype a 7 would be ok too.
The largest bull I’ve had was a Charolais, he was a yearling frame 10 maybe 11, and mature weight pasture condition 2500. He was the typical tall big boned flat muscled thin girthed animal of that time. A few years later a Hereford bull 6 frame, thicker made pulled out of the pasture and sold at 4 yrs old weighed 2250.
 
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Ky hills

Ky hills

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Raven Powerball is a 5-frame bull with a mature weight in excess of 2500 lbs.
He isn't tall but he is deep and thickly made. I would be happy with one like this.

The bulls I’m currently using go back to that Power Tool bull, and I am well pleased with them well as their sire that was an AI son of Power Tool.
These bulls are not tall but are thick and deep, and seem to work well on these cows that do have a little more frame in them.
Hoover Dam on the bottom of that bulls pedigree doesn’t hurt a thing either.
I may have just found another Angus bull that I like, although no intentions of fooling with the AI nonsense on commercial cows anymore.
 

SPH

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I think mature weight is definitely important, and hard to quantify. I don’t want a herd of cows that weighs 1800-2000 lbs even if they are just 5 frame or whatever. Good condition for cattle not thin, not overly fat 1250-1500 with most being 1300-1400 and probably a range of 4-6 frame with most being probably 5-6 is where my cows are now. My current bulls are apparently in 5 frame range now, and calves are still hitting enough growth to not be too small of a frame. If buying a bull, I do prefer a upper 5 to 6 frame and with the right phenotype a 7 would be ok too.
The largest bull I’ve had was a Charolais, he was a yearling frame 10 maybe 11, and mature weight pasture condition 2500. He was the typical tall big boned flat muscled thin girthed animal of that time. A few years later a Hereford bull 6 frame, thicker made pulled out of the pasture and sold at 4 yrs old weighed 2250.

Kind of the same thoughts I have. Give me a well made cow in the 5-6 frame range with that weight range and she'll be productive and efficient for you. We do pay attention to frame size but the difference between a 5 and 6 frame for a yearling bull at 12 months is 2 inches and at 48 months is 2.1 inches so to say you wouldn't use a 5.7 frame bull over a 6.0 frame bull is probably half an inch to maybe an inch difference in height at maturity and is a bit nit picking if everything else about him fits the criteria you are looking for in a bull. Heck those hip height measurements also depend on how good the person is taking the measurement too as you can easily be off if the animal is not standing well or they are not using the correct area at the hip to get their measurement from it's pretty easy to be off by an inch if not done properly.

I think getting carcass ultrasounds on bull prospects at yearling is much more valuable selection trait information to be using than hip height is as you could have a 6 frame bull scan a smaller ribeye size that is a full a frame size smaller. To me that scan data is much more telling about the genetic potential than a hip height is. A bull with a bigger ribeye is likely to sire calves with more desirable carcass traits than a larger frame bull with less muscle will. I'll gladly trade off an inch or 2 in height for a deeper and longer rib section.

As to heaviest bull we have had on the farm, at maturity they've all topped 2000 lbs but cannot recall exactly what the heaviest one was. Our last herd sire who was a lower 5 frame bull at yearling weighed 2250 when we ran him across the scale when we weaned calves last fall and that was after 2 dry summers here. His ribeye scan at yearling was 15.34 which is one of the best ribeye scans we've probably had one of our yearling bulls scan. Previous herd sire before him was also a lower 5 frame bull that scanned a 14.05 yearling ribeye. His mature weight probably 2200-2300 lbs too when we were done using him and neither of them would I ever consider having been in fat condition, if anything they looked a little thin coming out of pasture most years.
 

faster horses

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Kind of the same thoughts I have. Give me a well made cow in the 5-6 frame range with that weight range and she'll be productive and efficient for you. We do pay attention to frame size but the difference between a 5 and 6 frame for a yearling bull at 12 months is 2 inches and at 48 months is 2.1 inches so to say you wouldn't use a 5.7 frame bull over a 6.0 frame bull is probably half an inch to maybe an inch difference in height at maturity and is a bit nit picking if everything else about him fits the criteria you are looking for in a bull. Heck those hip height measurements also depend on how good the person is taking the measurement too as you can easily be off if the animal is not standing well or they are not using the correct area at the hip to get their measurement from it's pretty easy to be off by an inch if not done properly.

I think getting carcass ultrasounds on bull prospects at yearling is much more valuable selection trait information to be using than hip height is as you could have a 6 frame bull scan a smaller ribeye size that is a full a frame size smaller. To me that scan data is much more telling about the genetic potential than a hip height is. A bull with a bigger ribeye is likely to sire calves with more desirable carcass traits than a larger frame bull with less muscle will. I'll gladly trade off an inch or 2 in height for a deeper and longer rib section.

As to heaviest bull we have had on the farm, at maturity they've all topped 2000 lbs but cannot recall exactly what the heaviest one was. Our last herd sire who was a lower 5 frame bull at yearling weighed 2250 when we ran him across the scale when we weaned calves last fall and that was after 2 dry summers here. His ribeye scan at yearling was 15.34 which is one of the best ribeye scans we've probably had one of our yearling bulls scan. Previous herd sire before him was also a lower 5 frame bull that scanned a 14.05 yearling ribeye. His mature weight probably 2200-2300 lbs too when we were done using him and neither of them would I ever consider having been in fat condition, if anything they looked a little thin coming out of pasture most years.
That reminds me of something else Larry Leonhardt said. The bulls that will make the biggest mark in your herd (when you are saving replacement heifers) are the ones who are in good shape after breeding season.
 

Ebenezer

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Frame score varies based on development methods. A lot of FS 6 and high 5s at weaning will be right above or below 5 at maturity. It is because they are forage developed. It is a win-win in some ways.
 

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