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Confused. Bull,feeding, ect

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JHH

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Ok, can someone tell me when we started having to feed the bulls to keep them in shape.

My grandad had 98 head of cows when he died and NEVER pulled the bulls in for feeding or to keep them in shape. He had good looking cows and the bulls always looked good. BUT he did have littler framed 4-5 herefords. They may not have grew as fast I really cant remember that part. The bulls stayed in year round and he had most of his calves in the spring. I can rember this because I was 12 when he died and had to check on the cows every night and day till end of may and as I recall he just had 15 out of sync with the rest of the herd.

My mother showed cows in 4-H and won with grandads herefords so they had to of been ok back then.So what did we change to have to have a feed truck instead of grass? Just thought I had and wanted to ask.

Thanks JHH
 

SRBeef

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I don't think you need to do anything special to "feed a bull" so he's "ready for breeding". Just feed him as you do the rest of the herd, grass, mineral and good clean water. Why make it complex?

I see many bulls kept in a small area "bullpen?" when they are not with the herd. There may be an issue in that case with physical condition, just as there is with us humans. We all need exercise and so do bulls to get "in shape". But is you have them on pasture with good mineral and water I wouldn't worry about it.

This afternoon I was out getting my strip till machine set for this coming seasons corn on corn for grazing. I always start in the back of the field, not along the road! My bull and his steer buddies had to come by and see what I was doing on the other side of the electric wire in what was their cornfield up until yesterday.

I snapped a couple pictures of my bull. They finished the grain corn in the field long ago so he has been on mostly stalks, some hay and finally some green grass and clover for the past couple days as the grazing season has finally started in SW WI.

Here is a picture. I think he looks to be in shape for the breeding season. Not fat but in shape. I like the way he and some of my cows slick up quickly in the spring shedding their fuzzy winter coats. He just puts his head down and grazes on whatever I put in front of him,whether it stalks or grass or clover. I like to see a lean bull, not sloppy fat ones.



I would not feed a bull any differently than the rest of the herd. However a bull, like most of us, needs exercise. My humble and cattle rookie opinion. Jim
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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:lol: :lol: SRBEEF - but you are doing exactly what JHH is questioning - you may not be hand feeding him grain - but he wintered on CORN. Not corn stalks that have been harvested. He & the cows HARVESTED the corn. Looks like you have a good system for your operation.
But, what you SAID is correct. A "mature" bull should not need any grain. He should be in good shape on good hay in the winter & grazing in the summer - just like the cowherd. Actually, he should need less quality most of the year, because he is a "freeloader" 75% of the year. A cow needs more nutrition because she is working 100% of the year (growing a baby & than feeding a baby).
Just like humans!!! The women are the workers!!! :banana:
 

Jovid

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twistedxranch":22z5q650 said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":22z5q650 said:
:lol: :lol: SRBEEF - but you are doing exactly what JHH is questioning - you may not be hand feeding him grain - but he wintered on CORN. Not corn stalks that have been harvested. He & the cows HARVESTED the corn. Looks like you have a good system for your operation.
But, what you SAID is correct. A "mature" bull should not need any grain. He should be in good shape on good hay in the winter & grazing in the summer - just like the cowherd. Actually, he should need less quality most of the year, because he is a "freeloader" 75% of the year. A cow needs more nutrition because she is working 100% of the year (growing a baby & than feeding a baby).
Just like humans!!! The women are the workers!!! :banana:


Right that bull looks skinny though. Has that triangle there in the front of his hip. If I can see that they are usually to skinny.

Triangle?

Please explain Cowman30
 

SRBeef

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":3vfuoa73 said:
:lol: :lol: SRBEEF - but you are doing exactly what JHH is questioning - you may not be hand feeding him grain - but he wintered on CORN. Not corn stalks that have been harvested. He & the cows HARVESTED the corn. Looks like you have a good system for your operation.
But, what you SAID is correct. A "mature" bull should not need any grain. He should be in good shape on good hay in the winter & grazing in the summer - just like the cowherd. Actually, he should need less quality most of the year, because he is a "freeloader" 75% of the year. A cow needs more nutrition because she is working 100% of the year (growing a baby & than feeding a baby).
Just like humans!!! The women are the workers!!! :banana:

Jeanne,The only reason the bull was harvesting the standing corn was that I don't have the facilities/pastures to keep him separate. Besides I feel he stays a lot calmer and more manegeable when he has the steers for company. It's fun to watch them - he has his steer entourage that follow him around. I do feel that he is a bit "skinny" right now but that is ok. He is just "not fat". He will be on grass all summer.

I think my bull looks HEALTHY that is my goal, not fat. He is not going to the processor nor the sale barn anytime soon. This is also the pit of the year feed wise. Everyone ran out of hay, they finished the corn some time ago. I just put them out to start the grazing season 2 days ago.

That is an issue about keeping a bull year around for a small herd. However the other options are AI or Rent a bull. AI is out for me, I just dont have the time. Previous rental bulls point out it is just the luck of the draw on what you get. Neighbor just lost a huge 130 lb calf from a rent a bull. He's lucky he didn't lose the cow.

I know my bull is a freeloader 75% of the time but it's just one of those things. A cost of doing business.

As long as he is a quality bull and does not cause problems and fits in with my system, as T21 does, I don't mind carrying him but he is not going to get special feed. It will be a bit easier when the whole herd gets back together about July 1.

And yes women do all the reproductive work but I would stick up for us guys that we are not entirely useless...we do provide the grass! Jim
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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SRBEEF - I wasn't poking you about feeding your bull - that's your system & it's working for you. I was pointing out that you WERE feeding corn - just not handfeeding it.
I don't know your expense to put in a corn crop to feed your cows, but in reality, beef producers should not need to provide corn - whether it is standing in the field or in a bucket. Cows (and MATURE bulls) should be able to "make a living" on grass in the summer and hay in the winter. I may not have the WORSE winter in the world, but our's is pretty harsh and my cows live on grass & hay. But, I do have to say, my breeding bull (hubby) gets fed pretty well. :banana:
 

SRBeef

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":2g97v20o said:
SRBEEF - I wasn't poking you about feeding your bull - that's your system & it's working for you. I was pointing out that you WERE feeding corn - just not handfeeding it.
I don't know your expense to put in a corn crop to feed your cows, but in reality, beef producers should not need to provide corn - whether it is standing in the field or in a bucket. Cows (and MATURE bulls) should be able to "make a living" on grass in the summer and hay in the winter.

Jeanne, I agree with you on fact that bulls shouldn't need corn. My grazing of standing unharvested corn this past winter was more or less an accident and experiment. It was just too high moisture to harvest due to extremely late planting last year.

My usual plan is to winter them on HARVESTED stalks. But I may still intentionally leave some standing to finish steers. As for the economics of grazing standing corn, I look at 200 bu corn at maybe $3 net as $600./a This is about the cost of 10 5x6 bales of hay around here last summer. 10 1500lb bales of hay is 15,000 lb of hay. 200 bu of corn is about 11,000 lb of corn grain plus say 4,000 lb of fodder for a total also of about 15,000 lb but of a much higher feed value for finishing beef. In reality they still need some hay.

So for a person like me who does not make my own hay but can grow good corn at a moderate cost and minimal equipment with my strip till system, the grazing of standing corn may even make more economic sense than it seems. It allows me to finish my steers for processing. Income on selling finished split quarters is potentially much higher (though more work) than selling calves at the sale barn. Jim

edit: here is a picture of the strips I made yesterday evening to check the strip till machine settings. Being able to strip right into the grazed stalks without a lot of tillage is a key to success here. No till corn will not work well in this area and condition. Strip till minimizes the fertilizer, HP, and time required to grow good corn. As you can tell I am a row crop guy. Here's a picture. Sorry if it's a bit dark but it was getting late.
 

Brandonm22

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One thing that has changed is that we market a lot more young bulls now than we did 20-30 years ago. My Grandfather thought an 18 month old bull was a "young" bull. The bull sellers all then weaned bull calves on to grass and they stayed there for 14 months. They gave grain when pastures were poor and/or the bulls weren't making enough gain; but then it was 5lbs per head per day and it didn't continue long after the grass was up. Now people wean bulls to an ever increasing hot concentrate mix. 12 month old boy bulls regularly weigh 1200++ pounds where those old usually Herefords and Angus probably were 16-18 months old before they hit that weight. We buy younger, growthier, higher performance bulls now, that have consumed a whole lot more grain. I am not throwing rocks here; but if a bull was grown out with a lot of mixed ration I am not going to take him off of it cold turkey and turn him out with 35 cows to breed and then get upset because he is showing a full set of ribs. That is NOT realistic. He has to have time to adjust and enough groceries (preferably in the available forages) to maintain his bulk while working.
 

Northern Rancher

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Halleluiah Barley Hit Five Bucks

This spring hundreds of cattlemen will travel thousands of miles and spend millions of dollars in search of their new herd bulls. In these days with DNA markers to tell you how efficient they will feed, how juicy their steaks will be and how tender the cuts plus E.P.D’s for everything from calving ease to growth to how long the daughters will last it should be easy to spend your money wisely. I mean it’s all there- you can use your ranchers eye to appraise his soundness-your vets microscope to check his fertility and the computer to crunch the numbers. Picking the perfect bull for your operation should be easy-set a price range and have at it. In these days of total information it’s simple to pick the bulls that will sell highest-the FATTEST. With all the tools at our disposal invariably ranchers will pick out the fattest bovine stud muffin to waddle their pastures. It doesn’t matter that the extra grain has cooked his feet-crisped his liver and fried his man swimmers into almost total inactivity. Overfeeding is the proverbial sugar in the genetic gas tank of a future beef bull.

Why does it happen-because darn it all they look so good-there is nothing prettier than a pumped up-fluffed out-fresh from the sale beef bull hopping off the trailer back at home. It’s hard to imagine the bedraggled little bag of bones that will come back in the fall. Breeders will defend the practice by proclaiming that bulls lose weight running with cows so they have to go out to pasture fat. Does an NHL coach tell his players to get fat over summer because there’s a long season coming. He doesn’t and most beef bulls have almost as many mating opportunities as pro hockey players.

When barley was cheap it generated good economic sense to fill your bulls up with it and watch the dollars roll in. Maybe now that the skies the limit on grain prices this practice will go by the wayside. In the long run it’s probably in everyone’s best interests including the bulls.

My feelings on this subject-I write a little column called 'The Bull Pen' for our local paper.
 

SRBeef

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Northern Rancher":2q5yoow0 said:
Halleluiah Barley Hit Five Bucks

This spring hundreds of cattlemen will travel thousands of miles and spend millions of dollars in search of their new herd bulls. In these days with DNA markers to tell you how efficient they will feed, how juicy their steaks will be and how tender the cuts plus E.P.D’s for everything from calving ease to growth to how long the daughters will last it should be easy to spend your money wisely. I mean it’s all there- you can use your ranchers eye to appraise his soundness-your vets microscope to check his fertility and the computer to crunch the numbers. Picking the perfect bull for your operation should be easy-set a price range and have at it. In these days of total information it’s simple to pick the bulls that will sell highest-the FATTEST. With all the tools at our disposal invariably ranchers will pick out the fattest bovine stud muffin to waddle their pastures. It doesn’t matter that the extra grain has cooked his feet-crisped his liver and fried his man swimmers into almost total inactivity. Overfeeding is the proverbial sugar in the genetic gas tank of a future beef bull.

Why does it happen-because darn it all they look so good-there is nothing prettier than a pumped up-fluffed out-fresh from the sale beef bull hopping off the trailer back at home. It’s hard to imagine the bedraggled little bag of bones that will come back in the fall. Breeders will defend the practice by proclaiming that bulls lose weight running with cows so they have to go out to pasture fat. Does an NHL coach tell his players to get fat over summer because there’s a long season coming. He doesn’t and most beef bulls have almost as many mating opportunities as pro hockey players.

When barley was cheap it generated good economic sense to fill your bulls up with it and watch the dollars roll in. Maybe now that the skies the limit on grain prices this practice will go by the wayside. In the long run it’s probably in everyone’s best interests including the bulls.

My feelings on this subject-I write a little column called 'The Bull Pen' for our local paper.

Great! I love it! Wish I could get your regular article somewhere. Jim

edit: my bull above may look a bit thin in the triangle partially because of how he is standing. Here's another picture from a different angle. I think he's in good shape but what do I know. Maybe our "paradigm" of what makes a good looking bull will change. T21 does get a lot of exercise in my hills. I think he could be a bovine hockey player! I love your hockey analogy. Having had a son on a championship team with a great coach your words are very accurate. Thanks again.

 

DOC HARRIS

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jeanne-simme valley-

This "retort" is a little late in the thread, but - better late than never.
[Just like humans!!! The women are the workers!!!]

If this statement is anywhere NEAR true, WHY is it that women consistently present us "Heavy-Duty-Workers" and "Lead Teams" with "Honey-Do" lists which must be done - Right Now Right Now? :nod: :help: :roll: :?

DOC HARRIS
 

FarmGirl10

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DOC HARRIS":13qpv3us said:
jeanne-simme valley-

This "retort" is a little late in the thread, but - better late than never.
[Just like humans!!! The women are the workers!!!]

If this statement is anywhere NEAR true, WHY is it that women consistently present us "Heavy-Duty-Workers" and "Lead Teams" with "Honey-Do" lists which must be done - Right Now Right Now? :nod: :help: :roll: :?

DOC HARRIS
Because we cannot do everything ourselves.
 

mnmtranching

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I think your bull is in working condition.
I don't understand why you have the steers running with him. Company?
Sounds like you had the steers on corn through the Winter. Taking them off feed now will cost them steers and you gain and $.
 

SRBeef

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mnmtranching":3tugkmvn said:
I think your bull is in working condition.
I don't understand why you have the steers running with him. Company?
Sounds like you had the steers on corn through the Winter. Taking them off feed now will cost them steers and you gain and $.

Some of the steers are going to the processor as soon as I get time to load them up. I want to get them there before the corn gain wears off. The problem is hours in the day. As of Sunday the bull and steers are on their own pasture as I need to get the corn ground stripped and planted to corn again.

Thank you for the feedback on my bull. I think he is in working condition also.

I ran the steers and bull together for two reasons:

#1 is that the way my lanes and single waterer are setup I can only have two separate groups.

#2 reason is for company. Once he established that he is the senior officer they really got along fine. This bull has a very good disposition for a bull. I think he had a calming effect on a couple of flighty BWF steers and the whole group was more docile than they might have been separated.

The way it worked is I fenceline weaned the steer and heifer calves from the bull and cows about Nov 1. In late January I separated the cows away from the bull and corn and into the heifer calves and put the steers in with the bull on the corn. I did this on Knersie's advice so the cows would not get too heavy on the corn prior to calving. And he was correct. Had a good calving season. Maybe a bit of luck in there too.

About July 1 they will all get back together for April 2010 calving. The herd will be smaller by then as I want to get a number processed for the summer "grilling" season.

FWIW, Jim
 

KNERSIE

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Are the steers and the bull in the same condition? You said the steers are going to the processor, I assume that is to be butchered?

If they are the same condition as the bull and if they are indeed going to be butchered I think they are little undercooked.

A lot of ifs, but if they are fat and the bull is in lean working condition you must seriously question the doing ability of the bull (I know what his BF EPD is). If they are in similar or worse condition you must take a hard look at your parasite program and make sure they go into fall and winter free of other mouths to feed.
 

Bonsman

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In the winter all I do is put the bulls over 2 in one pasture and under 2 in another pasture. The over 2 get hay, salt, minerals, and tubs. The under 2 get hay, salt, minerals, tubs, and 20% breeders cubes--about 3lbs per day. In the summer, they get grass, salt, and minerals. Just pretty simple stuff, really.
 

SRBeef

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KNERSIE":52cnfran said:
Are the steers and the bull in the same condition? You said the steers are going to the processor, I assume that is to be butchered?

If they are the same condition as the bull and if they are indeed going to be butchered I think they are little undercooked.

A lot of ifs, but if they are fat and the bull is in lean working condition you must seriously question the doing ability of the bull (I know what his BF EPD is). If they are in similar or worse condition you must take a hard look at your parasite program and make sure they go into fall and winter free of other mouths to feed.

Knersie, you are very perceptive!

Yes a couple of the steers are going to the butcher and yes I did miss their peak of condition on the corn. My day job has had me tied up in knots this spring and travelling all over the countryside. While they are not in bad shape, they are past the prime harvesting condition they were in earlier. I just overran my corn.

There is no parasite problem, I think they are also good doers, came through the winter in great shape. I just dropped the ball the past 8 weeks or so. I had hay out but lost the prime corn condition they did have earlier. The problem is with me not the cattle. I'll know better next year. This is a learning process, for me anyway.

The clover and grass is also finally coming on strong although it doesn't look like it in the spots where the pictures were taken. I am supplemental feeding the steers and bull some grain now also for a couple weeks.
 

Brandonm22

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The bull looks fine to me for coming out of the winter. His plane of nutrition should be on the uptick as more grass gets growing. Why spend money on grain just so the bull puts on a coat of lard? When I see 3 or 4 ribs clearly I change what we are doing. Until then let the cattle work.
 

SRBeef

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Brandonm22":15gfbd1f said:
The bull looks fine to me for coming out of the winter. His plane of nutrition should be on the uptick as more grass gets growing. Why spend money on grain just so the bull puts on a coat of lard? When I see 3 or 4 ribs clearly I change what we are doing. Until then let the cattle work.

Thanks for the reply, Brandon. I agree the bull looks fine. It's the steers that will be harvested that could use a bit of grain. Unfortunately with them together I have to feed the group. It will just be supplement for a couple weeks max until I can get the steers to the processor. The pastures are coming on, especially with the rain that has been coming through recently. Jim
 

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