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SRBeef

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I was out in the field with my Huth bull T21 this morning. As long as we are all sharing pictures of our bulls (like kids pictures!) I thought I would post a few.

Here is a coming 2 year old bull with good but low accuracy epd's. Especially low BW & CE. First calves should be coming in about 3 weeks. FWIW.

He and the steers will be on corn stalks for a couple more weeks. I am very pleased with how grazing corn has reduced my purchased hay requirements this winter. In these pictures, they seem to have come back to one of the earlier fields grazed which was under the snow all winter looking for missed grain. They have been in the more standing stalks since the snow came.

As a beginner trying to correlate EPD's with the real world, T021 does have a -.043 backfat EPd and he does look lean, not fat. He has positive +.52 REA and +.11 Marbling and is a good "doer" from what I see so far. I was wondering if the backfat epd is sort of visible?

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Herefords.US

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Much better pictures than your other picture - and it shows a much better looking bull than I thought from looking at the other picture. I like him! I'll let Knersie critique him more thoroughly. I've figured out he can see more in a minute than I can in 10!

As far a the backfat issue goes, one of the reasons I have started selecting for MORE backfat is because I leased a pasture in another area a couple of years back. The stocking rate on it is twice what my home pasture is - where I can run 1 cow on 10-15 acres at home, it takes 25-30 acres to run a cow in the leased pasture.

Since I've gone to a limited feed program - they only get protein tubs, mineral, pasture, and nothing else I think most of my cows could benefit from being the kind that carry a little more fat on them. So the bull I selected from Star Lake was a bull that carried a little more backfat. That is also one of the reasons I like the Holden 8203 bull, as he also has that "easy-keeping" look and carries more backfat.

George
 
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SRBeef

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George,

I see your reasoning for a little more backfat in your environment in C TX. I am sort of on the other side of the world from those conditions. We look to support a cow on just a couple acres with intensive rotation grazing. I won't say an exact number because I'm not sure what that is even on my own place. The grazing of corn sure acts as a multiplier.

As I understand backfat that is mostly trim fat - trimmed off. My customers don't want a lot of fat around the outside. They do want marbling however. Other than EPD's based on previous generations or offspring carcass data I don't know how we can tell if an animal has low backfat and high marbling. As Jerry Huth says on his website - this is where we seem to want "antagonistic" (conflicting?) breeding goals. He also says It takes generations of recorded data to try to get there.

One of the reasons I think iut is important for every poster to put at least a general location in his ID block on the right is so that we can be aware of the environment the poster is speaking from. Raising cattle on the range in Idaho or the Prairie provinces of Canada is a different world in some ways from raising cattle in WI or maybe TN, etc.

Jim
 

Brandonm22

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The backfat question is one of those antagonistic traits that makes selecting cattle hard because you are pulled in two seperate ways. If you were finishing steers you want them to grade high choice on the Quality grade side meaning plenty of intramuscular fat. On the other hand if you are selling on the grid you want no backfat whatsoever so you get those YG 1 premiums and we don't have to trim the carcass. We have successfully identified some cattle which will hang a YG1 High Choice carcass.....the problem is that those freaks' sisters need that backfat to survive a winter in Montana....(or Wisconsin). "Easy fleshing" is a GOOD trait in a bull who is going to sire heifers that will be retained since a cow stores energy in her backfat while she is dry which she needs to feed that nursing calf. A cow that does NOT lay down back fat typically is a "hard doer". Meaning she needs more groceries earlier in lactatation or she literally starts starving -- there is a pic of a "hard doer" in the '60% weaning percentage' string. I like the EPDs and Hereford does need to get rid of some of that waste fat; but I would very suspicious of a bull in the top 5% of ANY breed for his low backfat number, particularly if he is also a high milk EPD bull.
 
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SRBeef

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Brandonm22":13y14gky said:
The backfat question is one of those antagonistic traits that makes selecting cattle hard because you are pulled in two seperate ways. If you were finishing steers you want them to grade high choice on the Quality grade side meaning plenty of intramuscular fat. On the other hand if you are selling on the grid you want no backfat whatsoever so you get those YG 1 premiums and we don't have to trim the carcass. We have successfully identified some cattle which will hang a YG1 High Choice carcass.....the problem is that those freaks' sisters need that backfat to survive a winter in Montana....(or Wisconsin). "Easy fleshing" is a GOOD trait in a bull who is going to sire heifers that will be retained since a cow stores energy in her backfat while she is dry which she needs to feed that nursing calf. A cow that does NOT lay down back fat typically is a "hard doer". Meaning she needs more groceries earlier in lactatation or she literally starts starving -- there is a pic of a "hard doer" in the '60% weaning percentage' string. I like the EPDs and Hereford does need to get rid of some of that waste fat; but I would very suspicious of a bull in the top 5% of ANY breed for his low backfat number, particularly if he is also a high milk EPD bull.

Brandon,

Thank you for the reply. I learned several things from your post.

As far as surviving in a Wisconsin winter - T21 did very well this past winter in one of the more difficult winters we've had recently with no shelter whatsoever except the woods. We had one of the coldest January's on record in WI. The wind chill on Jan 16th was about 35 deg below zero. Here is a picture of T21 and some cows on Jan 18th. IF back fat is what gets them through cold weather he evidently has enough for -35. here is the picture from Jan 18.



As far as milk goes, yes he is in the top as far as milk epd's. We will just have to see how his daughters do. I think this is where the cow comes in too. I had a couple cows that really were drawn down last winter (calves from a rent a bull) but several cows, especially the 1200 lb ones I want to develop a herd from, that did NOT get drawn down as much even though I went a bit past 205 days on some.

I'm hoping these 1200 lb cows have heifers to keep. We'll see.

Again thanks for your informative post. Jim
 

bigbull338

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he is 1 fine looking bull.an he is carring real good condtion.an holding his weight really well.
 

Northern Rancher

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If you want to buy bulls that will sire easy keeping daughters you have to buy bulls from an outfit that allows the enviroment to put some selection pressure on their cowherd. Some of the herds mentioned here have cows that have never had a tough day in their life. A good rule of thumb is buy from a place that runs them as tough or tougher than you-haven't had too many disappointments as far as working cattle with that policy. as far as the backfat EPD-you breed the bark of your cowherd and the increased cost of running your cowherd will eat up the grid premiums pretty damn fast. We've sold on a carcass grid for a long time-I don't really select for carcass per se in buying bulls or picking A'I bulls but we hit 95%+ AAA's up here in Canada. Our average yield grade could be a touch better but I can live with that. I can fix my yield grade in a second by including an exotic breed in our crossbreeding deal-but right now good F1 heifers are worth more that AAA Y1 steers. Trying to get straightbred cattle of ANY breed to be the best at anything is at best frustrating and in reality a fallacy.
 
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SRBeef

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Bigbull - thanks for the kind words. I am pleased with their condition after wintering mostly on 80% grazing corn stalks with about 20% hay. It really saved on my hay bill this winter compared to last. I was concerned that as most of the grain is long gone in the fields they are grazing that they would not do so well on the husks and stalks only but they seem to be holding well. The bull and steers have not had any hay since about mid Jan when the second photo was taken. I put some hay out after the very cold spell.

Northern, thanks for sharing your experience with backfat/carcass. I don't see where mine would have wintered any better with more backfat. The cows and heifers have been off of the corn stalks since about the first of Feb and are also holding their condition on hay only. I am looking forward to seeing how the marbling comes out after wintering on the stalks. I made an appointment at the processor for a couple steers.

As far as straight breed vs F1 hybrids, I had an incident over the weekend which pretty much cemented my opinion on that. I purchased 2 bred cows from a friend last summer. They are a couple of my favorite Hereford cows, shorter and 1200 lb. These had been bred to his purebred Angus bull. These two baldies from these cows always seem to have an attitude problem. Not too bad but just always braced or pushing another around, etc. Well over the weekend I was cleaning the waterer out and this baldy about 1000 lb steer walks up with a look in his eye like he is challenging me. This steer is from a Hereford cow so gentle she wants to be rubbed and scratched all the time.

He wanted to see who was in charge here - finally he took off to the corn with a little kick on the way out. None of the others do this. He is going to be the first one on the trailer in two weeks! Nice and square butt on him however not worth the hassle. Those steaks are going to taste especially good!

So even if it is tough to be "best" at everything, or near everything in a single breed, I have pretty much decided I am going to be straight Hereford and try to work within the one breed.

I had an ornery older pure Hereford cow earlier but she is hamburger now too. Made good Friday noon grilled hamburgers for the crew at the plant where I work. As you point out, no breed is "perfect". What struck me is the attitude of these two Baldies evidently from that "super" Angus bull sire, even though the cows are very even tempered. The Hereford cows and their baldy calves are exact opposites in temperament.

Even if the black hides are worth 5 cents at the sale barn, I am going to try to develop a straight Hereford herd. I think my bull will help with that. We'll see soon. I'll post some pictures of his calves.

Thanks for your comments.

Jim
 

Northern Rancher

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Well if I'd judged a breed on two not so bad eggs there wouldn't be any cattle I could run lol. If I want to pet something I have a pretty wife and a fat beagle lol.
 
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SRBeef

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Northern Rancher":3r8wualp said:
Well if I'd judged a breed on two not so bad eggs there wouldn't be any cattle I could run lol. If I want to pet something I have a pretty wife and a fat beagle lol.

You're right there. In most commercial cattle operations a bit of an attitude probably wouldn't matter very much. In my situation and system however, it does. Anything out of this friend's bull has to go.

I don't mean to judge a breed by a few, I have just seen a higher percentage of the baldies I've been around have an attitude problem compared to the herefords I seen. May just be my not-so-scientific sampling.

My cattle are not "pets" - I tend to look at them as "employees". Employees still need to "get along" with each other and me. And one bad one can spoil the bunch.

Jim
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