• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Murray Greys in NZ summer, Down Under

Help Support CattleToday:

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,627
Reaction score
154
Location
Central Upstate New York
TwoByrds - yes, I also use numbers, but generally I print out a list of the sires I plan to use AI, and a list of all my cows. Both lists have their EPD's (numbers). I highlight the good numbers in yellow & highlight the bad ones in green. I try to blend the numbers when possible. And, obviously, I look at CE & BW on bulls for heifers. But, I do not chase that EXTREME CE bull. that can come back & bite you with your cowherd down the road.
 

TwoByrdsMG

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
5
Location
Eagle Point, OR
Jeanne- I have found the EPDs for the breed we have is useless. I used a "calving ease" AI bull with good gestation/CE/BW numbers on a heifer which last season resulted in a 6 day overdue calf, a hard pull, and a dead 98.5 lb bull calf.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,627
Reaction score
154
Location
Central Upstate New York
Ours are pretty good. Of course there are "accuracies" to let you know how reliable the number is. But, if you are using a young bull that has good numbers and they are 'similar to his parents, you can pretty well figure they are going to be accurate. We all get those calves that don't fit the profile of what it was supposed to be - LOL but, sometimes we forget to put the cow into the equation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mwj
OP
W

waihou

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
186
Reaction score
7
Location
New Zealand
Totally agree with the comments that figures are only half the picture! However one without the other can lead you astray just as easily!

We tend to use the mating predictor function which is attached to our EBV's in which you combine the sire and dam names and it spits out expected progeny EBVs, which of course are merely 50% of each parent, but at least if you enter your list of females against various bulls you can see which make the best match!
For bulls we cannot go and visit in the flesh-either AI bulls or at the other end of the country this mating predictor is the main way of picking a bull.
We do much the same as you Jeanne Simme Valley, and highlight how many traits are improvements on both the breed average and those already better than what we have. The mix with the most highlighted traits in the progeny get the big tick.

Whilst we are looking more closely at marbling these days, because that is the way we can add value to a carcase, we certainly don't single trait select.
Interesting you mention that high marbling leads to light boned animals, that must explain why the few Waygu animals we see over here look scrawny dairy types out in the paddock. The first ones we saw looked like Jersey- Angus cross breds!


For phenotype one might have only photos to rely on, and we know how photos can drastically alter whether they look better or worse! On farm we judge temperament perhaps as no 1, especially for the cows. We need to be able to walk up to a new calf and tag and weigh it with mother nearby and for bulls, I need to be able to walk around the herd without having to watch where the bull is and what his intentions are! After 42 years of selection-and culling- I think we just about have this one mastered.
Feet, udders and scrotums are next on the inspection list, if we are looking at the herd.
With only a small herd of 20 or so cows on 50 acres we have a strict selection and culling process, but having access to figures sure plays a big part. Having shown stock over the years one tends to get ones eye in for correct , functional cattle from the outside so adding the figures completes the picture.
Pictured is the 3 yr old dam of the bull Overlord pictured earlier and which we have just sold, and her this years calf, a heifer, by the 'light boned' bull Murphy at 7 days old. Hope she turns out as nice as her big brother!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4224 499 562.JPG
    IMG_4224 499 562.JPG
    2.3 MB · Views: 3

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,627
Reaction score
154
Location
Central Upstate New York
One thing I do differently than you (waihou) is I pick the bull by visual and reports of offspring - then - I match a bull to a cow.
I do not pick a bull by his numbers, but I use his numbers and phenotype to match with a cow. Numbers a only one of the tools in the box for me.
No matter how good the numbers are, if you don't have the feet, legs, volume, etc - you don't have anything in my books. And I am not implying you don't put the same emphasis on looks in your operation - just clarifying for newbies. You, like me, have been doing this a long time, you don't have a good herd without being concerned about the bull side.
And yes, Wagyu and Jersey are probably the highest marbling breeds and they "look alike" LOL Dairy cattle are better marbling than beef cattle. Lighter muscling is highly correlated to higher marbling.
 
OP
W

waihou

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
186
Reaction score
7
Location
New Zealand
"One thing I do differently than you (waihou) is I pick the bull by visual and reports of offspring - then - I match a bull to a cow."

So do you physically look at a prospective bull, or view video etc? You have much vaster distances to cover than our little country! As most of our best blood is overseas- as in Australia- it is often impossible to look at bulls in the flesh, or even their progeny- so photos and figures are the best we can do!
If you are using AI then certainly you can match the bull to the cow, but our small herd, plus limited choice of good semen without importing at huge expense the next best thing is to buy a bull, from someone that does import semen to use over a much bigger herd, and pick the bull which is the best match for all the cows with that bull!

Some of our new calves for the 2020 season, which are now a couple of months old. Sadly only 5 bulls out of 19 calves- so limited sales this coming yearling bull season! However we already have 7 heifers ordered at weaning. Four going to a Simmental stud (!) he bought a bull off us this year for his Simmy heifers, and 3 going to a small block (15 acres) lifestyler as we call them!

Three of 'the boys" all by our homebred "Murphy " The black one was born mid September
IMG_8299 553.JPG
IMG_8295 551.JPG
IMG_8288 563.JPG

and a couple of the heifers, by Murphy
IMG_8268 548.JPG
IMG_8303.JPG
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,627
Reaction score
154
Location
Central Upstate New York
You are right. Your situation is totally different. I could have great selection of AI bulls for $20-$30 - although most I purchase are generally $50-$100 - but that's my choice - I have a huge option.
I virtually NEVER see the bull in flesh. I depend on other breeders around the US that have seen him - or better yet - have seen his offspring. I have some extremely top notch cattlemen that I trust their opinion completely. A picture will give me an idea of his phenotype - but most of the time I don't get to view a video. Structure is my 1st concern on using a bull, so word of mouth is my main source of info.
Murphy has done a superb job for you. I say "boohoo" each time I get a bull. I only keep 2-5 bulls for selling out of maybe 20-25. All males are sold shortly after weaning preconditioning. If I kept one a bull and he is not sold, he gets cut & sent with the steers. Heifers are my money makers, but you can only sell so many high dollar females off the farm. I'm not interested in using much sexed semen because I rely on the males leaving each fall for cash flow!! Kind of a necessary evil! Plus - more fun anticipating the calving - LOL.
 

Latest posts

Top