raising young bull ?

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plbcattle

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I have bought about 100 registered brangus over the last year. I like the breed but I have one question. everybody CLAIMS to raise bulls in harsh conditions and on grass so they won't melt. But every bull goes on a 112 day gain test. he might weigh 600-650 when he starts and when they finish they are around 1000-1050lbs. my statment is they are not raised on grass. they were fed all they could eat to get to that weight so the ultrasound data could be gathered. I just wonder is this just an excuse to fatten the bulls up real fast and then put them to pasture so you can say they are pasture raised or is there a real benifit in gain test.
 

Larry Sansom

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plbcattle":2ws8i36c said:
I have bought about 100 registered brangus over the last year. I like the breed but I have one question. everybody CLAIMS to raise bulls in harsh conditions and on grass so they won't melt. But every bull goes on a 112 day gain test. he might weigh 600-650 when he starts and when they finish they are around 1000-1050lbs. my statment is they are not raised on grass. they were fed all they could eat to get to that weight so the ultrasound data could be gathered. I just wonder is this just an excuse to fatten the bulls up real fast and then put them to pasture so you can say they are pasture raised or is there a real benifit in gain test.
There are some of us seedstock breeders who DO raise bulls on forage only. These bulls do not end up with fat in the testicles and will semen test higher and earlier than those propped up with corn on a bull test. Our local bull test - university run deal- looses over 1/3 of the bulls every year on semen test alone - I never had one yet not to pass or have extremely high mobility and count numbers. Kit Pharo is a major bull test/seller with over 300 bulls on forage test in Colorado, of various breeds and he has some of the same results as I do. Bet this gets a bunch of mad reply's from those who have bred cattle that can not stand up to a growth on grass without a BIG feed bucket! Those bulls that have grown on a corn bull test are just the winners of the biggest eatting contest. I have purchased those types in the past - problems every time trying to get them back to the real world of grass for a ruminant vs corn. Caution - if you try this - when the buyers find out about your program - you cannot keep bulls around long - they sell early and high.
 

Frankie

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plbcattle":oqaque8n said:
I have bought about 100 registered brangus over the last year. I like the breed but I have one question. everybody CLAIMS to raise bulls in harsh conditions and on grass so they won't melt. But every bull goes on a 112 day gain test. he might weigh 600-650 when he starts and when they finish they are around 1000-1050lbs. my statment is they are not raised on grass. they were fed all they could eat to get to that weight so the ultrasound data could be gathered. I just wonder is this just an excuse to fatten the bulls up real fast and then put them to pasture so you can say they are pasture raised or is there a real benifit in gain test.

IMO, you’re right. If bulls go on a 112 day GRAIN test, they’re not raised on forage. I don’t understand how a breeder could present bulls that have been on a grain test as “pasture raised.” But not ALL bulls are tested, as Larry Sansom is proud to tell you.

We do test our Angus bulls. They are raised on grass at their dam’s side (no creep) until weaning (7-8 months old). At weaning we start them on some grain, along with the best grass we have on the place (or hay, if it’s winter). Every test station has a “test index”. The station we use computes the index as half the average daily gain (ADG) and half 365-day adjusted weight ratios. Some test stations also include ultrasound data, EPDs, or other criteria. If a producer doesn’t feed his weaned calf and puts him on test light, his ADG will likely be good, but his 365-day weight will be lighter. If the producer feeds the calf hard to help his 365-day weight, his ADG will probably not be very good. Of course, there are the good ones that come on test heavy and keep gaining all through the test.

Why we test: The most expensive period in a calf’s life is in the feedlot. The faster a calf gains and gets through the feedlot, the sooner he will put money in the owner’s pocket instead of costing him money. ADG is a heritable trait. By buying performance-tested bulls, producers are trying to improve the ability of their calves to gain in the feedlot. Daughters of those bulls should also produce calves that will be efficient in the feedlot.

There are downsides to testing bulls on hot rations. Some bulls will develop foot problems. But we need to know that, too. Those bulls need to be culled because their calves might develop foot problems in the feedlot and his daughters might not be sound. The guys who run our test station tell me there are lines of Angus that tend to bloat on hot feed. I’d suggest their calves would also tend to bloat in the feedlots. Not a good thing. We sell most of our bulls as yearlings and don’t have problems with the bulls passing a fertility test at that age. My personal opinion is that people who object to performance testing either: (1). Don’t understand it, or (2). Have bulls that can’t gain on grain. But that’s just my opinion. The sales at our test station (OBI) are scheduled so the Angus bulls don’t sell straight off test. They have time to be taken home and let them get their legs back under them before they’re sold. They come home too fat. It takes them a while to work the kinks out of their muscles since they haven’t been very active for 112 days. A yearling bull is still growing. He needs some special care and should be used in a limited breeding program for the first year, 12-15 cows. It continually surprises me how much people will pay for a young bull. Of course, around here it’s tough to find a good two-year-old Angus bull.
 

hillbilly

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Larry,

What do your bulls weigh at 12, 14 & 16 mo's?
What breed do you raise?
At what age do you sell most of your bulls?

I usually don't get into grass fed topics because I don't care.
But when it comes to grass fed replacement bulls I'm all ears.

If a bull has the genetics to weigh 1000#+ at 12 to 14 mo's on grass and still have an exceptable birth weight. Well, I'd much rather have him than a fed up tick thats going to suffer on my place.

Hillbilly
 

Frankie

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bwranch & la4angus - Gee, guys, thanks for the kind words. :oops: :oops: I think performance testing is important and take every opportunity to discuss it.
 

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