Selecting bulls for new farm

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Ky hills

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How would a red fleckvieh simmental cross with black cows and black and white face cows. Would you get to much white or would it be kinda like putting a Hereford bull in with black and bwf cows. I’ve found some sharp flecks that looks like would put some pounds on the ground.
My opinion, if I were going with Simmental I would go with the modern purebred black one. Main reason being these would likely be more reliable calving ease. There used to be a few of those old types around and they earned a reputation for hard calving.
 
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Cress27

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My opinion, if I were going with Simmental I would go with the modern purebred black one. Main reason being these would likely be more reliable calving ease. There used to be a few of those old types around and they earned a reputation for hard calving.
I’m not really concerned with having a really good calving ease where I’ll be buying cows. I don’t want a pallet head calf but I’m not going to base my bull section on calving ease. I’m after growth and nothing much more than that. I will not be retaining heifers for a few years. If I do it won’t be many. But I know what your saying as far as black being better. Just thought maybe it would have a baldie calf kinda like a Hereford angus cross.
 

Ky hills

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I’m not really concerned with having a really good calving ease where I’ll be buying cows. I don’t want a pallet head calf but I’m not going to base my bull section on calving ease. I’m after growth and nothing much more than that. I will not be retaining heifers for a few years. If I do it won’t be many. But I know what your saying as far as black being better. Just thought maybe it would have a baldie calf kinda like a Hereford angus cross.
If your some of your cows are baldies, they can have a percentage of red calves if bred to a red bull. On the subject of calving ease, yes, cows can generally have calves without assistance. If it were me though, I would still go with a no more than a moderate BW bull with not much below breed average for CE. I say that because of crossbreeding especially to a traditionally larger continental breed bull then hybrid vigor will also affect the size of calves at birth too. Since you have full time work, you don't want to be having to do much calving assistance. I don't know for sure, and bulls are all different in terms of calf shape, but I have always suspected that larger calves sometimes can make for a higher percentage of abnormal presentation births that require assistance.
 

simme

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How would a red fleckvieh simmental cross with black cows and black and white face cows. Would you get to much white or would it be kinda like putting a Hereford bull in with black and bwf cows. I’ve found some sharp flecks that looks like would put some pounds on the ground.
If the goal is baldies, the Hereford bull does that more reliably than the Simmental. Some of the simmentals carry a spotting gene that sometimes results in a color pattern closer to a longhorn. The older the simmental genetics, generally the greater chance of the spotting gene. Much more random and unpredictable in regards to where the white appears and how much white.
 
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Cress27

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If your some of your cows are baldies, they can have a percentage of red calves if bred to a red bull. On the subject of calving ease, yes, cows can generally have calves without assistance. If it were me though, I would still go with a no more than a moderate BW bull with not much below breed average for CE. I say that because of crossbreeding especially to a traditionally larger continental breed bull then hybrid vigor will also affect the size of calves at birth too. Since you have full time work, you don't want to be having to do much calving assistance. I don't know for sure, and bulls are all different in terms of calf shape, but I have always suspected that larger calves sometimes can make for a higher percentage of abnormal presentation births that require assistance.
Yes I agree
If your some of your cows are baldies, they can have a percentage of red calves if bred to a red bull. On the subject of calving ease, yes, cows can generally have calves without assistance. If it were me though, I would still go with a no more than a moderate BW bull with not much below breed average for CE. I say that because of crossbreeding especially to a traditionally larger continental breed bull then hybrid vigor will also affect the size of calves at birth too. Since you have full time work, you don't want to be having to do much calving assistance. I don't know for sure, and bulls are all different in terms of calf shape, but I have always suspected that larger calves sometimes can make for a higher percentage of abnormal presentation births that require assistance.
yes I agree on the moderate calving ease. I just think sometimes people focus too much on calving ease. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want a calf that is wore out from momma being in labor longer and therefore momma wants a break and the calf is so weak from extended labor that nether one wants to keep going. I definitely agree on the black simmental or the blaze face simmental. I believe that simmental is probably going to be some of the most versatile cattle rather you want replacement heifers or good all around feeders that will put the pounds on and preform in the feed lots.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Cress27 - you sound very logical and have a good handle on what you need. I totally agree people chase too much CE. I personally want my 2-yr old heifers able to spit out a 90# calf. If we keep breeding CE bulls to CE females, we will end up with cows that cannot have a 70# calf.
I hope you stay active on here. Sounds like you will be a good addition!
 

WFfarm

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How would a red fleckvieh simmental cross with black cows and black and white face cows. Would you get to much white or would it be kinda like putting a Hereford bull in with black and bwf cows. I’ve found some sharp flecks that looks like would put some pounds on the ground.
The white face tends to come thru in the calves. We've had a few solid black Simmentals that would have solid and BWF calves out of the same white face cows. I think they tend to have less white on the face that a hereford cross. More blaze faces. We have a young red Fleckviehl cross bull that we'll get calves from this spring, can't wait. He has some good muscling and showed it even as a calf. We've had good luck with calving ease with the Simmental even with heifers. Rarely need to assist one and we average about 85lb calves.
 

elkwc

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I don't know your region and what sells well there. In this area good performance bred Angus calves and Hereford/Angus baldies top the market. And or Angus & baldie calves will weigh as much at weaning as our neighbors Char, Sim & Limmie crosses and sell better. Even if they are all black or a baldie it is easy for a buyer tell if they have Simmie or Limmie in them. IMO when the Simmie went black they reduced the frame size and lost the growth they once had. I know some feedlot managers and they prefer no more than a 1/4 Simmie or Limmie. We use both Angus and Horned Hereford bulls. We will have a few red baldies and they sell right on our groups and sell at the top. For 60 cows 2 bulls should be enough. In this area if I was doing it I would buy one god performance Angus and one good Horned Hereford bull. But again you need to raise what sells best in your area.
 

CCCowman

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ok so I ended up getting the farm and I’m going to start buying cows in the spring. So my question is what kinda bull do you recommend I’m going to shoot for mostly black and white face cows or black cows. I really love Charolais bulls and love the way they grow they take a little bit of a beating at the yards but gain it back and some in the pounds. Also like the black simmental bulls. If you guys was starting out with moderate framed black and black white face cows and was selling all your calves at the yards what would you go with. Remember these calves have to pay for the farm. I want growthy calves and bring good money. Just a young farmer looking for advice thanks
Black/White Faced ....... take a look at the Black Herefords.
 
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Cress27

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Cress27 - you sound very logical and have a good handle on what you need. I totally agree people chase too much CE. I personally want my 2-yr old heifers able to spit out a 90# calf. If we keep breeding CE bulls to CE females, we will end up with cows that cannot have a 70# calf.
I hope you stay active on here. Sounds like you will be a good addition!
Thanks. Yeah my dad has always based his bull selection on CE and I think he’s lost pounds at weaning. Just my opinion tho. He finally got a Hereford bull that was a 3.8CE and his calves grow better than any gelv cross. What is a good number on WW I don’t know a lot about epds
 

Ky hills

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Thanks. Yeah my dad has always based his bull selection on CE and I think he’s lost pounds at weaning. Just my opinion tho. He finally got a Hereford bull that was a 3.8CE and his calves grow better than any gelv cross. What a good number on WW I don’t know a lot about epds.
That's what happened in our herd too, we ran CE Angus bulls because we sold bred heifers and used the same bulls for cows. Now that we are just cow/calf and heifers are either sold open or retained we can have more growth options for bulls. We also noticed a growth improvement with most Hereford bulls we used. The only reason we are not using Hereford bulls currently is half of our cows are straight Herefords and a few are BWF. thus we would have several red calves
 

Muletrack

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Out of 90 calving about 70 of the cows are black. I might see one or two rat tails a year. It comes from cows that have Simmental in them. Angus based cows have either tans or silver calves from a white Charolais bull with no red factor in his background. The silvers sell the same as whites here often in the same groups and the tans sell better than blacks but that's a regional thing. The growth weight isn't close to Angus it's +50 or more lbs especially
How would a red fleckvieh simmental cross with black cows and black and white face cows. Would you get to much white or would it be kinda like putting a Hereford bull in with black and bwf cows. I’ve found some sharp flecks that looks like would put some pounds on the ground.
I would be concerned about rat-tail greys in that cross. When we used to have simmentals, we went to Red Angus in the cross. Today, if I were breeding this way I'd make sure I had a homozygous black simmental bulls. That said, some of those diluted greys did make pretty good cows.
 

Jafruech

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I’m not really concerned with having a really good calving ease where I’ll be buying cows. I don’t want a pallet head calf but I’m not going to base my bull section on calving ease. I’m after growth and nothing much more than that. I will not be retaining heifers for a few years. If I do it won’t be many. But I know what your saying as far as black being better. Just thought maybe it would have a baldie calf kinda like a Hereford angus cross.

Cress, I think you need to step back and look at things a little more Holistically. Lee is absolutely right about profit and lbs per acre vs lbs per animal. You're not just in the cattle business. You're in the grass/rangeland management business, and there's a lot more to consider than how many lbs each calf weights at weaning and their price at sale time. You need to subdivide your pasture, and come up with a solid plan for rotational grazing to give each paddock sufficient rest and grazing time. Given your work schedule you won't be able to do UHDG, but you could easily do MIG. Once you have the cattle trained and used to moving, it will be fast and easy to move them. One of my friends moves 2000 head of yearlings daily from april-october and it takes him about 30 min of work a day, if that. You'll be able to increase your stocking rate, or save forage for winter grazing / dry years. On that small of acreage you should be able to easily plan watering for each paddock. The more paddocks and rotating, the better the result....keep in mind it's not a set time frame for grazing each paddock. You'll have to observe the forage and grazing levels of each, and the regrowth. No 2 areas in your pasture are going to grow identically. Take notes now and it will make your life easier later.

I agree chasing CE too much is pointless. But not chasing it enough is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one or two lost calves and that extra money you've made for a little extra weight on the rest has gone into the negative. I haven't had to pull a calf since I was a kid. I couldn't even tell you where my puller is. My calves this year averaged 550lbs at 190 days in a drought year, and I sleep all night with no worries during calving season and again haven't lost a calf since I was a kid.

Keep in mind chasing WW too much is just as destructive to your bottom line. You need to balance WW and Feed Efficiency. If you have a lot of WW but your animals take 20% more feed to achieve the same ADG, you're profit margins shrink significantly.

If you aren't keeping replacements, then go with a terminal bull with the characteristics you want. If you are keeping replacements, the need for balancing feed efficiency goes up significantly. If 2 cows produce similar WWs, but one requires 20% more to feed and maintain....well you see where I'm going with that. One of my smallest and oldest cows (she's 17 now) is the first one to breed back, first one to calve, and she weans one of the bigger calves in the group. She could get fat on 3 awns. The less the cow has to do to maintain their own condition, the more they have to give for calving, the easier they recover, breed back, and milk. A cow with a great milk EPD but terrible efficiency that can't meet her nutritional needs is going to produce less milk than a cow with a lower milk EPD but greater efficiency that can maintain her needs.

Learn and understand genetics. Half of the people (probably more than half) that raise cattle have no idea the genetics behind Polled, scurs, and African horn genetics, and there's a ton of bad information on here that's blatantly wrong from people who don't understand the genetics.

Don't believe everything you hear or are told. Read, read, read, and learn. Question everything, be willing to try new things outside your comfort zone. Profitability has just as much to do with you and your management and marketing decisions as it does with the cows. I do things a lot different than my dad and granddad did....but my cost per cow is lower and my profit margin is higher. A little bit of extra effort can lead to a lot of extra profit. Example: I had a neighbor's waygu bull break into my pasture and breed a few of my cows (I will never own wagyu, I'd rather own bison for the trouble that thing was). They came out looking very wagyu and would have gotten a huge hit at the salebarn. My dad's advice was "just taken them and sell them, take the hit, and move on to next year." Instead I did a little research, marketed them, sold them private treaty at an average of 590 lbs for a premium that year ($194 cwt). Well worth the couple hours I spent online and talking to people. The buyer was happy and has bought more of my Angus and hereford X calves in the following years for a premium.

You are set up to make a lot more per acre than I am here. It took 80 acres per pair this year, and I'm still feeding grass. Most years it's 25-40 acres a pair here. I've strongly considered moving to your area where I can run exponentially more cattle on less ground and not have to worry about the years where 100 acres won't feed a cow, and bomb cyclone blizzards that reek havoc.

I still work full time on base in addition to the cattle and 4 young kids (plus doing an M. Div online). When my cows are at home, I check them in the evenings or mornings. When the cows are at any of my lease grounds I'll stop by and check them on my way home from base. I calve in Late April/May in synch with nature here. I stop by after work by myself and tag, give shots, and band new calves as they come. I can do about 1 calf every 4-5 minutes and saves me time later. For an hour a day during calving season I save a lot of time later on and have really healthy calves. I haul the portable corrals and squeeze chute out to the lease ground on a friday at branding and do them all myself and give shots over the weekend.

Don't undervalue good stockmanship. You can process a lot of cows and calves per day by yourself with the right setup and good stockmanship.

The number one trait I select for is disposition. I don't care what their calving ease or WW is. I don't care how awesome the bull looks. If they aren't at the top for disposition they have no place in my herd. I've worked enough rank cattle, mine won't be among them. Loading cows and bulls up is effortless with good disposition and good stockmanship.

Cows have to be cows. I don't care what their other traits are. They need to calve without any assistance, gain back condition quickly, wean a good calf, rebreed, maintain their condition, and have good disposition. All on grass and mineral with as little supplementation as possible (obviously hay here on drought years in the winter is a necessity). If they fail to meet any of those parameters...they get culled without hesitation.

I love my cows more than I like people..and I enjoy doing it and learning and learning more....but they have to be profitable...and they can be profitable.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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@Jafruech where are you located? You gave great advice for a commercial operation. And you are correct. Learn genetics. They are extremely interesting.
My land grows grass/clover. I rotational graze, but move them about 2-4 days. My steers are my cash flow, but my girls are my money makers, and few bulls sold as calves can be profitable - for ME. Find a DIRECT market if at all possible for your feeders. Finish out some for freezer trade if possible. Great profit.
 
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Cress27

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Cress, I think you need to step back and look at things a little more Holistically. Lee is absolutely right about profit and lbs per acre vs lbs per animal. You're not just in the cattle business. You're in the grass/rangeland management business, and there's a lot more to consider than how many lbs each calf weights at weaning and their price at sale time. You need to subdivide your pasture, and come up with a solid plan for rotational grazing to give each paddock sufficient rest and grazing time. Given your work schedule you won't be able to do UHDG, but you could easily do MIG. Once you have the cattle trained and used to moving, it will be fast and easy to move them. One of my friends moves 2000 head of yearlings daily from april-october and it takes him about 30 min of work a day, if that. You'll be able to increase your stocking rate, or save forage for winter grazing / dry years. On that small of acreage you should be able to easily plan watering for each paddock. The more paddocks and rotating, the better the result....keep in mind it's not a set time frame for grazing each paddock. You'll have to observe the forage and grazing levels of each, and the regrowth. No 2 areas in your pasture are going to grow identically. Take notes now and it will make your life easier later.

I agree chasing CE too much is pointless. But not chasing it enough is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one or two lost calves and that extra money you've made for a little extra weight on the rest has gone into the negative. I haven't had to pull a calf since I was a kid. I couldn't even tell you where my puller is. My calves this year averaged 550lbs at 190 days in a drought year, and I sleep all night with no worries during calving season and again haven't lost a calf since I was a kid.

Keep in mind chasing WW too much is just as destructive to your bottom line. You need to balance WW and Feed Efficiency. If you have a lot of WW but your animals take 20% more feed to achieve the same ADG, you're profit margins shrink significantly.

If you aren't keeping replacements, then go with a terminal bull with the characteristics you want. If you are keeping replacements, the need for balancing feed efficiency goes up significantly. If 2 cows produce similar WWs, but one requires 20% more to feed and maintain....well you see where I'm going with that. One of my smallest and oldest cows (she's 17 now) is the first one to breed back, first one to calve, and she weans one of the bigger calves in the group. She could get fat on 3 awns. The less the cow has to do to maintain their own condition, the more they have to give for calving, the easier they recover, breed back, and milk. A cow with a great milk EPD but terrible efficiency that can't meet her nutritional needs is going to produce less milk than a cow with a lower milk EPD but greater efficiency that can maintain her needs.

Learn and understand genetics. Half of the people (probably more than half) that raise cattle have no idea the genetics behind Polled, scurs, and African horn genetics, and there's a ton of bad information on here that's blatantly wrong from people who don't understand the genetics.

Don't believe everything you hear or are told. Read, read, read, and learn. Question everything, be willing to try new things outside your comfort zone. Profitability has just as much to do with you and your management and marketing decisions as it does with the cows. I do things a lot different than my dad and granddad did....but my cost per cow is lower and my profit margin is higher. A little bit of extra effort can lead to a lot of extra profit. Example: I had a neighbor's waygu bull break into my pasture and breed a few of my cows (I will never own wagyu, I'd rather own bison for the trouble that thing was). They came out looking very wagyu and would have gotten a huge hit at the salebarn. My dad's advice was "just taken them and sell them, take the hit, and move on to next year." Instead I did a little research, marketed them, sold them private treaty at an average of 590 lbs for a premium that year ($194 cwt). Well worth the couple hours I spent online and talking to people. The buyer was happy and has bought more of my Angus and hereford X calves in the following years for a premium.

You are set up to make a lot more per acre than I am here. It took 80 acres per pair this year, and I'm still feeding grass. Most years it's 25-40 acres a pair here. I've strongly considered moving to your area where I can run exponentially more cattle on less ground and not have to worry about the years where 100 acres won't feed a cow, and bomb cyclone blizzards that reek havoc.

I still work full time on base in addition to the cattle and 4 young kids (plus doing an M. Div online). When my cows are at home, I check them in the evenings or mornings. When the cows are at any of my lease grounds I'll stop by and check them on my way home from base. I calve in Late April/May in synch with nature here. I stop by after work by myself and tag, give shots, and band new calves as they come. I can do about 1 calf every 4-5 minutes and saves me time later. For an hour a day during calving season I save a lot of time later on and have really healthy calves. I haul the portable corrals and squeeze chute out to the lease ground on a friday at branding and do them all myself and give shots over the weekend.

Don't undervalue good stockmanship. You can process a lot of cows and calves per day by yourself with the right setup and good stockmanship.

The number one trait I select for is disposition. I don't care what their calving ease or WW is. I don't care how awesome the bull looks. If they aren't at the top for disposition they have no place in my herd. I've worked enough rank cattle, mine won't be among them. Loading cows and bulls up is effortless with good disposition and good stockmanship.

Cows have to be cows. I don't care what their other traits are. They need to calve without any assistance, gain back condition quickly, wean a good calf, rebreed, maintain their condition, and have good disposition. All on grass and mineral with as little supplementation as possible (obviously hay here on drought years in the winter is a necessity). If they fail to meet any of those parameters...they get culled without hesitation.

I love my cows more than I like people..and I enjoy doing it and learning and learning more....but they have to be profitable...and they can be profitable.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth
Very great info. Come on down to Kentucky we are the state named after grass after all lol. But I completely agree with you 100% I’m young will be 26 in July. I’ll make mistakes I’m sure of that but you can only learn from them. We topically get but with 1 cow calf per 1 1/2 acres or 2 acres. I’m my area.
 
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Cress27

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That's what happened in our herd too, we ran CE Angus bulls because we sold bred heifers and used the same bulls for cows. Now that we are just cow/calf and heifers are either sold open or retained we can have more growth options for bulls. We also noticed a growth improvement with most Hereford bulls we used. The only reason we are not using Hereford bulls currently is half of our cows are straight Herefords and a few are BWF. thus we would have several red calves
The Hereford breed has come along way with their growth rates. I think.
 

Jafruech

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@Jafruech where are you located? You gave great advice for a commercial operation. And you are correct. Learn genetics. They are extremely interesting.
My land grows grass/clover. I rotational graze, but move them about 2-4 days. My steers are my cash flow, but my girls are my money makers, and few bulls sold as calves can be profitable - for ME. Find a DIRECT market if at all possible for your feeders. Finish out some for freezer trade if possible. Great profit.
Thank you. I'm in Colorado.
 

Jafruech

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The Hereford breed has come along way with their growth rates. I think.

The Hereford bulls I have used are all old world type. I select my Angus bulls to compliment what I need from my program and my environment.. I don't chase WW, but I select the traits I want overall and go with that. They made really nice calves that sold well. I have a couple of black Angus x commercial cows that are red carriers. I have no problem selling the reds. But again, it's all about marketing and the quality of what you have and your reputation. Just my thoughts
 
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