Congratulations to you Frankie.
Now some of the Angus people and longhorn haters may go crazy over this but: Consider the POSSIBILITY that Bill's customer just wants to breed his heifers or small cows with the longhorn bull because he wants to get as close to 100% certainty of no delivery problems as he can. And he's obviously not using AI, so use of one of the proven very low birth weight Angus bulls that carries a very high probability percentage is out of the equation. Yeah sure, if he just happens to pick the right young Angus bull for natural service he can get low birth weights. But the young Angus bulls available to him that have real low birth weight EPDs represent a lot more of a crap shoot as to the actual birth weight of their calves than the longhorn does. Those low EPDs are based only on pedigree and have a very low probability or confidence percentage. If the guy wants simplicity and almost virtual certainty of calving ease he goes with the longhorn bull for heifers and maybe even some cows and he makes a conscious decision to get less money per head for the resulting calves, but they'll probably all be alive. That decision is not necessarily the best, or worst, decision but it is one that is made a lot more often than many would imagine. A lot of people are willing to sacrifice some calf sale proceeds with their heifer's first calf crop and that doesn't make them idiots or joke farmers. Personally I think its foolish to be so obsessed with low birth weights that you make so many other factors a lower priority. But each person has to examine his or her program, and what motivates them to be in the cattle business, and decide how to rank all the management issues and then spend their hard earned money accordingly
1. I did not in any way suggest that this commercial rancher shouldn’t be buying a Longhorn bull. If he wants to use one on his cow herd, more power to him. I merely expressed my feelings about the growth (or lack of it) in this Longhorn bull. I can’t make any money selling two year old bulls for $1500 and doubt Bill can either. I would wonder, too, why this animal was still a bull? As I understand the horn business, steers and cows have the longest horns.
2. Bill said nothing about heifers or small cows. He said this rancher lost at least a brood COW (wonder what other kind of cows he has?) because of large calves.
3. You are just wrong about EPDs not being reliable for BW, at least in the Angus breed. Every Angus registration certificate shows the BW EPD of an animal’s sire and dam. If a buyer sees that the dam’s BW EPD is 5 and the sire’s is –5, he shouldn’t buy that bull as a heifer bull, even though his BW EPD will be 0. On the other hand if the sire’s BW EPD is 1 and the dam’s is 2, the animal will have a BW EPD of 1.5 and I would EXPECT him to be a satisfactory heifer bull. Because my cattle are all several generations of AI, the accuracy on my yearling bulls is generally in the .35 range and that’s pretty good. One can also go to the http://www.angus.org
website, enter a registration number, and track the BW EPDs on a bull for several generations. The information is available on a lot of Angus bulls. I wouldn’t claim it’s available on all of them. But ranchers who are willing to pay $2-5,000 for a bull will take time to do their homework.
4. Single trait selection is not good, no matter if you’re selecting for BW, WW or carcass.
5. You really should log in before you bash someone for something they didn’t even say.