Which Way to Breed....

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mitchwi

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We have a bunch of heifer calves, come spring I would like to identify 15 to 20 of these calves to keep for breeding, which would be bred in July. These are Angus/Simm crosses and Angus/Gelbveih crosses of varying percentages, both red and black.

AI? Buy a bull? Purebred/Registered Angus? Go for an unproven bull based on EPD's geared toward 1st calf heifers? Don't keep any heifer calves out of 1st calf heifers? Any opinions would be appreciated.........
 

Rustler9

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I would probably buy a young bull and put on them. If they are all percentage Angus to begin with and they are all red or black I would go with a Hereford. This way you get hybrid vigor by bringing in another breed and you get either red or black baldies which should do well for you at market time. If you go with an Angus bull you diminish your heterosis because you already have have an Angus base. If you choose to AI, I would still go with a Hereford for the reasons that I stated. If you are set up to AI and it's convenient then go for it. You should be able to pick a bull with the epd's that you need.

I guess it doesn't matter if you buy registered or commercial-your heifers aren't registered. If you go with registered maybe you can compare epd's-try to get a low birth weight bull. There you go, you asked for opinions and there's mine, someone may have a better idea but this is the way I would go. As far as keeping first calf heifers-I have no problem with that, I do it all the time. When I was growing up my grandpa always said don't keep them but I think with today's genetics and feeds that first calvers are just fine. I often have a first calf heifer out grow her mama.
 

susie

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What's the reason for not keeping first calf heifers? I can't recall--thx!
Susie
 

dun

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susie":2iluo6hu said:
What's the reason for not keeping first calf heifers? I can't recall--thx!
Susie

The resonaing used to be that you bred a heifer just to get a calf so you used a bull that threw small calves and you didn;t care about the quality. Today, the calves from your heifers should be the best genetics in the herd.

dun
 

la4angus

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I would keep the 15 to 20 growthiest, beefiest hfrs to breed AI to a Reg Angus Bull, weather it be a Red or Black Angus. Use bulls that are3 in the top 5% of the breed for WW and YW Let the large ranchers use the unproven bulls. Use semen from a proven bull with CE geared toward 1st calf hfrs. Compare the hfr calves with the hfr calves from older cows calves, and ones that are as growthy and beeefy is the ones that you definitely want to keep for the future cow herd.
 

Brandonm2

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This sounds like a job for a good Hereford Bull!! Try to get a visually appealing one with balanced EPDs and good performance; but I wouldn't go over a +2.5 Birth Wt EPD on heifers. I like AI; but a typical bull will settle a group of heifers quicker than most avg. AI techs.
 

Brandonm2

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susie":6sdc2cn5 said:
What's the reason for not keeping first calf heifers? I can't recall--thx!
Susie

Most of the time a heifer out of a heifer is going to weigh less at weaning in actual pounds than the heifers out of mature cows. The thought was that you take your heaviest actual wt heifers as replacements because they are the closest to being ready to breed with the least amount of effort. Heifers out of heifers and heifers born late in the calving season have more ground to make up to calf as a two year old. We probably use more grain and more mixed rations than the old timers did so we are less feed averse to keeping heifers out of heifers.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I really can't believe that so many ask "what breed" to use. What are your goals for your herd? You have a great start - Angus/Simm crosses and Angus/Gelbveih crosses of varying percentages, both red and black. Super momma cows.
If you are looking for pounds to sell in the fall, I sure wouldn't use Hereford. Also, a Simmental bull with a CE of 10 can be successfully used on heifers.
So whether you use British or Continental is the first choice you need to make. There are bulls in all breeds that you can confidently use on your heifers. And just because a bull is Angus does not make it "a calving ease" bull. Each bull WITHIN each breed has to be analyzed. So the first thing you need to do is decide what breed/color you want to end up with.
Other posts are correct - keeping replacements out of heifers is fine. They may be a little smaller to a cow contemporary at weaning, but generally gain that deficit quickly. By breeding time, just pick out your heifers that best fit the size/quality of what your goals are for your herd. Don't forget STRUCTURE.
 
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mitchwi

mitchwi

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[/quote]I really can't believe that so many ask "what breed" to use. What are your goals for your herd? You have a great start - Angus/Simm crosses and Angus/Gelbveih crosses of varying percentages, both red and black. Super momma cows.

Jeanne - Sometimes we ask questions to get opinions, or different views that occassionally we are too willing or too ignorant to overlook. I do have goals for this "new endeavor". But if I should voice my goals on the first go around, I may potentially be shooting myself in the foot, when I am trying to get unbiased and objective opinions, rather than clouded and subjective opinions.

Thank you all for the input and please keep them coming!
 

stocky

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with heifers that are part simmental, I would stay away from limousin, hereford, simmental bulls. With the simmental in the blood, the mix can get huge calves. I would get a small type angus bull or a longhorn bull for the first calf. You want a live calf that is small enough not to put the heifer through a shock so that she takes the calf real easily. With the change in angus bulls over the years, it is harder to guarantee a good heifer bull out of the angus breed. A good 40-50 lb calf is the easiest on heifers but many angus now are in the 80 lb range. with the longhorn you will get a lively, 40 lb calf but it wont be worth nearly as much to sell
 
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mitchwi

mitchwi

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SPRINGER FARMS MURRAY GRE":s87mjzfo said:
Put a Murray Grey Bull on them. ;-) :cboy:

Springer Farms, I have admired the way you stick to your breed. But in my case could you enlighten me on the pros for choosing a Murray Grey Bull, perhaps a Black Murray Grey?? Would I obtain hybrid vigor? LBW calves? Where to purchase a young bull? Thanks in advance for the info! Also, if anyone else would like to input on the cons of a Murray Grey?
 

dph

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I guess I look at it this way, more than likely you will need a clean up bull anyway, if you do decide to AI, correct? So if you can get 70% to breed you would have 6-9 heifers left for him? Can you justify the cost of a clean up bull for 6-9 head? Can you accept 30% of the heifers (or more) not being bred if you don't? Why not buy a high quality bull to breed them to, and keep in your herd? Proving a bull often means breeding them to the best to inflate his numbers. I would worry more about a bull from an unproven sire. You wouldn't have any problems with a good bull from a good breeder, whatever the breed. Just my thought, good luck.
 

SPRINGER FARMS MURRAY GRE

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mitchwi":37ok324m said:
SPRINGER FARMS MURRAY GRE":37ok324m said:
Put a Murray Grey Bull on them. ;-) :cboy:

Springer Farms, I have admired the way you stick to your breed. But in my case could you enlighten me on the pros for choosing a Murray Grey Bull, perhaps a Black Murray Grey?? Would I obtain hybrid vigor? LBW calves? Where to purchase a young bull? Thanks in advance for the info! Also, if anyone else would like to input on the cons of a Murray Grey?

Anytime you cross an english breed with a continental,you will get hybrid vigor.Murray greys are well known for their low birthweight calves, which is why may people buy them to use on first time heifers.They usually like them so well,they then put them with the rest of the herd.There are breeders in Wisconsin,Illinois,and just about every other state as well as canada.There are black,brown,and silver(white) Murray Greys.The color gene transmission is not well understood,I have gotten black calves out of brown and white cows with my brown bull.Their disposition is wonderful.I recently had the vet out to do bse's on my young bulls and he told me they were the calmest cattle he had ever worked.He also told me he would not hesitate to put them with 50 cows.That is how fertile they are,and these are 18 - 19 month old bulls,(and yes,I have a black one).I would offer to sell you one,but I know that you can get a good bull a lot closer to you than I am.They will also add milk to your herd,and take the horns off your calves.They are small birth weight calves that will grow off well.I honestly do not know of any cons to tell you about.I think you would be pleased with the results. You can find a breeder close to you by going to the murray grey international association web site. ;-) :) :cboy:
 

greenwillowherefords

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":2ow8g7ce said:
I really can't believe that so many ask "what breed" to use. What are your goals for your herd? You have a great start - Angus/Simm crosses and Angus/Gelbveih crosses of varying percentages, both red and black. Super momma cows.
If you are looking for pounds to sell in the fall, I sure wouldn't use Hereford. Also, a Simmental bull with a CE of 10 can be successfully used on heifers.
So whether you use British or Continental is the first choice you need to make. There are bulls in all breeds that you can confidently use on your heifers. And just because a bull is Angus does not make it "a calving ease" bull. Each bull WITHIN each breed has to be analyzed. So the first thing you need to do is decide what breed/color you want to end up with.
Other posts are correct - keeping replacements out of heifers is fine. They may be a little smaller to a cow contemporary at weaning, but generally gain that deficit quickly. By breeding time, just pick out your heifers that best fit the size/quality of what your goals are for your herd. Don't forget STRUCTURE.

Just as there are bulls in all breeds that can be confidently used on heifers, there are bulls in all breeds that can offer you all the growth that you need, and there are bulls that can offer you both the BW and the growth. I am well acquainted with a number of Hereford breeders who without creep wean the heaviest calves I know of. One in particular has the best average weaning weights of anyone I know, whose senior herdsire is an HVH bull with below breed average BW EPD, positive calving ease, and actual six month weights ranging well over 700 pounds. A six month weight under 600 is rare. An example was a bull with a 70# BW, and an adjusted 205 of 804#.(Actual 188 day 740#)This in spite of the fact that we don't have the lush grass here in OK that you have described in the pastures of your area.

The classic baldie would be very hard to beat. Those heifers with Gelbveigh influence should in theory milk quite well, and raise a nice growthy calf.
 

Rustler9

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I agree with Greenwillow about the Hereford as I posted earlier-I don't see why you wouldn't go with that for the baldy calf. I also agree with stocky about the Longhorn bull-of course Longhorn is my breed of choice but I don't usually recommend them on this board because it seems that most people are against them anyway. But if you shop around and buy a solid color Longhorn bull either black or red you will definitely get a decent calf and with the solid red or black mamas you should get more solid color calves. The calves will weigh about 50 lbs. at birth but should take off like rockets. I can guarantee that they will grow and it's doubtful that they will have many of the Longhorn characteristics unless they do show some of the Longhorn spots. I'm assuming that your heifers are polled so you'll get at least 80% polled calves. The polled gene is dominant even if the bull has huge horns. One thing you won't have to do with using the Longhorn bull is have to lose sleep at night worrying about hard births. Those heifers will slip you out a live, healthy calf that you can market in a few months as opposed to some other breed bulls that may make you lose the calf and sometimes the moma with a difficult birth. I just priced a solid black weanling this morning to a guy who's looking to breed his first time black Angus heifers to a Longhorn for just the reasons that we are discussing now. Good luck in whatever you choose, it sounds like you have some time to make up your mind. what ever you choose to do I would stay away from Charolais, Limousin and Simmental. Not knocking these breeds at all, they are just not for first calf heifers unless you are into risk taking.
 
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mitchwi

mitchwi

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Now I can input a bit more.......I appreciate EVERYONE's input! There are a couple of variables I must tell you about that will narrow the field of possibilities.

Personal Preference 1) My husband and I both LOVED our Herefords.....we both dislike the Baldy....go figure....

Personal Preference 2) We do not want horns....(sorry Rustler, you had good points)

We are commercial, usually running stockers, but are going to have some momma cows back on the farm...(small herd).

DPH had the most valid point of using a bull over AI...thank you for that. I would like to keep breeding stock down to be serviceable with 1 bull. I am always willing to pay for quality.

Everything that will be bred next year are 1st calf heifers.

I will keep heifers based on structure/health/growth before color. Of course black gets most price/attention at the barns, and I am only commercial, so I'd like to stick to a "black" bull. Personally I feel I am down to two options. Angus, and thanks to Springer Farms, Murray Grey. I really love Simms, but I would rather err on the conservative side for these heifers.

Angus is more readily available, MG's are harder to find, MG's would potentially give me the best Hybrid Vigor.....

Finally, we want growthy calves, faster maturing, to either: sell as feeders, and or finish on our own. We have the flexibility to go either way........

Any other opinions would be appreciated.....Thank you Michele
 

Brandonm2

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I agree with Rustler about not pushing Angus cross heifers with a Continental breed bull. According to the MARC data, birth wt EPD breed adjustement factors fall like this.....

Angus 0
Red Angus 3.3
Hereford 3.4
Tarentaise 3.7
Salers 5.1
Gelbvieh 5.8
Limousin 5.9
Maine Anjou 6.5
South Devon 6.8
Simmental 6.8
Shorthorn 7.4
Pinzgauer 7.6
Charolais 10.5
Brahman 13.1

A Hereford with a +1 birth wt EPD would throw calves about the size of an Angus with a +4.4 birth wt EPD; while a Limousin with the same +1 number is the equivalent of an Angus with a +6.9 birth wt EPD. On the upper end, a Charolais with a -1 birth wt EPD actually about as heavy as a Hereford with a +6.1 or an Angus with a +9.5 birth wt EPD.
 

mgman

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I think you would be very happy with a Murray Grey bull. If you're interested in pursuing that idea PM me and I'll try to help you out with some possible contacts in our part of the country.
 

lgfarms

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I think you have a great start on a herd with the crossed heifers. These two crosses would be my selection if I were starting from scratch.

I'm sure I don't have as much experience as some of the people on this board, but I don't think you could go wrong with black angus. Either by AI to a proven calving ease sire or a young bull with the correct EPDs from a reputable breeder. Personally, I would AI if I planned to keep heifers from the first mating or find the right bull if I did not.
 
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