Our mail at the barn is currently overflowing with bull sale announcements, flyers and magazines. Although going through all the data can be a bit overwhelming, purchasing the right bull to enhance the quality of your herd is a decision that cannot be dismissed quickly and comes with quite a reward. There are a few things to consider before making a decision to purchase.
Consider Your End Goals
Before buying new genetics, establish what you are looking for in a bull. Make sure that it coincides with your end goals for calves that will be produced. Some farmers even write job descriptions for each bull you need purchased. Keep in mind whether this bull will be breeding cows or replacement heifers as well as whether you are going to keep replacement females or sell them at a terminal market. This tends to help figure out which traits are most important and aids in finding the right bull for the job.
Consider How You’ll Buy Genetics
Many producers buy from a sale barn and some prefer artificial insemination (AI). AI can be beneficial because you can use a highly proven bull that you wouldn’t be able to use naturally otherwise. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to lay their eyes on the bull you use for your herd and choosing AI would eliminate that option.
Purchasing a bull private treaty can give you a more personalized experience. A lot of times you can view other cattle to see which bulls came from which cows. Prices are typically set beforehand so there is upfront knowledge to keep a budget. Most private treaty also sell their stock at some point in an auction setting. This could leave you with the lesser to choose from.
Consider the Bull’s Features
After you go through the data of bull, it’s a good idea to get in the pen. See how structurally fit the bulls are by focusing on the feet and legs. Look for good angles through the shoulder, level tops, and quality muscling. There should be even more emphasis on structure when you’re going to keep the heifers out of a bull. Another important aspect to consider if their disposition. A bull with an attitude is too great of a risk for most.
Unless the bull you purchase is a virgin, be sure to test it for trichomoniasis. A new bull is the most common way for disease to enter a herd. Also, quarantining the bull for 30 days will give him time for his immune system to fight off diseases you may not even know he is dealing with.
Whatever you choose, choose wisely. At our livestock auction, we want you to have a top quality bull that in turn gives you top live stock prices for your calves. We personally spend a multitude of time buying the right bull for our herd and will help you with the process if you so choose.