A Balancing Act: Bull Development

Building your bull development program might be challenging, once your plan is composed, the impact is bound to be rewarding. Owner and operator at Snyder Livestock Company Inc., Lucy Rechel, provides insight on constructing a bull development program that ensures your bulls reach full potential…

“Number one is, taking care of that mineral program for the lifetime of that animal, which includes preconception – make sure he is set up to perform as he can perform. Secondly would be, use a professional when it comes to developing that ration, and make sure that professional knows your endpoint, and make sure he knows bull development. The third thing would be to know your customers so that if you have customers running in really, really tough country you probably have a different endpoint than someone who is turning bulls out on lush irrigated meadows.”

Rechel says, “The challenge is keeping both sides of the marketing and performance equation balanced.”

“Here’s this bull that out gained everybody, maybe had outstanding carcass characteristics, whatever, any parameters that you use. Then you go out and look at him, and he can’t walk and so that’s when we are kind of walking that line and saying, “Sorry, I don’t care how wonderful he is, he is not going to sell and we are not going to sell a bull with that kind of feet and legs.” That would be one instance where you kind of walk that line between performance and marketing.”

There is a fine line between feeding bulls to maximum performance, while still ensuring bulls can cover cows…

“If we want to find out if a bull can really grow, we have to give him enough groceries so that we know, really that we are seeing the expression of genetic potential. The other hand is,  is we can feed them too much and it’s easiest to get our best gaining bulls too fat. That bull that wants to gain five pounds a day is the one that’s the easiest to get too fat.”

Doing more with less is the link to the buzzword sustainability; and feed efficiency testing is the key to what Rachel says will put “bread and butter on the ranchers’ table.”

“Everybody wants sustainable and a big component of that has to be utilizing less resources, producing the same amount of meat with less resources. Some of that is management and some of that is understanding good nutritional programs – good feeding programs, good management. But there is a genetic component, and that genetic component is the feed efficiency testing. For the feedlot guy to have a set of calves the convert 5.5 to one instead of six to one. When you start adding those things up, all of those come to how important feed efficiency is for our industry and for the individual.”

At the end of the day, developing the best plan for your operation is vital for success. Subscribe to the American Angus Association YouTube channel – Angus TV – for more news and education. I’m Bob Cervera.