Dalvan Simbras helps you focus on your future.

Dalvan Simbras helps you focus on your future.

We are in unique and uncertain times. We can see this in nearly every part of our lives. Nonetheless, we must do our best to carry on, for we know that we will overcome these current challenges.

Cattle markets will recover, businesses will re-open, kids will go back to school, and life as we knew it, will continue. 

Need a bull?

The best bull at the auction may not be the best one for you. He may have the best EBV’s but may cost too much. Or he may have EBV’s that emphasize a genetic direction different from the one you have envisioned for your operation.


Why the “best bull” might not be the best for you

A bull purchase requires a great deal of thought and effort. This decision will affect your farming operations for years to come — as long as that bull’s genetics are represented in the herd.

If replacements are kept from a particular sire, this influence could extend beyond his own lifetime. It is essential to invest the time needed to make numerous decisions before writing the check for a new bull.

Below is an overview of the process you should go through before choosing a bull. Start early to give yourself enough time to work through the process and ensure you get the bull with the right phenotype and genotype for your farm.

1. Define your farming goals and how the new bull will help them achieve them.

It is difficult for a bull to perform in every trait, and the few that do are too expensive for the average commercial cattle producer to buy and use.

So, consider how the bull will be used: as a weaning calf producer or for replacement heifers?

Most producers with herds with less than 100 animals should concentrate on weaner production and plan to buy replacement bulls.

Once you have decided how the bull will be used, look for the individual within the breed that meets your goals

2. After you have decided what bull you will use, do your homework before going to the seller’s farm or the auction.

Identify the reputable breeders in your region from whom you might purchase a bull. Request all data and EBV’s for the bulls. Develop a spreadsheet to sort the EBV data from each bull.

Determine which bulls you should go look at. This process is called the “judging on paper.” Consider the individual’s actual weights, but do not let them alone dictate your final decision. Breed average EBV’s are more reliable than individual
values, as management can have a dramatic impact on individual data.

Finally, check to ensure realistic prices are set on the value of the bulls you will consider.

Going through this process will give you a shortlist of bulls to phenotypically consider once you arrive on-site.

3. Physically evaluate the bulls.

Only consider the bulls on your shortlist. Do not deviate from the hard work you did before the sale day. Be extremely critical and do not allow for structurally incorrect bulls.

When you physically assess the bull, start at the hooves, legs, genitals and then work upwards to the rest of the body. The bull must be healthy and have good angles on the hooves, good legs, shoulder and hip. A bull with structurally  incorrect legs (upright or sickle heel) will not stay in the herd for long and will put those genetics into any replacement heifer.

Move the bull around and let it walk to ensure it has smooth, long strides.  Evaluate him from all angles: front, back and side.

Look for the bull with the most body capacity and which is balanced. Likewise, the temperament must be judged to ensure how the bull reacts when
handling it.

The purchase of a new bull must be well planned and considered.

Much planning and preparation should go into the purchase of a new bull. When possible, make a planned decision as to when the sire exits your program, and start the replacement search early.

Pre-planning will lead to a better decision to buy the right bull. An informed decision, which you won’t regret in the future!


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