5 simple steps to make your Angus bull buying easier.
Sometimes choosing a Angus bull for your herd can seem overwhelming and a bit daunting. Follow our Angus bull buying guide to help you select the right bull for your herd:
- Know your herd and environment: Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your herd is important to ensure you can achieve optimum profitability. For example, is your herd experiencing calving difficulties, fertility problems or maybe lacking in marbling? Are your cows too small or too big? The climate and environment you are farming in will also have an impact on the type of bull requirements you need. If you live in a low rainfall, extensive outback area you require a different sort of animal to someone who lives in a high rainfall, more intensive location.
- Know your market: Choosing the right market is crucial. This gives you a target to aim for and allows you to put the steps in place to breed the right animal for that market.
- Use $Indexes: Once you know your herd and the market you are selling to, then selecting your bulls is much easier with the use of $Index values. $Index values allow you to select the bull that will produce progeny that fit the specifications for your market. $Index values are beneficial in many ways but even if you are unfamiliar with Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s), the $Index values will summarise the profitability of each bull for a particular market for you. For example if you are breeding cattle for the grass fed market, select the top 20% of bulls in a catalogue for the Grass Fed $Index and work back from there. Embrace Breedplan, it’s not perfect but it sure is better than relying on eye alone.
- Budget: Work out how much you can afford to spend on each bull and how many bulls you need. Then go through the bull sale catalogue and cross out any bulls you don’t like (ie not high enough $Index for your market) a search and sort devise on online bull sale catalogues can help with this too. If you need five bulls, have at least 20 in the catalogue that you like, you don’t want to spend twice as much as your budget because you didn’t have enough options.
- Choose your seedstock producer: You need a bull producer with high accuracy figures recorded with integrity. Actual figures in a catalogue are nowhere near as reliable as the EBV. Buy from a seedstock producer who uses comprehensive TACE analysis and large contemporary groups. Your seedstock producer must also provide an independent structure and temperament assessment of every animal in their herd, plus full veterinary checks and appropriate disease prevention. Choose a bull producer who offers great after sales service. If your bull breaks down, every day with an empty cow costs you money!
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