Thursday, January 22, 2009

~ That ain't no Bull...........

It's no big secret that the world of farming has made drastic changes over the last 100 years. It used to be when farmers needed to breed their cows, they turned them out with a bull that they kept on the farm. If they didn't keep one, they borrowed one from their farmer neighbor. Now technology has made herd management as easy as sitting on your couch, browsing through a catalog. Using Artificial Insemination, it is not necessary to keep a bull and it is an inexpensive way to breed your cows, using the bull of your choice.

Last years catalog is 82 pages. Each page contains a photo of a bull of a specific breed. The page also contains lineage for three generations; calving ease rating; production ratings, maternal statistics, etc. There is also a descriptive paragraph, with important information that breeders and farmers need to know in order to make the right choice for their herds.

We choose not to keep a bull on this farm for many reasons. Safety being my main reason. My Mother as well as my children are always in the pastures with the animals without fear and I don't want that to change. I can call Genex, who is the company we use to AI our cows, and they will arrive within a couple of hours. We know the technicians and they are very efficient and gentle with our animals. The deed is finished in about 5 minutes - and the waiting begins.

This is the Red Angus bull, Paradox. We have used this bull to breed Jan the last three years. The combination of the two have produced lovely, black, beefy, heifers each time :) Nothing to complain about that combination.

This year I've been debating about which bull to use. Truthfully I would like to raise a bull from my cow and I wouldn't mind a little color if that's going to be possible. I believe if I hand raise a bull like I do my heifers, I could keep a bull here that would be safe. Not that a bull doesn't always bear watching, but at least one I could feel comfortable around. I've been researching three different bulls:

I've always loved the Hereford's and would be thrilled with a little red/white bull calf! His stats say he produces cattle that adapt to harsh environments, cows that calve easily and the calves are naturally polled. "This is the breeds "all around" sire whose influence will be felt for generations".

I'm also considering this guy

LT Bluegrass is a Charolais. I've never bred to Charolais before but I' ve been reading some interesting things about this breed and he's definitely a beefy guy. They are naturally polled as well which is a plus. I'm not sure about their disposition and still have a little more reading to do.

I still have a few more days to make a decision but it's makes for good reading over my morning coffee :)


Tammy said...

Wow...I hope someday we can do that with sheep as easily. It would be nice not to have to worry about a ram on the place... I really like Legend. The Hereford/Baldy crosses always have appealed to me. It seems in the back of my mind that some of the Charlois can be a little scattered at times, but my info is based on years ago, when I actually knew a little bit about cattle! ha...
Take care, and good luck with your choices. Imagine bull shopping by catalog. ;-)

Nancy K. said...

That's "A Lotta BULL"!!!

I like Legend because he's HST....

Christy said...

I wish they did that with goats and sheep!

DayPhoto said...

We still do things the old fashioned way...the bull visits.

But I enjoyed see how the real world lives. Terry says we buy rust, and the bull gets to have a real cow. (Ha! Giggle)


Egghead said...

My parents always stuck with black angus. We had a neighbor once who had a Charolais and he was a huge thing and very mean. He paced the fence line whenever someone was walking on the road and pawed the ground while snorting. I was completely and utterly afraid of him. Don't know if they are all this way but he was mean.

Paintsmh said...

I have yet to meet a quite calm Charlois. Even the calves I have been around have had temperament issues. And they were all show cattle and handled constantly. Still impossible. Even the crosses had sanity problems. Even my college wouldn't keep them, because they were so hard to handle and dangerous. But that's just my experience. I know some people who have them and love them.

Joanna said...

can ya keep a son and raise him? is that what you were saying about the bottle-feeding? I don't know how line breeding works in cattle. In chickens, son to mother would usually be good, also father to daughters, just not brother to sister.

we were condering AI for our goat does but we'd have to be experienced in recognizing heat cycles because the Nigerians only stay in heat for very short spells. So we bought two bucks and really love them now and glad they're here.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I'm partial to the Hereford of course, we have never had a bad bull experience in my lifetime, just mean cows.

Around here the Black Angus are the most skittish, like the Charolais that Paints talks about.

The polling is dominate too, when we cross our Guernsey's with a polled Hereford, we never get horns on the cross.

Almost as fun as a seed catalog...

Deb said...

It is becoming more frequent with sheep but still not easy :) Like you, I love the look and stats of Legend and would love a red/white calf :)

Nancy K,
That HST get's you doesn't it? He's sure a handsome fella !

Actually the are doing AI much more with sheep - not sure about goats. It will all be possible as technoloy progresses.

I like oldfashioned - and we buy rust as well :) Because finding a bull to visit is so difficult out our way, we have to find an alternative. This works for us.
Having the "bull visit" is still the best best as far as conception rates.

The Black Angus is great in my book as well - Jan is 3/4 and is a great milk cow with a sweet disposition.

Thanks for your input. I value your opinion. Even though the Charalois is a nice beefy creature, their disposition leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm thinking to bottle feed a bull calf and then use him to breed my other heifers. Son to Mother is ok as long as the offspring is raised for beef and not for breeding stock so I've been told. I wouldn't have any full siblings, so I could use him on 1/2 sisters I believe.

I love looking at your Hereford photos :) I'm not sure I'd get a red/white calf if I breed Legend to Jan but it sure would be fun to try :) My cow is polled and Legend is as well so I know I wouldn't get horns.
The process has made for interesting reading!