Targeted Breeding’s 5 Steps For Buying The Right Bull

  1. Be clear on your own breeding objective
  • Start with where you are now
    • What are you doing well and what do you think you could/should be doing better? Calving percentage? Average weaning weights? Growth rates?
  • What is your current system and what role do your bulls need to play?
    • Do you finish all your calves or do you sell them store?
    • Are you looking to keep replacements or are you straight terminal?
    • Are you cross breeding and looking to maximise hybrid vigor?
    • What challenges are you currently faced with that genetics may be able to help you with? Calving issues?

 

  1. Pick your breeder

At the end of the day, you go where your breeder is going. Be sure to know where that is, and make sure that their stud objectives align with yours. Write a list of a few inquiry questions you may wish to ask Tom before the sale. They might be something like..

  1. What are your key breeding objectives and what traits are most important in your stud?
  2. What performance can I expect from your bulls?
  3. What role do you think your bulls will perform in my herd?

 

  1. Pick your index. Are you breeding maternal or terminal?
  • Simmental NZ have specifically designed breeding indexes for farmers looking for either producing heifer replacements (Simmental Maternal Index) or for all progeny being finished (Simmental Terminal Index).
    • The terminal index specifically focusses on the bulls direct influence of calving ease, along with strong pressure on traits influencing sale liveweights, dressing out percentage and meat yield.
    • The maternal index includes pressure on the direct influence on the bull for calving ease and progeny sale liveweights, but also the maternal aspect of these traits in his daughters. This index also places pressure on cow survival, weaning rates and on carcass traits too, all while trying to keep the weight of the mature cow down.

What role are you needing your bull/s from Gold Creek to play? Circle one of the below options.

Terminal : Maternal : Both : One of Each

 

  1. Know what breeding values are the most important for you
  • Once you have chosen your index, it is time to look at the traits within that index. Two bulls could have the exact same index – but have a totally different role in your herd
    • They could be strong on calving ease traits but not as good for growth
    • They could be average for growth but really good on carcass traits
  • Check out the bulls in this catalogue and put a tick beside your important traits if they meet your criteria

What breeding values will you be focussing on? List them here.

 

  1. Tracking your performance

In what ways could you track the performance of your new bulls?

  • Do you buy bulls from other studs that you might be able to benchmark them with?
  • Would you be interested to DNA test your top or bottom calves, just to see what bulls are performing the best? (DNA test would be about $23 per calf)
  • Can you commit to recording performance every year to compare your progress? Weaning weights, scanning percentage, growth rates?

 

Johanna Scott

Targeted Breeding – jo@targetedbreeding.co.nz