The biggest mistake purebred or commercial producers make when buying bulls is not having the bull registrations transferred to their name. That is a serious mistake.
It goes without saying in the beef business, but what better feeling than bringing home a couple of new bulls? All the effort in selecting new bulls comes to an end when the bulls arrive in the yard.
However, don’t stop there. Granted, they are the right bulls once purchased, no questions asked. As a producer, you purchased the bull, as well as the data that represents the bull.
In simplest terms, you purchased the right to produce calves of a desired genotype. The calves will be reflective of the genes that the bull has. His DNA is those threads of life that ultimately make up who we are.
The bull’s genes were measured and presented as data at the time of sale. By utilizing that data, bulls may be sorted and selected with considerable accuracy. However, the data does not stop with the purchase of the bull. Breed associations constantly are updating their databases and fine-tuning the expected progeny differences (EPDs) for all bulls.
As your bull ages, his database is growing at breed headquarters. In time, a producer can print the revised EPDs to better evaluate selection objectives and progress by reviewing past and new bull purchases.
Recently, as the animal breeding class finished at school, one of the students was challenged to more thoroughly evaluate bull purchases. Unfortunately, previous bull numbers had not been maintained, so the student did not feel it was possible to go back in time. Fortunately, the family had transferred the ownership of several previously purchased bulls.
The student was encouraged to contact the breed association to help find the EPD values on older bulls. Because the bulls had been transferred to a new owner, the association was able to supply information on current and past bulls. Some of the information went back three decades.
A review of the historic and current data made for an excellent class project and great take-home message. Yes, bulls have changed and the genetic trends are very telling. Therefore, for the new year, evaluate the old bulls and treat yourself to a new bull or two.
Each year’s crop of calves brings with it a whole new set of bull prospects. The thoughts of newness, such as new inspirations, desire and a general feeling of letting go of the old and in with the new, are good.
Keep the registration number, but why not let go of those old bulls to open doors to new genetics?