Catching fish does not always require the use of live bait. In fact, the use of lures of many types and sizes has led to the many storefronts filled with fishing gear. If one is keen on enjoying fly fishing, the artificial fly would more than likely be named and cherished.
Some would say they do a lot of contemplating while fishing. While contemplating, one's mind should ponder about things. In the beef world, perhaps it is all right to ponder on bull selection.
What do bull selection and fishing have in common? Not much. However, to make the point, fishermen have developed many ways to catch fish. They utilize things, such as chicken feathers, that really have nothing to do with fish.
However, the feathers work really well.
For beef producers fishing for bulls, welcome to the bull-buying season. The tackle box is full of tackle, favorite lures and some brand-new flies, and the tools to buy bulls are ready to be read, applied and used.
While fly fishing, I doubt many ever ask where the live bait is because they don't need it. Meanwhile, for bull buying, there still seems to be a strong desire or need to physically see the live bull, which is not a bad thing.
However, if the desire to visualize the bull takes one away from the need to evaluate the data regarding the bull, then one should ponder some more.
The tools for buying bulls are proven and certainly work. The genetic trend lines and the emergence of well-founded and well-researched bull lines that have proven performance are real. However, within the industry, there still is this willingness to purchase bulls that do not have the data to support their performance.
The pondering on bulls comes more in the form of a question than perhaps a direct statement. Why would a producer who is striving for calves that grade "choice" purchase bulls with known expected progeny differences (EPDs) for marbling that are at the lower end of the breed?
Why would a producer want to keep heifers back as replacements and have adequate feed to support milk, then purchase bulls with known EPDs for milk that are at the lower end of the breed? Why would a producer who wants to improve herd weaning weights continually purchase bulls that are below breed average in weaning weight EPD values?
In a marbling conversation the other day with others, we were discussing a bull that certainly had the desired phenotype and growth genetics that would be very acceptable in anyone's herd. However, the bull is a low-marbling bull. This bull's EPDs did not support or have evidence that it would contribute in a positive manner to the herd's improvement or even the breed's status quo.