A Bull Buyers Update scheduled for Dec. 15 near Thedford will provide an opportunity for ranchers who need to hone their livestock judging talents, or who find all the EPD numbers confusing to sharpen their skills on choosing the best bull for their operation.

The hands-on workshop at the Hoffman’s Ranch north of Thedford will begin at 1 pm CST. Pre-registrations are encouraged by Dec. 11, but registrations will be taken until full. Call the Nebraska Extension Office in Thedford to register (and for directions to the facility) at 308-645-2267. 

Hoffman Ranch, ABS, and Zoetis are sponsoring this event.

Kelly Bruns, Nebraska Extension, will teach the structural characteristics of sound bulls, and talk about the traits that may be passed down to his future steer calves. Conformation and soundness trump many other traits; lame bulls have a hard time covering cows in a pasture.

Aaron Stalker, Nebraska Extension Beef Nutritionist, will talk about the requirements for young and mature bulls, and how to meet their needs. Feeding bulls, especially in the winter, can be a challenge with young, growing bulls and mature bulls in the same pasture. 

Dr. Scott Larsen, DVM, will touch on breeding soundness and what to do when a bull gets hurt. Producers who find hurt bulls during breeding season often must choose between selling them immediately, or waiting to see if the injuries heal. 

As the cattle market goes up, so does the price of bulls. How do artificial insemination costs compare to buying a bull? Wayne Eatinger with ABS has crunched the numbers and will share the results.

Don Hubbell of Zoetis will comment on bull health and ways to prevent parasites and diseases.

Local producers who raise bulls and understand the numbers will help workshop attendees understand the numbers. EPDs, ratios, and indexes for specific beef breed can be daunting, and producers who decide to crossbreed for heterosis might be dealing with two or three different breeds and their numbers. Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Red Angus, and Charolais breeders will be at the workshop. You can choose three of the breeds and learn how to make the numbers work.

At the end of the day, attendees will have to use the skills they have learned to pick the best bull based on conformation and EPDs, and get their final questions answered about the numbers or how to judge structure of a bull.

Call the Nebraska Extension Office in Thedford to register (and for directions to the facility) at 308-645-2267. Pre-registrations are encouraged by Dec. 11, but registrations will be taken until full.