Bull Buying Checklist

CANADA - Selecting a top breeding bull used to be a fairly simple affair. Good feet, straight topline, smooth shoulders and an envious set of crown jewels. Those things still matter, but now a buyer’s checklist also includes birth weights, weaning weights and genetic markers for feed efficiency.
calendar icon 19 April 2007
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Still, at the end of the day, it should be all about the beef, said a number of breeders at the recent Calgary Bull Sale.

“That’s the industry we’re in. We’re all providing food,” says Michelle Welsh of Rocky Creek Charolais at Strathmore. “We can get tight-focused. This is about going from the genetic embryo to the plate.”

This business is all about beef and the bottom line, notes Travis Spady of Valleymere Angus Ranch, near Alliance. His family’s been in the business for three generations, and has been consigning bulls at the Calgary show since 1950.

“You’re still looking for a long thick bull. The longer they are, the more steaks on them, and the more steaks you get, the more money you’ll make,” he says. “Another six inches in length will give you 12 more steaks.”

And of course, proper scrotal development is crucial since that’s where the semen is stored, he adds. Cobby scrotums (without a defined neck) should be passed by, since the testicles need to be dropped to remain cool for fertility.

Never go with bad feet, no matter how great the rest of the body is, says John Rudiger who began raising Charolais in 1958. “We used to look at size alone and not pay much attention to the feet and legs. But they’ve got to be able to walk, to herd the cows, and get to feed and water.”

Source: Canada Agriculture Online
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