JULY 17-21, 2017
British Columbia 1
Welcome to the 2017 BC Hereford Influence. This is going to be a busy year for BC Hereford breeders and Junior BC Hereford Association members, who are in full swing preparing to host Bonanza 2017 in Abbotsford, July 17-21. Special thanks go out to all the volunteers who are working tirelessly to make Bonanza 2017 the best event yet. The theme is “Herefords Headin’ West” and our province is geared up to showcase the best in Hereford cattle. When out in Abbotsford for Bonanza, take some time to get out and visit our diverse BC Hereford ranches and have a look at the cattle we are producing. There is something for everyone. We look forward to showing you what we have to offer. Nationally, the Canadian Hereford Association is in its fifth year of the Genome Canada Project, where breeders from across Canada have measured the feed efficiency of thousands of Hereford bull calves. BC bulls continue to be at the top with the highest weight gains. Congratulations to BC Hereford breeders who have competed at shows throughout the province and at the national level, bringing home championship banners, as well as three Supreme Champion awards. Despite lower calf prices last fall, production sales of purebred and commercial Hereford cattle have remained strong in Canada. One new fall consignment sale had a strong average of $6,766; another had an average of $4,477. Hopefully this trend will continue in 2017. Watch for Hereford bull sales this spring at Kamloops, Dawson C r e ek , V a nd e r h o o f a n d Wi ll i am s L a k e. Please join us in Abbotsford this summer to celebrate HEREFORD WEEK IN CANADA and BONANZA 2017
BCHA Executive Committee President John Lewis, Courtenay Ph (250)334-3252 email@example.com
Secretary Janice Tapp, Fraser Lake Ph (250)699-6466 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Greg Peters, Langley Ph (604)514-5949 email@example.com
Treasurer Vic Redekop, Aldergrove Ph (604)614-2277 firstname.lastname@example.org
BCHA Directors Phil Brown, Princeton Ph (250)293-6857 email@example.com
Don Richardson, Tlell Ph (250)557-4348 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Gowans, Kamloops Ph (250)573-4088 email@example.com
Murray Gore, Surrey Ph (604)951-2306 firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen Ziemer, Lumby Ph (250)547-6394 email@example.com
Daryl Kirton, Abbotsford CHA Director Ph (604)855-2287 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheila Solmonson, Vanderhoof Ph (250)567-4640 email@example.com
Club Contacts Yellowhead Hereford Club Secretary: Janice Tapp Ph (250)699-6466 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thompson Valley Hereford Club Secretary: Joan Obrien Ph (250)835-0104
West Coast Hereford Club Secretary: Catherine Simpson Ph (604)626-4395 email@example.com
Cover Picture : “Flower cow” Jamie Richardson
*** Design and production by *** Jamie Richardson, Janice Tapp & Don Richardson 3
Bonanza comes to Abbotsford, BC July 17-21, 2017 The Canadian Junior Hereford Association (CJHA) hosted its first national junior cattle show in Manitoba in 1978. By 1980, this event became widely known as “Bonanza” – the CJHA’s national cattle show. This is a four-day, action-packed event hosted by alternate provinces each summer. Each annual Bonanza event, unique in its theme, now coincides with the Annual General Meetings of the Canadian Hereford Association, involves fellowship, a speaker program, occasional tours to local attractions and several competitions. Individual and team activities include cattle shows, showmanship, judging, stall, fitting and grooming competitions, as well as photography, public speaking, art, literature and marketing competitions. Bonanza is organized annually, from the ground up, by CJHA members themselves with the help of adult advisors and a host of volunteers in each respective host province. The event is funded by local and national sponsors who have a vested interest in supporting the next generation of producers and leaders in Canadian agriculture.
The Canadian Junior Hereford Association (CJHA) promotes and supports young Hereford breeders through educational events, cattle shows, unique national programs and its national show – Bonanza – which is a showcase of Junior Hereford participation and excellence. It is a self-sufficient, non-profit organization. The CJHA Council was founded in 1967, leading the way for other world youth breed organizations as the country’s first junior national cattle breed association. “The CJHA serves to give our young members ownership and experience in the breed and in the wider industry and supports their efforts through programs such as the “Semen Donation Program”, the “Heifer Lottery Project” and through auctions, an annual calendar project and an Honour Roll. Members also benefit from real world experience on governing boards, through breeding, feeding and marketing their livestock and from related competitions, all of which hone their skills for larger arenas”, in the words of Stephen Scott, Executive Director of the Canadian Hereford Association. The organization is composed of individuals 21 years of age and under, from across Canada. An elected body of provincial representatives and a national advisor govern the CJHA with the guidance of provincial adult advisors. The CJHA fosters leadership, skills and connectedness within the industry, offering tremendous career launching opportunities for its members. It also fosters education through scholarships opportunities offered through the Keith Gilmore Foundation (KGF), the likes of which have put the CJHA and CHA on the world stage. The KGF has become one of the largest privately funded programs of its kind in Canada. 4
For membership inquires or more information contact: Canadian Junior Hereford Association, 5160 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 6V1 Toll Free: 1-888-836-7242 firstname.lastname@example.org www.herefords.ca
Prince Edward Island
Master of Science in Agriculture, Dalhousie University
“The Canadian Junior Hereford Association played an integral role in my current involvement with the Canadian beef industry. It goes without saying, that my participation as a CJHA member played a pivotal role in my early career development.”
“As a founding member of the CJHA, I gained leadership and organizational skills that have enabled me to succeed in my own purebred operation, my business endeavors, and serving on National cattle boards. It also encouraged me to initiate a Manitoba multi-breed Junior event.”
Ontario native, Saskatchewan
Executive Director, Canadian Beef Breed Council
Hereford breeder and Show Director, Ag in Motion
“The CJHA provided an opportunity to learn and have fun with other kids in a competitive interactive team environment. Many of those kids have become life-long friends and the reason that I chose a career in Agriculture.”
“Being involved with the CJHA helped me to meet people who enjoy cattle, agriculture and the rural way of life. These friendships grew into a great professional network that has helped me become successful in both the purebred cattle industry and in my agriculture business career.”
Dr. Heather Ribey
Veterinarian and Hereford Breeder
Cattle Producer and Publisher of Top Stock Magazine
“The leadership roles I held in the Canadian Junior Hereford Association taught me organizational skills and the value and rewards of hard work. I continue to use these skills daily in my career as a veterinarian, my life on the farm and my role as a Mom.”
Kurtis Reid Saskatchewan Account Sales Specialist at Masterfeeds and Hereford breeder “The CJHA had a major influence on my life. It helped to build up my competitive spirit, gave me the opportunity for life long friendships and industry connections. The activities we did and competed in made sure those that chose to participate in Bonanza to it’s fullest left as better rounded people.”
“The CJHA has been a really positive influence on my career. After the first Junior Hereford show I attended at the age of 9, I was hooked. Showing a docile breed with the support and encouragement of a very dedicated group of mentors and parents fostered a love of the show ring that will be life long. It certainly ensured I stayed in agriculture, and some of the people I met at those first shows are now customers and friends today.”
We are ranchers, managers, researchers, veterinarians, publishers, publicists, journalists, administrators and “agvocates” of many kinds...
We are the alumni of the Canadian Junior Hereford Association. 5
RFI, the next frontier The RFI research project started as a three – year collaboration between the Canadian Hereford Association (CHA), Olds College, Cattleland Feed Yards, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, University of Alberta and Livestock Gentec which was funded through the “Idea to Innovation Program”, Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), and cooperating Hereford breeders. Dr. John Basarab, senior research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, a world renowned researcher in the field of feed efficiency was invaluable for his assistance with this project. Running for three years from 2012 to 2015 the CHA assisted researchers in measuring over 1000 Hereford bulls for residual feed efficiency (RFI) resulting in functional RFI EPD’s for nearly 1500 head. RFI is a measure of the variation in feed intake that remains after the requirements for maintenance and growth have been met. Efficient animals eat less than expected and have a negative or low RFI, while inefficient animals eat more than expected and have a positive or high RFI. RFI has good heritability at 0.36 (36%) and little influence or correlation with other traits. Research has shown that selecting for RFI may result in as much as a 9-10% reduction in cowherd maintenance costs, a 10-12% reduction in feed intake, a 25-30% decrease in methane emissions and a 15-20% decrease in manure production Results from the three-year trial showed a 1.73 lb per day difference in feed consumption between the most and least efficient bulls. Using a cost of $0.065/lb of feed, the less efficient bull would cost you $40.04 more each year to feed. Imagine the value of using low RFI sires in your herd to increase you cow herd efficiency? The payback could conceivably be quite substantial. The final stage of the project took place during the summer/early fall of 2015. Researchers at the University of Alberta used the feed intake and growth data as well as the genotypes of all the animals that were on test, to calculate genomically enhanced EPDs. This research has made RFI evaluations more accessible to all breeders. In the future, getting an RFI evaluation could be as easy as submitting a hair sample for analysis. Interest in RFI data collection from our breeders remains strong, so the CHA is working with Cattleland Feedyards and Olds College to set up group rates for additional trials. In 2015/2016 350 more Hereford bulls were tested for RFI and received EPD’s. A similar number are expected to be tested in the 2016/2017 feeding trials.
Interpreting the new RFI epd & PWG epd published by Canadian Hereford Association Residual Feed Intake (RFI) The AVERAGE Hereford has an RFI score of 100. The average values for the EPD will change as EPDs are updated, so remain aware of the EPD average for Hereford cattle. A one-point change in RFI score represents 10 pounds of feed per year, and a larger number on this scale indicates the animal is more efficient. For more efficient bulls whose progeny eat less than expected, their index values are
larger. For example: a bull whose progeny will eat 10 lbs less over the year than we would expect would score 101, where the expected intake is based on growth and weight of the animal. A bull whose progeny will eat 200 lbs less over the year than expected will have a score of 120. For less efficient bulls whose progeny eat more than expected, their index values are lower. Where a bullâ€™s progeny that eats 10 pounds more than expected over a year will have an index of 99 and a bullâ€™s progeny that eats 200 lbs more a year will score 80.
Post Weaning Gain (PWG) This value is expressed in expected post weaning pounds of gain; the difference between yearling and weaning. The Hereford Breed AVERAGE for PWG is 31 in 2017. Like all EPDs this is not actual pounds gained by the individual but the difference in lbs gained in the progeny. If Bull A has a PWG of +15 and Bull B has a PWG of +60 then we can expect that the offspring from Bull B, bred to the same cow, would gain 45 lb more after weaning, than the offspring of Bull A, when all other factors are equal.
Please note that there are four distinct groups of cattle when we look at their feed efficiency and their ability to gain weight.
RFI>100 & PWG>31
RFI<100 & PWG>31
RFI>100 & PWG<31
RFI<100 & PWG<31
these cattle eat less than expected and gain better than average (most cost efficient feeders) these cattle eat more than expected but also gain better than average these cattle eat less than expected but also gain less than average these cattle eat more than expected and also gain less than average (least cost efficient feeders)
As RFI is strictly a measure of efficiency it is essential to balance this trait with gain. The take home message is that when selecting for feed efficient cattle using the RFI EPD it is only going to be an economic advantage if you also select for cattle which have a Post Weaning Gain near or above the breed average. Cattle feeders have known for years that they can make the most money from cattle which gain rapidly and now we can select for those which do it on less than the expected amount of feed!
Bridging the gap from farmer to consumer critical to progress in farm animal care National Farm Animal Care Council
ticularly with opportunities that are relatively simple to implement and don’t involve major infrastructure investment. Agriculture can’t afford an image of being too slow to change. Producers are going to be expected to adapt practices for welfare reasons quicker than ever before and we need to look at these situations as opportunities.”
Open dialogue, science-driven innovation and tangible backing from the value chain are crucial for Canadian agriculture to tackle today’s challenges around farm animal care.
Canada’s new voluntary Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was released in 2013. The code (available at www.nfacc.ca) lays out guidelines pertaining to everyday beef cattle production practices. Like the 1991 version, the new code includes both should-do’s (recommendations) and mustdo’s (requirements). The code was developed with input from cattle producers, industry stakeholders, veterinarians, researchers, government agencies, and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. A notable change in the new code relates to pain management when castrating and dehorning. This reflects two decades of change in society and the tremendous amount of research into these practices.
Consumers are more disconnected from agriculture than ever, yet often have strong opinions on how food is produced, says Crystal Mackay, Executive Director, Farm & Food Care Ontario. “We need to engage Canadians in an open, positive and honest conversation, like we’re sitting across from one another over coffee,” says Mackay. “Farming and food are not typically among the top-of-mind issues keeping consumers up at night. But their attitudes and perceptions related to agriculture do have an increasing impact on what they buy and the trust they give us to manage our industries. It’s much better if we can support a healthy dialogue and build understanding in a positive way before something becomes a major concern.”
Animals that have been castrated and dehorned are less likely to injure other animals, so there are animal welfare benefits to these practices. However, there is increasing public concern about the pain inflicted when the animal that is dehorned or castrated. ReCritical to building trust is commitment to continual imsearch has shown that castrating when animals are provement, says Dr. Ed Pajor, Professor, Animal Beyoung results in a smaller wound, likely less pain, fewhavior and Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, er complications, more rapid recovery and a smaller Department of Production Animal Health, University of setback in animal performance. Calgary. In the realm of science-driven innovation, that means not just supporting research, but impleStarting in 2016, the new Code requires cattle producmenting any practical solutions it produces in a timely ers to use pain control, in consultation with their veterimanner. narian, to mitigate pain associated with dehorning The area of pain assessment and management is one example of strong research progress in recent years that now must translate to practical change, says Dr. Pajor. “There will always be more we can learn and more specific ways we can assess. That doesn’t mean we should wait for perfection and do nothing now, par-
calves after horn bud attachment (two or three months of age), or when castrating bulls older than nine months of age. This goes down to six months of age in 2018. Bottom line for ranchers “Do it right and do it early!”
We need to do better when it comes to Castration of our Bull Calves ***Roy Lewis, DVM Doing it early and properly brings benefits to the producers, addresses animal welfare concerns, and prevents problems later on
should be. Bigger older bulls on average have bigger testicles so right away we have compounding problems. For the good of the whole value chain and the cattle industry, producers must get much better at castrating on farm. I don’t think we will ever evolve to not castrating as many European countries do. The smaller and younger the calf the better, especially when he is still nursing. Using rings when they are a day old is the easiest method and it causes the least stress. And since it can be done when tagging and giving shots, it doesn’t take much additional time. If you use a calf implant at this time, growth will be about as good as an intact bull and you don’t have the worry of castrating when it’s older.
But there are too many ‘belly nuts’ showing up in our Canadian feedlots. We must all examine how these apparent misses happen and what can be done to prevent them. Many producers may not even realize they are shipping some steer calves with a retained testicle. If we go back to castration time, we may discover where the errors are happening. If you’re using bands at birth and a testicle has not descended, that calf should be left, marked, and rechecked Much has changed in the feedlot industry. Cattle are not later. You always need to recheck once the band is redehorned — a few may be just tipped and the polled bulls leased to make sure both testicles are still contained in the look after the rest. Cattle are not branded unless required by finance companies, for border crossings, or by commu- scrotum. You may want to ensure the person processing the newborn calves has time without an overly aggressive nity pastures. The feedlots really don’t want to castrate eimother cow in close proximity. We do more things now to ther and quite frankly it is not the place to get that done. Over the years especially with high markets, calves identi- newborns, including vaccinating, so we must take our time fied as bulls were probably not discounted as much as they and do it right (including castrating). We now have many tools at our disposal when it comes to castration of calves in the beef and dairy sectors of our industry. When used together in skilled hands, newer techniques at castration along with NSAIDs (non-steroidal antiinflammatories) will ensure welfare issues are addressed.
Older calves can be knife castrated at a few months of age at the proverbial ‘branding time’ before the turn out to pasture. Ensure the most skilled individual is performing the castration. The quicker the procedure with a sharp scalpel or knife, the less the chance of infection, excessive bleeding or inflammation. It is starting to become commonplace where an NSAID — such as Banamine, Anafen or Meloxicam (subcutaneous or oral) — is given for both their analgesic and their anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the other stressors on the calf at this time, it is money well spent as the calves keep on eating, nursing and growing. These drugs have come down in price and provide up to two days of pain control benefit. Since younger calves don’t weigh as much, less product is required. Implanting will also provide better growth and should definitely be considered.
comparing the differences between knives and banding at this age and using or not using NSAIDs which may tell us more about which method is preferable. In my experience with older calves to yearlings I use both methods castrating with a knife on the smaller-testicular calves and using bands on the larger calves where I am worried about bleeding. The cut calves are also covered with antibiotics and both groups receive blackleg with tetanus and a painkiller anti-inflammatory shot. It has been found that with all these painful procedures the anti-inflammatory drugs help to keep the calves eating. So from an economic standpoint the calves do better. They are also healthier and less prone to succumb to things such as pneumonia or digestive upsets.
The real problems at the feedlot are the ‘belly nuts’ high flankers, which get bought as steers but are discovered partially intact (usually one testicle) at the feedlot. These If the knife is not used at this age (three to five months) a are a real risk to the feedlot as they are much more difficult bander has been developed by Callicrate for these middle- to cut as they are usually very big and staggy looking. size calves. It is a middle-size band put on the same way Quite frankly the feedlots really don’t want them. I found out as bands at birth. This technique is easy to use but be recently that a very large lot in the U.S. will turn back intact warned, it is imperative calves have a tetanus vaccine. Tet- or partially intact bulls if they are discovered at processing. anus is found in some of the eight-way and nine-way ClosWe all as producers must work with our veterinarian as to tridial (blackleg) vaccines. The two vaccine brands I am the most appropriate method of castration for our farm most familiar with are Covexin Plus or Tasvax 8 (it should say tetanus on the label). At this age calves are often given based on age of calf, time of year, and resources at our disposal. We need to aim for as close to 100 per cent suctheir first or second blackleg vaccine, so this does not becess rate as possible and use painkillers when advised. come a duplication. But again, just make doubly sure the This will save needless problems down the line. Feedlots blackleg vaccine contains tetanus. Ideally they should be have figured out what bulls cost them and learned that ofgiven the tetanus vaccine two weeks before the stressful ten not much else preventive-wise (such as vaccinating) event. has been done to these calves. For older calves with big testicles, banding with the larger If we diligently work to do the best job we can when castratbands is becoming the more preferable route — although best not to leave them this long and tetanus is a real prob- ing and look after these calves they will return dividends to us in the long run; animal welfare issues will be addressed; lem. Purebred producers raising breeding bulls may not and the entire industry will benefit. know until bulls are culled at semen evaluation time, so these larger bulls enter the feeding system and we need to do something about them. Currently there is a small study ***Roy Lewis practiced large-animal veterinary medicine for more than 30 years and now works part time as a technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health.
Editor’s note: Many Purebred producers have developed a good beef market fattening and slaughtering virgin bulls which don’t make it as breeding bulls. These bulls never leave the farm of origin until slaughter day. It is my preferred method of marketing the bottom of the yearling bull pen rather than castrating and shipping the culls and it will make the producer more money in the long run!
Daryl & Linda Kirton 30018 Townshipline Rd., Abbotsford BC V4X 1Z4
Quality Polled Herefords
Home Phone: 604-856-5755 Darylâ€™s Cell: 604-855-2287 Lindaâ€™s Cell: 604-309-1661 E-Mail: email@example.com
Cattle for sale at the Farm
Bulls consigned annually to Williams Lake Bull Sale. Ask us about our Domestic and Exportable Embryo for sale.
Three generations involved! Registering Hereford cattle for twenty five years
Selecting for fertility, docility and performance using only the top genetics available 25
These fifty-seven active breeding units of the BC Hereford Association all registered Hereford calves in the past two years 1
Ardill's Ranch Ltd
FORT ST JOHN
Benwyn Farm Ltd
Brigden Hereford Ranch
Cayley Cattle Company
Cedar Meadow Ranch
Copper Creek Ranch
Coppertone Farms Ltd
SALT SPRING ISLAND 250-537-2118
Echo Valley Farm
Flack's Hereford Farm
Foster Bar Ranch
Golden Horn Ranch
Hilltop Honey Ranch
Jo-Nicol Hereford Farm
Kensington Prairie Farm
Kootenay Polled Herefords
Little Fort Herefords
McElroy Polled Herefords
McLennan Creek Herefords
Mons Creek Ranch
Moresby Three Stars
Morley Polled Herefords
2015 Top Ten BC Herds by Registrations Little Fort Herefords Benwyn Farm Ltd Copper Creek Ranch Copper-T Ranch Richardson Ranch Courtenay Herefords Golden Horn Ranch Deanfield Ranch McElroy Polled Herefords Lone Fir Ranch
Little Fort Progress Princeton Fraser Lake Tlell Courtenay Creston Kamloops Charlie Lake Fort Fraser
93 73 43 41 33 28 23 22 19 18
53. .55 11. 46. 50. .13 .29 .24 .5
.10 .15 45. 51 .47 40 41 .25 .26 37 49 38
.36 .48 .1.23 32 .1428
2016 Top Ten BC Herds by Transfers Pine Butte Ranch Bry-Der Herefords Richardson Ranch McElroy Polled Herefords Copper T Ranch Deanfield Ranch 3-D-L Farm
Cranbrook Salmon Arm Tlell Charlie Lake Fraser Lake Kamloops Abbotsford
26 26 20 19 17 16 12
Benwyn Farm Ltd Little Fort Herefords Golden Horn Ranch
Progress Little Fort Creston
9 9 7
President : John Lewis 250-218-2537 Vice-President : Greg Peters 604-835-7562 Secretary : Janice Tapp 250-699-6466 Treasurer : Vic Redekop 604-856-7279
.31 .3 .2 .4
.35 .30 .7 .33
Murphy Ridge Farms
North Bluff Farms Inc
Ogilvie Stock Ranch
Ruddick Family Farm
Schaad, Tom & Susan
Silver T Ranch
South Alder Farms
The Gattiker Farm
Tod Mountain Ranch
Valley Creek Herefords
Wind Horse Farm
Woodley Range Herefords
2016 Top BC Herds on THE by STARS
.52 .8 39 .19 17 .56.18
Copper-T Ranch Courtenay Herefords Echo Valley Herefords Golden Horn Ranch Little Fort Herefords Moresby Three Stars Richardson Ranch Smith Farms 3-D-L Herefords Cayley Cattle Company Copper Creek Ranch Kootenay Polled Herefords Tod Mountain Ranch Hilltop Honey Ranch McElroy Polled Herefords
5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 5 Star 4 Star 4 Star 4 Star 4 Star 3 Star 3 Star
Steps in Selecting Bulls
Dr. Tim Marshall ***
Before I review the steps of selecting a bull, I will assume that we have identified the desired breed and breeder, as well as created a priority of desired traits/performance level. Now we know what we need, the question is how to find it (the best bull for our situation). Like most of you reading this article, my earliest memories of joy included 1. Acquire the sale catalog and/or other documents that provide all availathe beef cattle industry. One of my fondest memories is my father’s gift to ble data that can be used to predict progeny performance. me on my 12th birthday – taking me to a PX Ranch sale to purchase a 2. Create a list of “bulls of interest”; all bulls that fit your Job Description. herd sire. In 1969 the Charolais breed was changing the nation’s beef 3. Go to the sale site or farm to evaluate the bulls. Only look at the bulls industry, and on my 12th birthday, my Dad and I used all of the technology that genetically fit your Job Description! Do not allow visual impressions to available to us; visual appraisal and adjusted weights. A decade later, I force you into selecting a bull that does not fit what you need for your met Dr. Marvin Koger at the R.W. Jones Polled Herford Dispersal Sale. situation! Dr. Koger was the legendary geneticist whose research generated the 4. Visual Evaluation selection tools Adjusted 205-day weight and Adjusted 365-day weight. I a. Body Type/Mature Size indicators joined Dr. Koger, Dr. Hargrove, and the father of visual livestock evaluab. Feet and leg soundness tion in the southeast – Don Wakeman at the University of Florida in the c. Skeletal Design soundness summer of 1979. Over the last 35 years I have learned from the nation’s d. Scrotal and Penal soundness leaders through the Beef Improvement Federation, National Cattlemen’s e. Eye Soundness Beef Association and directly from the truck seat or saddle. The methods f. Appropriate Body Condition Score for the Environment available to evaluate the genetic ability of bulls have changed. The diversig. Appropriate Hair for the Environment ty of cattle management systems and beef product requirements have increased to create new challenges. However, the goal of sire selection is Bull Categories or Bulls to be used for various purposes the same; find the optimal combination of genetic worth to fit our ranch 1). Heifer – Minimize the risk of calving problems by using a high priority on environment and provide the consuming public with what they want in a way that sustains our industry and creates adequate demand for the prod- direct calving ease (CED) and birth weight, as well as using high accuracy bulls. This does not mean to ignore the other economically important uct. traits! Do not simply use the lowest CED bull in the breed if he has poor Homework to complete before selecting specific bull(s). genetic merit for traits such as growth and carcass value. Bull selection is not done in a void, but must be done after answering 2). Terminal – No heifers will be kept for breeding, so priority can be questions and determining specific factors that affect the decision of which placed on growth and carcass value. Remember that terminal means to bull to use. target how the progeny will be marketed; weaning, yearling/feeders, Quali1.What is the target? ty Grade-based grid, Yield-based grid, or others. Indexes like $Beef, What is the duty of the progeny that will be produced by the con $Wean and $Feedlot become very useful. A high growth, heavy muscled sidered bull? Charolais bull is often thought of as a terminal sire, but an Angus bull with re you producing replacement females, feeder cattle, carcasses, a high Marbling EPD and low FOE EPD may also be used as a terminal or all of the above? sire. 2. What is your cowherd genetics? 3). Maternal – If a bull is to be used to produce replacement heifers, espeWhat is your cows’ genetic ability to produce your “target product”, cially when sexed-semen is to be used, selection priority should be placed and thus what are their deficiencies that must be met by the sire of on daughter’s mature weight, heifer pregnancy, scrotal circumference, their progeny? (mature size, milk level, fertility, etc.) milk, docility and other traits important to commercial cow/calf managers. 3. What is the environment that the bull’s progeny will be “working in”? 4). Many other special Job Descriptions can be created; Low MainteIf heifers, is the ranch in a tropical/temperate area, is the nutrition nance, Balanced Trait… level high, are there special nutritional or health challenges, are Special Note on Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences there other requirements? Expected Progeny Differences have been calculated since the early 1970s If stockers, will fescue be in the grazing program? and are still the best genetic prediction method of the performance of an 4. What breed should be used if in a commercial system? animal’s offspring. These genetic predictors have been calculated using To select a bull for a given situation, consider these suggestions; 1. Develop a list of criteria that a bull must meet to be “hired” for your “job”. three types of data; the animal’s own performance (performance), the performance of related animals (pedigree) and the performance of the Said differently, develop a Job Description for your bulls. 2. Find bulls in the appropriate Sire Summary that fit your Job Description, animal’s offspring (progeny). The EPD for a trait is associated with an then search for the appropriate pedigree (semen of those bulls or progeny accuracy value, which increases as more data are collected and used in the EPD generation. Logically, as an animal ages and is used more as a of those bulls). sire, there are more data to include in the EPD generation, and the accu3. Find a producer who not only has the genetics you desire, but uses a similar management system to yours, and in an environment in which you racy is improved, making the EPD a more reliable predictor of future progeny’s performance for that trait (examples; weaning weight, marbling manage cattle. 4. Find breeders/bull producers who are likely to be in business for a long score, docility). A major challenge incurred by cattlemen is that accuracy is low for many traits for young bulls, and the vast majority of bulls being time, not a short-term hobby producer, thus they can continue being a purchased are less than two years of age. During the last decade, signifisource of the appropriate genetics to meet your herd’s needs. cant progress has been made in mapping the cattle genome and using Importance of Sire Selection tissue samples to determine the genomic value of individual animals. There has always been a difference in the goals of the geneticists and the These data are now being used to increase the accuracy of the EPDs for goals of the rancher. The bottom line difference is geneticists want to young animals. We now have GE-EPDs or Genomic-Enhanced Expected measure genetic change, and ranchers want to meet a desired level of Progeny Differences. The use of these genetic predictors are the same as profitability while sustaining the ranch over generations. However, the they have always been, but they are now more powerful, more reliable, rancher must make genetic changes to meet the ever-changing DEMAND higher accuracy. goals of the consuming world. Having said that, genetic evaluation and Closing Comments change is best done in a commercial herd through sire selection. Since most ranches produce their own replacement females, and require a high Sire selection is very important, and is not something that should be done without great input, thought, and consideration. Start early, have a system, percentage of their heifers to be kept each year, the selection pressure applied to the female population is much lower than the selection pressure and do not be influenced by short-term fads. Know your cow herd, your market, your management environment, and your bull needs. Find a reliawe use when buying bulls. Said in another way, many less than average heifers must be kept past weaning in order to create enough replacement ble source of bulls, select the bulls with the genetics you need, and visualcows. Since a small number of bulls will provide the majority of the genetic ly select your purchase from that list. Buying bulls can still be fun, but it takes time, effort and knowledge to utilize all available data to make the potential in a herd over a decade, there is likely no more important decioptimal selection for your needs. sion made by a commercial cattlemen than which bulls to use as sires. Genetic change is a permanent change to cattle produced. Sire selection *** Retired UF Professor of Animal Science has a long-term impact, good and bad. A bull that is used for four years will have daughters in the herd for at least a decade, and subsequent *** Retired Dean and Professor, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College generations of offspring for up to twenty five years. Sire selection, bull buying, semen choices...long term investment in the profitability of the cow herd.
Reflections of a middle aged bull buyer
Can we still have fun with visual appraisal?
At least ten years ago I was with a ranching family selecting bulls when the statement was made “I wish it was still fun to go to sales and purebred farms to pick bulls. There is more information than I can utilize now.” This person was joking, but somewhat serious about the amount of data available in today’s industry. Twenty five years ago most ranchers just wanted to select bulls that produced more weight at weaning, and they used adjusted weaning weight and visual evaluation to make their selections. Now we must consider calving traits, maternal traits, growth traits, carcass traits, feed efficiency traits, cow efficiency traits, reproductive traits, and the list continues. We have many economic indexes such as $Beef, and genomic enhanced expected progeny differences that are highly accurate in predicting the performance of future progeny of a given bull. Most traits of economic importance cannot be evaluated by visually evaluating a live bull between the ages of 12 and 24 months. However, it is still necessary that visual appraisal be a part of the selection process when buying bulls.
Published on Jan 22, 2017
Published on Jan 22, 2017
British Columbia Hereford Association breeders hosts the 2017 Bonanza and Hereford Week in Canada, July 17-21 in Abbotsford BC.