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Author Topic: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire  (Read 5769 times)

Offline cek9k5

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Hi everyone!  This is my first post and I'm fairly new to actually OWNING cattle, though I have a masters in Animal Science and learned plenty about them while in college (I'll be the first to acknowledge that there's a big difference between owning cattle/running a successful operation and learning about them in an idealized setting).  Hoping I don't get too many eye rolls with my first post  ;)

I have a whopping two cows, one is a jersey x hereford cross and the other is a blue roan shorthorn cross.  Neither are first calf heifers, and despite knowing that I should probably sell the jersey x hereford cross it's just not going to happen...she's the "pet cow" that people have but frequently don't admit to  ;D  I have gotten two calves out of the jersey x hereford, one was by a jersey bull (bought her bred) and produced a very jersey looking bull (steer) calf that never amounted to much...slow to gain and didn't stick around much past weaning.  The second calf from this cow was sired by the neighbor's fence jumping commercial bull and I was rather happy with how he turned out.  The blue roan shorthorn x is a new acquisition and used to be a recip cow for a Wagyu operation.  They had a young Wagyu bull breed her before they got another embryo into her and so down the road she went.  She's due in December, so we'll see what she produces...she's raised some nice calves for the ET program so she's got the calving/mothering thing down at least. 

I'm looking at doing fixed time AI in the spring with these two ladies and have been objectively tearing their conformation apart (utilizing this resource as a guide: https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/MP-398.pdf ) and trying to find bulls that would compliment them, but the problem I'm running into is that the majority of the bulls in the AI catalogs have so much stinking hair that you can't SEE what the bull actually LOOKS like in a lot of cases (I've been looking predominantly at shorthorn bulls as I'm a big fan of roan).  I understand the concept of EPDs but quite frankly they're not the #1 thing I'm looking at...conformation is.  I want to produce a structurally correct calf, or at least an improvement of its mother, that has the potential to be kept back as a replacement heifer, is docile, gains well with the potential for great carcass characteristics, and is an "easy keeper"...I don't want to have to pour the feed to a cow in order to keep her maintaining her BCS while nursing a calf.  I don't ever see myself getting into this on a large scale, I will probably top out at 5 cows, but I do want to produce a quality commercial calf and I want to do things "right". 

Now that I've rambled on and given some background information, here are my questions.

1. What sire(s) would you suggest for these two cows?  I'm open to suggestions from any breed, but would rather not produce a solid black calf...I like some color...and they must be free of genetic defects.

2. How do you accurately judge conformation on a bull when they've got 6" of hair?!

3. Would you test these two cows for TH, PHA, DS and Myostatin?

3. A little bit off topic maybe but another question I have.  In horses the roan pattern is linked to the red/black extension and you can generally predict offspring color based on that linkage (second paragraph from the bottom on this page has a little more info on that: https://colorgenetics.info/general/genetic-linkage ).  Is roan linked in cattle? 


Thank you in advance for the input.  I've been lurking for several days now, reading up as much as I can.  Lots of good information on this forum with a whole lot of experience.  I'm looking forward to tapping into this knowledge base and using it to my advantage  :)

Offline Weezie

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 12:44:45 PM »
Glad to see you are trying your hand at your cattle. There is a lot to unravel here but I think you should start with some questions that can lead you in the right direction. First off what market are you trying to target? Are you wanting to raise commercial cattle and sell as feeder calves? Are you wanting to feed out your own cattle and sell locker beef? What is your goal you are trying to reach in other words? Do you want to sell breeding stock? Or Do you just want to have cattle around and breed them? I feel like this a fundamental question you have to answer in order to move forward.

After you figure out what kind of cattle you want to make you need to assess your market. What kind of cattle do well where I'm located? For instance, in some markets you receive less money for feeders if they aren't black.

Before you start breeding you have to your business plan figured out. That will lead you to what bulls to use.

As far as knowing what to breed to your two cows I can't really provide to much of a suggestion. I don't know what your cows look like and what your goals are.

In assessing bulls there are a lot of nuances and details and it's tough to judge by a photo. I research genetics and off spring a lot in determining what bulls to use. Pick out which bulls you like and see what their progeny look like and see if thats the kind of cattle you want to produce. That's a very overly simplistic answer but I think it's a good way to start.

Honestly I wouldn't wast the money to test your cows for genetic defects. You are going to use clean bulls so I wouldn't worry about testing them.

As far as color patterns are concerned there are some really good threads on here that explain the science behind color possibilities.

I hope this answers some of your questions and gets you thinking about some ideas and how to narrow in on key details.

Offline cek9k5

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 01:26:52 PM »
Thank you for the response Weezie!

To be blunt about it, I just want to have cattle around and breed them.  Not indiscriminately in a puppy-mill sense, but with some intention behind it, and because I enjoy doing it.  I enjoy having the cows, I enjoy baby calves, and while I haven't had any heifer calves at all yet, I think it would be gratifying to raise up replacement heifers and eventually have multiple generations that I've bred myself.  Since I'm doing this on a small scale and mostly as a hobby, I'll be selling feeder calves to private individuals and probably not taking them to the sale barn, nor feeding them out myself for locker beef.  I'm going to be the black sheep by saying this, but I am not overly concerned with what the market wants, I want to produce what *I* want, as I'm the one caring for the cows and I'm the one that has to see/deal with them daily.  Of course I want to be able to sell what I don't want to keep back as a replacement heifer or one for the freezer, but if I receive less money for a feeder calf because it's not black I can live with that.   

What I want out of a cow:
1. Good temperament...docile, easy to work, easy to get along with.  The two cows I have now are halter broke and I can walk up to them in the pasture and vaccinate or deworm them without a fuss.  I don't need to run them through a chute, and I don't need 8' tall pipe fencing to keep them in.

2. Good conformation/longevity.  I don't want foot problems, I don't want udder problems, I want a nice moderately framed easy keeper/easy calver that will be producing into her teens.  I want a level topline and a nice deep body.       

3. I want them producing calves that have a reasonable weaning weight and rate of gain and I want them to have plenty of milk to give the calf.  I don't want to be selling scrawny little calves at weaning. 

4. Color.  I realize that this isn't a selling point (aside from black hided cattle anyway) but it's what *I* want.  I want something flashy, roan or brindle with some white markings(my jersey x hereford cow is brindle).  I know I won't get color every time, but if I choose a homozygous black bull will no white on him to breed to my cows, it'll lessen my odds of something colorful popping out.  I've got a pretty decent sized cattle farm surrounding me on three sides, and all they run is black hided cows...lots of them.  Nothing wrong with that, but when I look into my own pasture I want something that catches my eye.   


I hope this narrows things down a bit. 

 

Offline shortybreeder

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 05:25:43 PM »
I'll be honest, I kinda breezed through this, but by looking at your goals, I'd say if the bulls you're looking at have 6 inches of hair then they aren't the bulls that will do what you want in terms of being easy fleshing with no problems (but will probably make them look good). Plenty of good shorthorn bulls out there that will do what you want though, I'd say take a look through the CattleVisions shorthorn catalog if you haven't. There are lots of bulls in there that don't have fluffy yearling pictures.

Simple answer to the roan question:
White gene plus black gene probably yields blue roan (sometimes just a black and white spotted calf)
White gene plus red gene probably yields red roan (also could be spotted). That being said, if you breed your blue roan to a red roan bull: roughly 50% chance roan (or solid with white markings), 25% chance white, 25% chance black

Offline Weezie

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2019, 03:17:25 PM »
I'd lean to using a White bull if you find one you like and then a Roan bull. Suggestions I have based on what you seem to be looking for would be some of the following:

White: HP Manimal (Cattle Visions), Ghost Rider (Cattle Visions or SEK Genetics), TM Gus (Cattle Visions and SEK Genetics), White Jazz (SEK Genetics)
    I'd probably lean to Manimal or White Jazz. Both are moderate and have calving ease and low bw in their genetics.

Roan: Jake's Proud Jazz (SEK Genetics), Jake's Sultan of Jazz (SEK Genetics), Wymore Elbee Leader 321N (SEK Genetics), Mitch's Eagle Eye (Cattle Visions),  Leveldale North Face (Cattle Visions)
    I'd probably lean towards Jake's Proud Jazz or Sultan of Jazz. Jazz genetics will give you moderate size

These bulls are all relatively easy to get semen on and aren't very expensive. Was there any bulls in particular that you were looking at?


Offline cek9k5

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2019, 01:50:12 PM »
Thanks to you both for your help! 

Weezie, are any of the bulls that you have listed out known for producing docile offspring (that you know of offhand)?  Think I'm going to be doing some searches for these boys the next time I get the chance  O0

Offline KKshowcattle

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 03:53:14 PM »
One of your biggest concerns (and rightfully so) is longevity and structure. While that guide is undoubtable useful, in practice it is a lot harder to apply what you see and read in that guide to live animals. Since confirmation and longevity is one of your main points of focus, I would try to learn how to be able to break down a live animal's structure in person as good as you can. Go to breeding stock shows, find an experienced and seasoned cattlemen and go through their herd and let him(or her) show you how they evaluate confirmation and udder quality. This will also help with evaluation of pictures of animals. I would also like to say that structure is the hardest things to change in the next generation for any type of livestock and a good foundation is a must have. Without seeing them I hope that your two cows are a good start. And even when breeding two seemingly sound individuals together you may still end up with one that's unsound.
One last thing having cows that you can tie up and vaccination etc is really nice and makes it easy. But having to run cattle through a chute is safer for you and the animal and not to mention the calves(no matter how docile they are) are probably not going to like get poked by a needle lol.
Good luck!


Offline ROMAX

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2019, 04:57:07 PM »
Walks Alone will stouten anything up.
DIRTY COWS NEED LOVE TOO!

Offline CAB

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2019, 09:48:01 AM »
If you want good dispositions and cows that will milk, I'd leave Walks Alone out of the equation for sure. JMO
Of the white SH bulls listed, I like TM Gus. I've seen him and have always liked him. The Jazz SH cattle that I have been around don't seem to have enough grow to them although they are popular. Again just my 2 cents worth.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 09:50:27 AM by CAB »

Offline Weezie

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 08:19:33 PM »
I've never seen to many issues with disposition in regards to Jazz offspring. CAB is right, the Jazz lines aren't going to blow you away with growth. That said, the line breeding of Jazz influenced bulls makes their offspring pretty consistent.  Considering the criteria you've set for us I'd say the suggested bulls should fit the bill.

Offline -XBAR-

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2019, 09:10:12 PM »
What notable jazz influenced bulls are linebred?   I know of none...

Offline mark tenenbaum

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2019, 11:31:48 PM »
Linebred? check out Ferrer or David Dlllabo  O0

Offline -XBAR-

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2019, 09:33:16 AM »
Linebred? check out Ferrer or David Dlllabo  O0

Yea I guess I wasnt considering the clubby bred cattle in the context of what the OP was looking for.

Offline mark tenenbaum

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2019, 08:30:48 PM »
David Dillabo"s cattle arent clubby at all  O0

Offline -XBAR-

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Re: Judging conformation of AI bulls and selecting an appropriate sire
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2019, 08:30:06 PM »
Show me a double bred jazz thats not clubby. Ill wait.

 

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