Small Beef Cattle Farm



 Beef Cattle Bull Selection

      Optimum beef cattle bull selection is very critical for the health and productivity of the herd. It is very important to select bulls carefully, since they are going to contribute their genes to future calves and affect the quality of cattle for many years. When selecting bulls their genes are given the prime important.

        Physical appearance of a bull can signify its inner strength. But they cannot be the sole indicators, and can be deceiving at times. Appearance depends on climatic environment and diet. It also depends on infections, parasites and insects. Physical traits can be the first sign of health. Some purebred beef cattle associations’ provide EPD records that can be consulted to check genetic traits of different bulls.

     Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) or genetic evaluation of bull takes into consideration the quality and performance of his sire, dam, grandsire, granddam, herd mates and sibs. The owner of the herd must be aware of his herd’s weaknesses and strengths. He must be clear what qualities should the bull add to his herd and calves. Herd owner can choose from any of three categories: maternal bulls for use on heifers, maternal bulls for use on cows or terminal bulls for use on cows. Traits considered based upon function are weaning weight, milk, birth weight, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, calving ease, total maternal, yearling weight, carcass quality and percent protein.

     Fertility of bulls must be checked by testing semen, measuring scrotal and physically examining the reproductive tract before beef cattle bull selection. Reproductive tract of bulls can be checked by examining the rectum of the bull’s prostate, seminal vesicles, ampullae and internal inguinal rings for any signs of diseases like hernia. Penis must elongate straight, with no deviation and testes must be firm but not hard. Sex drive or libido can also be checked.

     Younger bulls can be a better choice for beef cattle bull selection. Not only do they cost less, but are also stronger and better-quality. They may not be able to pass semen test at first attempt and must be rechecked after some time. Physical defects like bad feet, pigeon toes, straight hocks and loose sheaths must also not be ignored. Calves can inherit these faults and conditions may worsen. Check their feet, legs, backbone, elbow, shoulder bone, hip bones and pin bones. Bull must have a balanced and comfortable walk. They must not have any difficulty while walking and standing square. Short-strided or long-strided bulls must be ignored. More leveled backbone is better. Use ultrasound measurements to gauge muscling in bulls. Beef cattle bull selection is a very careful job. It not only affects the quality of the herd but also determines the future of the herd for many years. It involves lots of money and effort on the part of the owner.



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