Greetings from the gorgeous September days of the Eastern Front! Weaning season is in full swing, which fills every spare minute not taken by 2nd hay cutting, irrigation, and harvesting the gardens. Steers came in first this year as they were on the grass hardening off the fastest, and gains were stalling. By getting a weight at weaning, we are able to calculate and plan for exactly how much growth they need to make our contract which takes all uncertainties out of any summer and just turns it into math. Some secondary benefits: we get to see how our commercial calves perform on an aggressive feeding program. We get to see their health platform and what percentage of pulls from sickness we sustain year to year. And we watch sire groups and styles of calves and notice how each responds to post weaning feedlot conditions. Always learning . . .
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Front Range: “I’m sorry – I know it’s been tough lately. But please don’t leave. I don’t want you to leave.”
Us: “You’ve been trying to kill us for 5 weeks . . . ”
Front Range: “I know! I know . . .but that’s just – that’s just the jet stream, you know? it gets in my head . . . makes me act crazy. You Gotta give me another chance . . . it’ll get better! You’ll see . . . . you’ll see.”
Ever wonder what it takes to create all those videos of bulls that you watch before Bull Sale Season? It certainly looks simple enough. Until you try to make one that doesn’t seem as though very young children were in charge . . .
Step One: arrange for bulls to be clipped, groomed, cleaned
Step Two: juggle the realities of weather, filming conditions, and whether or not the synchronized heifers are all calving
Step Three: set up a pen with a pleasant backdrop (preferably not manure piles, retired machinery, or a rotten fence through which bulls will exit)
Step Four: choose a team who enjoys the work, has a better than average patience range, and has nothing else pressing to do, as this process CANNOT be hurried
Step Five: trudge quietly behind bulls until they manage one or two walking passes the length of the filming pen (rule of thumb is acquire 3 to 5 [ … ]
We run our performance test on the bulls for 4 consecutive months, weighed every 4 weeks. This allows for a wide range of environmental conditions, sorts out anomalies, and blends in the compensatory gain of the first few weeks. We also try to spread out the processing events since we have to run them through the chute for weight. This time, we took an ear notch for BVD PI testing, poured for lice, and trimmed sheath hair. The long, twisted hairs below the sheath are often dirty and matted, which can cause irritation and even exacerbate warts. We have had much better breeding soundness evaluations since we began this maintenance step.
The group is at an average weight of 844 pounds, and has gained 4.3 pounds daily since weaning. We really can see their rumen development during this first month. The high fibre ration keeps the factory steaming along!
Obviously a whirlwind since Bull Sale . . . . or maybe sitting down at the desk has just been second in line to more outdoor realities. This morning was the wrap up of the second synchronization group of just over 100 head. Was a gorgeous morning: still and sweet after the bluster and wet of last night. We are greening up! Guess Spring has decided to come after all.
Today a rancher called with an excellent question about how our performance numbers on the bulls relate to each other. It merits some explanation. The three measurements of performance that we include in our catalog are 205 Day Adjusted Weight, Average Daily Gain, and Weight Per Day of Age.
205 Day Adjusted Weight is calculated by American Simmental Association, based on the weaning weight we submit for each animal. They adjust to exactly 205 days, and also make an adjustment based on the age of the dam.
Average Daily Gain (ADG) is calculated by us, based only on the performance of the bulls while on feed test. They are weighed every 4 weeks for 16 weeks.
Weight Per Day of Age (WDA) is calculated by us, based on the bulls’ weight at time of ultrasound, which is usually mid to late January. It reflects their average gain over their entire life up to [ … ]
For our purposes, we prioritize this process before the bull sale in order to identify individuals who are unsatisfactory for successfully completing a breeding season-this involves a lot more than simply determining sterility.
First, an overall physical assessment for soundness is made. Then, testicles are measured as a correlative to fertility and maturity and examined for consistency, uniformity and the presence of any abnormalities. We also really want to make sure there are two . . .
Next, the penis is examined for a normal extension, for warts (which are prone to vascular bleeding and interfere with fertility) and for the presence of a persistent frenulum or “tie” which occasionally results when the penis and prepuce did not separate completely. This presents a physical impediment to extension and must be surgically addressed. Finally, a semen sample is examined for motility (movement and activity) and morphology (form, structure and maturity). Since semen production [ … ]