We went on a cowboy vacation recently, also known as an overnight trip to a bull sale. Ranchers have varying opinions about bulls. In my opinion they are an important investment, a way to improve our cattle herd with better genetics. We have a budget, but try to buy the best bulls we can afford.
This year we needed new heifer bulls. This term confuses a lot of people. Heifers are young female cattle, and to ease their first birth experience we provide a bull that will produce a smaller calf. The heifer will recover faster and the calf will be more alert and responsive, usually jumping right up to nurse. While first calf heifers are monitored closely they will require less assistance during the birth process.
We have purchased bulls from Redland Black Angus in the past and they have worked well for us. We had spent several weeks studying the sale catalog and watching the video of the bulls. We had decided on the blood line we preferred and marked about 20 bulls that were all sired by the same herd bull with mothers who were closely related in order to produce a consistent set of calves.
We arrived at Buffalo Livestock fairly early, while it was still quiet. We went through each pen of bulls and agreed we liked the bulls we had marked in the catalog. We admired the bulls that would sell at a price we could not afford. We looked at the “new blood” that will be more predominant in Redland’s program in the next few years. And we enjoyed the fabulous smoked brisket lunch that the Johnson County CattleWomen always provide – what amazing cooks!
Auctioneer Joe Goggins is a fast talker. He sold 100 bulls in one hour and 5 minutes. People came to buy bulls, and they bid exuberantly on what they liked. We now own three new heifer bulls. Not the three we had hoped for, but close and in our budget. Now we are looking forward to next spring when we will see the first offspring – it takes time to see the results of the investment.
From RealRancher Carla Crofts, Armada Ranches, LLC – Lander, Wyo.