It was another full week here at the E BAR U Ranch, from turning out bulls to finishing up branding. The decision of when and what bulls get turned out to the cows can make or break an operation. Bulls are turned out in a certain manner so that the operation will be calving during their desired window, as well as staggering the heifers and cows so they are not all calving at the same time. Along with when bulls are turned out, it is very important to determine which bulls get turned out. This is determined by referencing the EPD’s (Expected Progeny Difference) of the individual bulls so that they fit the goals of the operation. EPD’s are scored off of a base number, for example a bull with a lower birth weight EPD such as a .3 means they would make a good bull to put on heifers because their expected birth weight would be .3 pounds higher then the base calf weight at birth. Contrast that to a bull with a 6 birth weight EPD he would make a better cow bull because he is expected to produce calves that weigh 6 pounds above the base calving weight. Along with birth weight, EPD’s consist of other factors that include weaning weight, yearling weight, milk and many more.
As summer quickly approaches we are just wrapping up our tail end of the branding season. Here at the E BAR U heifers get branded differently than steers, also steers get an ear tag while heifers do not. The reasoning for this is better and easier identification of sale animals and easier marketing of cattle. The heifers receive the brand of a cow because that allows for the replacement heifers to be chosen and kept without adding another brand. One other very interesting thing about the E BAR U is that bull calves are banded at birth so they do not have to be castrated during branding. This has proven to save time as well decrease stress on the bull calves.