Selecting bulls for heifers yields more profit
Selecting the right bull for first calf heifers can be just as important as getting the heifers bred at the beginning of the breeding season, according to Larry Rowden, district sales manager with ABS Global, Inc.
When selecting a heifer bull, look for one with proven calving ease, Rowden said.
“Use sires that have proven themselves to sire a smaller than average calf to reduce or eliminate calving difficulties and help that heifer get off to a good start in her reproductive life,” he said.
One way to determine if the bull has proven calving ease is by looking at the CED (Calving Ease Direct) EPD, which is based on the bull’s actual calving reports. The CED EPD will indicate if the heifers had any problems calving and will include birth weights of the calves born to a particular bull.
“In the Angus breed, a calving ease EPD of +8 or better indicates bulls that would rank in the top 25 percent for calving ease,” he said.
Rowden also encourages producers to look at the birth weight EPD of bulls they are considering using for heifers. Producers can also look at birth weight accuracy, which should be 0.8 or higher. At 0.8, a bull has sired at least a couple hundred calves, Rowden said.
“I would also encourage ranchers to ask other ranchers their opinions on a bull, and not be afraid to ask for references from people who have used the bull,” he said.
Rowden added that ranchers may also want to select sires with the genetics that will create more demand for the cattle they produce and sires that have proven they will help accomplish the goals a rancher has for his breeding program.