Sunday, March 28, 2010

Which Bull to Which Cow?

It is that time of year when we are all trying to pick that perfect bull that will complement our cows perfectly and move our genetics one stop closer to where we want to be.

I think the biggest mistake most breeders make when selecting bulls, is focusing too much on a single trait.  This trait could be growth, maybe milk, or as in the club calf industry, muscle.  By selecting for this one trait, you may make improvements there, but you may also be setting your herd back years in other areas.  Your goals you defined did not consist of one thing, so neither should your selection process.

So how do I do it at ZNT?  How do we consistently produce great calves with such small numbers?  First, I identify every weakness and strength for each cow.  Then I look for bulls that have the genetics to improve the weaknesses, yet still have solid genetics to maintain the cows strengths.  Lastly, I do not believe in extremes when it comes to any one trait.  Everything can be overdone.  If I have a small made cow that is loaded with muscle, I am going to look for a bull that will add size, and maybe milk and moderate birth weight.

Proven vs. unproven sires.  Each has their own place.  I like using proven sires and their proven results, but sometimes it is hard to move forward when you are looking back.  That being said, I will not use an unproven sire with no proven genetics to back him up.  Of course the unproven sire has to be phenotypically right, but he must also have the genetics behind him (proven sires and dams) that meets the goals of my herd.  And yes, that is GOALS with an "S".

Good luck everyone this breeding season.

Decision Time

Every decision made in a cattle operation is important, but one decision is bigger than any other in determining the success of your operation: "Define Your Goals". This is not just a decision that someone new to the cattle business needs to do either. It can be done at any point in the life of your business.

If you don't know where you want to go, how will you ever know what you need to do to get there? The goals can range from; a certain breed of cattle, between commercial, show, dairy, or breeding cattle, red, white, black, or rainbow colored cattle, or more specific low birth weight Angus cattle that can wean 600 lbs. steer in the mountains of Wyoming. I will say that the more specific your goals are defined, the better the daily decision making process will become. Also, as your cattle operation evolves, the goals you have set need to be evaluated and revised if necessary. Some goals may be too aggressive, some not challenging enough, and some may not be able to be accomplished with the current resources available, be it pasture available, time, or in some cases financially.

Once your goals are defined, then you can begin making decision on which cow to buy, which replacement heifers to keep, or which bulls to breed your cows too. It may even mean which cows to cull. Some people have been so drastic as to completely sell out, and start over. None of these choices can be accurately made without GOALS.

Gotcha' thinking now!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Picture Day at ZNT Cattle Co

Spring time is almost upon us, and the mud has mostly cleared up, so that made today a perfect day to get pictures of some of our cattle here at ZNT Cattle Co. First up was Montego Bay, our Tyson promotion sire out of our ZNT Jenna 707T heifer. He is 8 1/2 months old in this picture. New video can be found on Montego Bay's page.

Second up was ZNT American Hope. She is a Hardcore daughter out of our CTR Sweet Success 2 donor cow. She was born on September 11, 2009. This maintainer heifer is going to be very competitive this coming fall.

Lastly, we have a yearling bull we just put up on our For Sale page. He is an April 2009 5/8 Maine bull sired by ZNT Triple X. He is low birthweight bull raised by the Kaz Family.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Interview Featuring ZNT Cattle Co.

While we had our cattle at the Ft. Worth Stock Show, a team of TCU Journalism students came by doing interview with exhibitors.  The interviews were for a documentary they were entering in the FOX College Challenge.  The video not only contains video of my family and other exhibitors, but also some statistics on beef industry trends.

I want to wish the young ladies from TCU the best of luck in their competition!