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robert



Posts : 52
Join date : 2010-11-17
Age : 49
Location : oblivion, ny

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:14 pm

OAK LANE FARM wrote:
I wish Lorna Marshall would put an ABS meeting on in my vicinity. I haven't been invited since I told Keith Vander Schloot that I was going to breed all my cows to Shoshone Viking because I was pretty sure most of their bulls weren't Angus (Hoff era). I missed a good one in Kansas from what my freinds tell me. It seems there is some reason to "PROTECT" pretty much every bull in the line up. I am working on my conceptualizing as DV recomended and well, the concept of having bull that are so extreme or deficient in something that protection must be addressed in that manner speaks volumes. It sounds like commercial cattlemen and the seedstock producers who deserve their business should surely "Protect" themselves from those kinds of bulls and that kind of a company. I opened up the ABS sire directory and there was Myghty out of Focus front and center. I have never seen poorer Angus cattle in my life that those sired by that bull.

ABS don't need to go to ND, all the bulls they'll ever need there have the same prefix.......

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PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:25 pm

I found this little jewel from Dylan today.......pretty well sums up most everything for me, on disgruntled outliers for the Perpuation of Futuristic and Reflective views.......just thought it was worth reading and re-reading.

"The reason we started backgroung our bulls through the first winter and doing a pasture gain test on the grass was because from a maternal selection standpoint, since the cows must excell on forage, as RobertMac mentioned, to me, it just makes more sense to expose your future herd sires to the same regime in hopes of being able to identify and select those genetics best suited to make cows. To me it is about doing a better job of selecting stock more adapted to the working world of the cow, not the working world of the steer. For terminal genetics not so. Maternal genetic selection that emphasizes high energy rations has greater potential to miss the mark in terms if identifying the cattle with the most forage doability. In the end that is what the cow is all about. Converting poor quality forage into protien.

The interesting thing over the years of doing a performance test on grass is that we found quite early on that typically the bulls that did the best in the second summer on grass were the bulls that didn't do as well in the backgrounding period through the first winter. So if you were only selecting the top gaining bulls on the summer pasture gain test you were actually selecting for bulls that didn't do as well in the winter. I am not sure that that is a good thing. Here with the extended extreme cold winter potential, the most arduous job for the cow is to get through the winter on poor quality forage. The bulls that typically did the best in the winter did not do as well on pasture in the summer. So I have concluded that those few bulls that do well in both seasons are my preference. The winter backgrounding period is where you really identify the better doers. Just before spring is when we do a major cull. If you do that the growth differences in the summer on grass are, as was suggested, quite marginal. From a grass finishing standpoint BCS as compared to gain becomes more of a focus, in efforts to identify the cattle that will do a better job of finishing on grass. There is a difference between grassfed and grassfinished.

There are few free lunches, quick fixes or magic soluitons and in the end overall business/enterprise management is more crucial than genetics. That being said though, my experience continues to suggest that management is made easier with genetics that are selected for their overall adaptation and functionality within your management and environment.

Almost without fail over the years cattle that are brought into our system from elsewhere fair poorly, bulls and especially females.

Like RobertMac said "No doubt in my mind that excess grain covers or creates 'flaws'." and in addition such is the case for overall cowherd management practices.

Fertility, the ability of the cow to concieve is where it all begins. And so it would seem to follow especially for maternal breeds that selection pressure for fertility should be stringent. Yet if one goes looking and asking seedstock breeders about the lenght of their breeding season it would appear that selection for fertility is well down on the list of priortities. Few if any are less than 60 days, lots at 90 days plus and no shortage of 120.

So when you take typical purebred cow herd and bull developement feeding practices which are biased towards protecting the investment and combine that with selection for fertility that is dubious at best and then combine that with number focused multi trait selection priorities that can prove antagonistic to basic funtional maternal traits, it is no surprise that today's improved cattle are struggling to mesh with the day to day economic realtities of the commercial herds"
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 846
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:49 pm

Bootheel wrote:
I found this little jewel from Dylan today.......pretty well sums up most everything for me, on disgruntled outliers for the Perpuation of Futuristic and Reflective views.......just thought it was worth reading and re-reading.

"The reason we started backgroung our bulls through the first winter and doing a pasture gain test on the grass was because from a maternal selection standpoint, since the cows must excell on forage, as RobertMac mentioned, to me, it just makes more sense to expose your future herd sires to the same regime in hopes of being able to identify and select those genetics best suited to make cows. To me it is about doing a better job of selecting stock more adapted to the working world of the cow, not the working world of the steer. For terminal genetics not so. Maternal genetic selection that emphasizes high energy rations has greater potential to miss the mark in terms if identifying the cattle with the most forage doability. In the end that is what the cow is all about. Converting poor quality forage into protien.

The interesting thing over the years of doing a performance test on grass is that we found quite early on that typically the bulls that did the best in the second summer on grass were the bulls that didn't do as well in the backgrounding period through the first winter. So if you were only selecting the top gaining bulls on the summer pasture gain test you were actually selecting for bulls that didn't do as well in the winter. I am not sure that that is a good thing. Here with the extended extreme cold winter potential, the most arduous job for the cow is to get through the winter on poor quality forage. The bulls that typically did the best in the winter did not do as well on pasture in the summer. So I have concluded that those few bulls that do well in both seasons are my preference. The winter backgrounding period is where you really identify the better doers. Just before spring is when we do a major cull. If you do that the growth differences in the summer on grass are, as was suggested, quite marginal. From a grass finishing standpoint BCS as compared to gain becomes more of a focus, in efforts to identify the cattle that will do a better job of finishing on grass. There is a difference between grassfed and grassfinished.

There are few free lunches, quick fixes or magic soluitons and in the end overall business/enterprise management is more crucial than genetics. That being said though, my experience continues to suggest that management is made easier with genetics that are selected for their overall adaptation and functionality within your management and environment.

Almost without fail over the years cattle that are brought into our system from elsewhere fair poorly, bulls and especially females.

Like RobertMac said "No doubt in my mind that excess grain covers or creates 'flaws'." and in addition such is the case for overall cowherd management practices.

Fertility, the ability of the cow to concieve is where it all begins. And so it would seem to follow especially for maternal breeds that selection pressure for fertility should be stringent. Yet if one goes looking and asking seedstock breeders about the lenght of their breeding season it would appear that selection for fertility is well down on the list of priortities. Few if any are less than 60 days, lots at 90 days plus and no shortage of 120.

So when you take typical purebred cow herd and bull developement feeding practices which are biased towards protecting the investment and combine that with selection for fertility that is dubious at best and then combine that with number focused multi trait selection priorities that can prove antagonistic to basic funtional maternal traits, it is no surprise that today's improved cattle are struggling to mesh with the day to day economic realtities of the commercial herds"


Why are we even talking of performance testing bulls for growth rate in a maternal program? Isn't it irrelevent?
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Mean Spirit



Posts : 319
Join date : 2010-09-26

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:00 am

Grassfarmer, that's crazy talk. These are beef cattle, and feeding them something and figuring out which ones can eat the most of it is what people who rear beef cattle do.

Honestly, I'd really argue that some sort of gain test on forage is not so bad-- surely there's some correlation between appetite in bulls and easy fleshing in cows, I think. But you need to be able to find optimum, not maximum-- I think picking the best eaters out of a forage test as sires would have the same predictable results as picking the best eaters out of any other performance test-- bigger cattle.
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RobertMac



Posts : 377
Join date : 2010-09-28
Location : Mississippi, USA

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:56 pm

Dylan wrote:
The bulls that typically did the best in the winter did not do as well on pasture in the summer. So I have concluded that those few bulls that do well in both seasons are my preference.
I can't speak for Dylan, but I'm looking for the bulls that do well throughout their development. I see differences in late summer and fall when my forage turns to junk. Hopefully the ones that maintain condition have genetics and endocrine system better matched to my environment/management and will pass those traits on to their daughters.
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Dylan Biggs



Posts : 392
Join date : 2011-03-07

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:26 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
Bootheel wrote:
I found this little jewel from Dylan today.......pretty well sums up most everything for me, on disgruntled outliers for the Perpuation of Futuristic and Reflective views.......just thought it was worth reading and re-reading.

"The reason we started backgroung our bulls through the first winter and doing a pasture gain test on the grass was because from a maternal selection standpoint, since the cows must excell on forage, as RobertMac mentioned, to me, it just makes more sense to expose your future herd sires to the same regime in hopes of being able to identify and select those genetics best suited to make cows. To me it is about doing a better job of selecting stock more adapted to the working world of the cow, not the working world of the steer. For terminal genetics not so. Maternal genetic selection that emphasizes high energy rations has greater potential to miss the mark in terms if identifying the cattle with the most forage doability. In the end that is what the cow is all about. Converting poor quality forage into protien.

The interesting thing over the years of doing a performance test on grass is that we found quite early on that typically the bulls that did the best in the second summer on grass were the bulls that didn't do as well in the backgrounding period through the first winter. So if you were only selecting the top gaining bulls on the summer pasture gain test you were actually selecting for bulls that didn't do as well in the winter. I am not sure that that is a good thing. Here with the extended extreme cold winter potential, the most arduous job for the cow is to get through the winter on poor quality forage. The bulls that typically did the best in the winter did not do as well on pasture in the summer. So I have concluded that those few bulls that do well in both seasons are my preference. The winter backgrounding period is where you really identify the better doers. Just before spring is when we do a major cull. If you do that the growth differences in the summer on grass are, as was suggested, quite marginal. From a grass finishing standpoint BCS as compared to gain becomes more of a focus, in efforts to identify the cattle that will do a better job of finishing on grass. There is a difference between grassfed and grassfinished.

There are few free lunches, quick fixes or magic soluitons and in the end overall business/enterprise management is more crucial than genetics. That being said though, my experience continues to suggest that management is made easier with genetics that are selected for their overall adaptation and functionality within your management and environment.

Almost without fail over the years cattle that are brought into our system from elsewhere fair poorly, bulls and especially females.

Like RobertMac said "No doubt in my mind that excess grain covers or creates 'flaws'." and in addition such is the case for overall cowherd management practices.

Fertility, the ability of the cow to concieve is where it all begins. And so it would seem to follow especially for maternal breeds that selection pressure for fertility should be stringent. Yet if one goes looking and asking seedstock breeders about the lenght of their breeding season it would appear that selection for fertility is well down on the list of priortities. Few if any are less than 60 days, lots at 90 days plus and no shortage of 120.

So when you take typical purebred cow herd and bull developement feeding practices which are biased towards protecting the investment and combine that with selection for fertility that is dubious at best and then combine that with number focused multi trait selection priorities that can prove antagonistic to basic funtional maternal traits, it is no surprise that today's improved cattle are struggling to mesh with the day to day economic realtities of the commercial herds"


Why are we even talking of performance testing bulls for growth rate in a maternal program? Isn't it irrelevent?

GF, good question.

I am on the same page as RobertMac regarding my selection prefernces for developing bulls.

The cows functional reproductive ability is my primary focus. That being said I would not go so far as to say that performance is irrelavent. Performance for me needs to be demonstarted as the ability to display average to above average fleshing or BCS relative to the contemporaries through the winter backgrounding period. We have not selected our bulls on a ADG basis for many years now because of the reason Mean Spirit mentioned. You end up selecting fo more growth which I don't think we need more of. The value of our developement program to me, if that is a more palatable descriptor, is identifying those bulls in the first winter that don't maintain decent body condition relative to the group. These harder doing bulls will be culled. Then identifying the bulls on the grass that don't stall out in terms of BCS relative to the group. After 21 years of doing this observed differences over the second summer have dwindled to negligable. The bulls are selected as prospects first and foremost though based on the dam. We have quite a few 13 and 14 year old cows that have not missed a beat yet that have sons working as bulls.

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Grassfarmer



Posts : 846
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:26 am

Playing devils advocate Dylan - Winter feeding versus summer grazing - the ones that do best in winter may be poor foragers but excel when feed is being delivered to them. An "efficient" cow in our north country is generally recognised as one that builds up flesh and fat in summer, loses weight over winter but quickly regains it prior to successfully rebreeding the following summer. Isn't selecting against the cattle that carry less flesh in winter but have greatest compensatory gain in summer selecting against the type of cow perceived as "most efficient"?
Doesn't selecting for the bulls that maintain best condition throughout their lives whether on winter feed or summer grass risk selecting for daughters that look after themselves at the expense of production ie lower milking/weaning weights/fertility?

Whatever selection process we use based on any bull rearing program we choose to adopt - what is the predictability that the bulls we choose will sire daughters with the same characteristics?
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Dylan Biggs



Posts : 392
Join date : 2011-03-07

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Sun May 01, 2011 11:54 pm

Ian, let me explain our selection against the bull calves that fail to maintain BCS relative to their moderate fleshing contemporaries in context of cow herd productivity. Getting the cow rebred is top priority. Dick Diven presented quite convincing data to suggest that BCS at time of calving to be the most crucial management parameter. We use to think pre breeding flush, no longer.

Depending on a number of factors including calving schedule, growing season grass growth, and weaning schedule, associated costs of maintaining and or aquiring adequate BCS at calving will vary. If one were reasonably assured of green grass in the late spring early summer and one was prepared to calve from middle of June through to the first week of August then cows could rebreed at a 90 plus rate even hitting the grass at BCS 4(US scale). Here we have seen periods of two and three years with little to no rain and virtually no green grass during the grazing season. Spring of 2010 we had gone 24 months on the North end of the ranch with less than 5 inches of total precip, two years! So dry in 2009 that the crested wheat did not green up in the spring.
Thus the grazing season long term carrying capacity rated at 4 or 5 cows per quarter.
So over the 30 years that I have been experimenting with many possible combinations of weaning schedule and calving schedule with in our environmental reality we have come to a few firm conclusions.

We can count on severe drought, ie the safest bet.

Can count on severe and early prolonged winters, with virtually no natural shelter.

We can count on being in a position to buy feed as often as not.

Given those realities we have settled on a management approach and calving and weaning schedule that minimizes our risk as regards % non breds.

It essentially boils down to this be prepared to buy feed and don't let your cows get too thin because they may need to go entire coming grazing seasons with no green grass.

So in light of that, wean early, end of October, dont't fight the weather with calving, but don't count on green grass to regain lost winter BCS, so calve mid May through June. We have bred no longer than 48 days the last 26 years. So if cows come through the winter in 5 BCS even if it is a drought we know they can maintain BCS on drought reserve. And if they maintain and we wean the end of October cows can come into the winter the same BCS they came in to the spring, and so if we have good grass and extended grazing season conditions like this year until mid Jan or even if we don't and we have to start feeding mid Dec and even if it is bought feed we can minimize our feeding expense. In addition as you know winter feeding is the largest chunk of annual cow costs and as such it is imperative that our cows can do the most on the least, especially in light of the fact that at least half the time, more than that from 95 to 09, we are wintering almost entirely on purchased feed stocks.

So ability of our cows to optimally utilize cheap poor quality forage, dormant or harvested, in terms of maintaining BCS is of value to us.

This is why we cull the bull calves that don't fail to keep up to their condition relative to their contemporaries.

We have no extremely easy fleshing cows as our limited breeding season eliminated them.

In our environment poor foragers don't last.

Regarding your last question, instead of me giving my biased opinion I invite you out to come pay us a visit look at our herd and judge for yourself.

Hope this satisfies the Devil. Smile
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 846
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: ABS Traveling Road Show   Mon May 02, 2011 12:58 am

That is a very good explanation Dylan and highlights to me the huge differences between our places although they are all in the same province and not really that far apart. We can pretty much rely on good late spring/early summer moisture and grass here - even in our drought years we weren't challenged on the grass quantity/quality front until August - it was more a case of declining quality/quantity as the season progressed and the perpetual challenge of securing winter feed. We put bulls out July 10th, so in theory start calving April 20th although its usually around April 15 the first ones calve - we are 50% done now and we consistantly get these high rates of conception after flushing on early summer grass. We had 5 sets of twins in the first 70 calvings and only one of these was a Simmi x, the rest red Angus or Luing. May 20-July 10 is when we grow 70% of the years grass here so it works well to be flushing cows at this time.
Even in Scotland the talk was about bcs at calving being most important but I really believe here I can flush a cow on grass no matter how lean she is. I've had several twins this year where I lift one calf and just let the cow run - they look pretty tough on banked grass I can tell you but I have no qualms about them not being bred come summer. I know with sheep flushing was a cornerstone of our management where we deliberately pulled condition off fatter ewes prior to flushing - it was the quality of rise in condition that brought the best results not the absolute condition. I think that is the case with cows too under my conditions in Alberta but your conditions are obviously very different.
I look forward to getting out to the flat country and visiting you someday but I'm the worlds worst for talking that way then not finding the time Embarassed
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