Bull Buyer’s Bill of Rights

I. All data is accurately reported and is being used.

It is vital when you are buying bulls that you are able to accurately assess the genetic merit of the bulls being offered. Only if all data is reported will this occur. If only the best cattle are reported, then half of the best will ratio below 100, and will not reflect their true merit relative to the cow herd. Long term, it will affect the performance values of their dams and future calves. In addition, you should be able to expect that your supplier is using the data collected to make true genetic progress in their herd.

II. My bull supplier provides Expected Progeny Differences for comparative value.

Not only is it important for you to be able to compare the relative merit between bulls in an offering, through weights and ratios, it is important to be able to evaluate the merit of the bulls being offered compared to all bulls available. The only tool available to compare bulls from different programs and in various locations and environments, are EPDs. Data turned in by your bull supplier and others, is compared in their breed’s National Cattle Evaluation and EPDs are reported.

III.  My bull supplier is able to explain the meaning of the various EPD values and offers council in their use.

There are many EPD values being reported by many different breed associations. Your bull supplier should be able to explain the various EPDs, their meaning in your program and their merits. In many instances bigger is not always better. Many traits are antagonistic and you should be aware of the consequences. For example, Yearling Weight EPD and mature cow size are highly correlated, how big is too big in your program? Milking ability, especially if carried to the extreme, or if nutrition becomes a limiting factor, is highly antagonistic to reproductive performance.

IV. My bull supplier is aware of my program and goals and is willing to assist in selection of bulls that fit my goals.

Part of the bond and trust between buyer and seller is the sharing of goals and information that becomes a two way street. Your producer should be attuned to your needs and assist you in selecting bulls to meet those goals. They raised the bulls you are buying, and in many cases, their dams and grand dams. They can identify the bulls with the complementary traits you seek, and keep you from getting into wrecks when working with multiple antagonistic traits, better than anyone else.

V. My bull supplier is using all applicable technology to help accomplish my goals.

There are many tools available today to assist you in accomplishing your goals. Ultrasound technology is useful in evaluating carcass traits, diagnosing pregnancy status and sexing pregnancies. Feed efficiency is being measured and tested, if you are using this in your operations. DNA technology is becoming more and more useful as additional markers are identified.

VI. My bull supplier is industry current.

Your bull supplier should be aware of the industry, trends in supply and demand, and market forces at work shaping long term trends. They should be aware of the technology available and adapt the useful tools when the cost and return justify the investment. In other words, when the amount of meaningful information and data produced by the technology and its value equals the cost, they should invest in the technology.

VII. My bull supplier develops his bulls with their longevity in mind.

Your bull supplier should provide an environment and plane of nutrition that allows the bulls to express their genetic differences for growth, while providing them with adequate exercise. The bulls should be well developed while maintaining their athleticism and cleanliness of joints.

VIII. My Bull Supplier has a comprehensive heard health program.

The health of your bull begins with the health of the cowherd. From a regular de-worming program to a preventative vaccination program, your bull provider should maintain good herd health. You should be assured that your bull purchase will not introduce disease into your program.

IX. My bull supplier stands behind his bull in case of product failure.

No bull supplier ever plans to have a bull he sells go bad. But as sure as death and taxes, some bulls will fail. Your supplier should recognize this fact and assist you in rectifying the problem.

X. My bull supplier is breeding cattle that fit my long term goals.

You should examine your long term goals. You should examine the long term goals of your supplier and be comfortable that you can build a long term bond and trust with that supplier as you continue to develop your program.

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