CUSTOMIZING BULLS TO MEET COMMERCIAL NEEDS IS THE GOAL
by: Clifford Mitchell
Flashy advertising campaigns with catchy jingles or supermodels might draw attention and create name recognition. Regardless of name, if customer satisfaction is not accomplished, repeat business will not be achieved. Words and statistics do not build a reputation, but creating products that meet consumer demand will.
A seedstock producer’s reputation comes with patience and many intangibles. Building bulls that meet the needs of commercial customers is the ultimate goal. Sound, functional cattle that can go out and service the cow herd take time to produce. Once the desired genetic package is in place, often times, to take the next step, bull development is labeled, “handle with care.”
Unlike mass producing an automobile, there is no controlled environment for bull development. Managing the ups and downs, plays a role in how bulls will be groomed to meet the needs of the commercial industry.
“We have to get bulls to what we call a “happy medium.” We want them in good shape. They have to be in condition to walk the pastures, not confined and getting fat,” says Ryan Carmichael, Manager Minerich Land & Cattle Co., Richmond, Kentucky. Minerich sells yearling and 18-month bulls during an annual spring bull sale.
“During the 30-plus years we have been marketing bulls, the only bad footed bulls I have had were bulls I had to send to the feedlot because of the drought,” says Rod Reynolds, Reynolds Limousin, Samford, Colorado. Reynolds markets both yearling and two-year-old bulls in March.
“My customers like bulls hard and ready to work. They come off wheat in good shape and don’t fall apart,” says Myron Garriott, Nine Mile Limousin, Canton, Oklahoma. Garriott markets all his bulls through private treaty sales.
One common thread Continental cattle seem to have is the benefit gained from increased exercise during the developmental stages. It seems the extra walking builds stoutness and do-ability bulls will need later in life.
“Our bulls get a lot of exercise. We run them on 80 acres of wheat and 30 acres of love grass during the winter months,” Garriott says. “They have to move back and forth to get to water. I don’t have to worry about my bulls going down hill when my customer gets them.”
“Bulls have to have plenty of room to travel. Exercise is one of the real important things we do when we develop the bulls,” Carmichael says. “We run bulls in a 40 acre trap. All bulls benefit from walking the pasture.”