Last month was the annual bull sale for the Black Angus breeders that we usually buy our bulls from. In fact, we’ve been buying bulls at the North Country Performance to Profit, Better Beef Bulls sale for almost 30 years!
Why would we use the same breeder for that many years? Because when you find something that works, you keep doing it.
Year after year, the bulls we bring home to our herd tick all the boxes.
•They’re gentle and easy to handle.
•They thrive in our harsh weather conditions.
•They cover the herd consistently. (which means most of our cows get bred)
•They make calving easy…. when we choose a low birth weight genetic on the bull, it transfers to the calf. Our cows calve easily, and we get a a higher calving percentage
•Our cattle buyer likes our calves, the genetics behind them, and knows what to expect– in fact, they often bring a premium.
•The service we get from the breeders is unparalleled. On the rare occasion we’ve had trouble with a bull, it’s been handled quickly & completely.
All of that translates to healthy calves, a healthy bottom line for our operation, and healthy beef for the US food supply.
Speaking of beef, I learned something new this year. I’d always wondered what the shaved marks on the backs of the bulls were, but just never bothered to ask.
What’s carcass data?
It’s one of the tools we use to determine which bull to purchase.
Carcass data is listed in the sales flyer with each bull, and gives us an idea what kind of beef the sons and daughters of each bull might produce.
For instance, if the rib eye in the bull is measured at 14, then there’s a good chance his progeny will produce rib eyes about the same size.
Why does that matter? Because no one wants a teeny tiny steak on their plate!
There’s lots of other data on each bull that we use to make our choice on sale day as well.
And yes, aesthetics play a part as well. Because well,… just look at that handsome face!
For starters, it’s one of the few days I get to spend the better part of the day off the farm with the Farmer.
That means we get to have real conversations.
Granted, it’s about all the same stuff we talk about at home: the kids, farming, the kids, cows, equipment and the kids.
But for the 3 hours of drive time, it’s uninterrupted (well, except for the cell phones) and usually really productive. We can plan an entire growing season in those trips!
Mostly though, the day is about our love for what we do.
It’s about the knowledge that the decisions we make that day will help perpetuate our agriculture heritage for our kids.
It’s about visiting with friends we might not have seen all winter over a roast beef dinner served before the sale.
And it’s about a friendly bidding competition for a good bull, set to the rhythmic song of the auctioneer.
Maybe it’s because it only comes around once a year..a special occasion like Christmas, or maybe it’s a combination of that and all the other things I listed.
Whatever it is, I’m already counting the days until next year, when it’s time for… the bull sale!
What’s one of your favorite days during the year, and why? Share with us in the comments!
I’ll see you soon on the Farm! -Shauna