Just Your Standard Bull
published: February 17th 2017
by: Michael Sturgess
This month’s column is entitled “The patience to see it through.” Its applications are numerous, so hang with me through the end—patience, patience….
This topic has really been on my mind these days because I have been knee deep in the insurmountable heap of paperwork I use to mate cows at the ranch. Current EPD’s, performance data, calving intervals, the average weaning ratio for each dam, the pedigree of the dam, the pedigree of each potential sire, what to use in AI, what to use for clean-up—dang!
Patience is not only a virtue but a must for this task. And it is really easy to lose patience and just throw up my hands and say, WHAT THE HECK! But then I remember I’ve got to sell these critters somewhere down the road, and it sure would be nice if someone wanted to buy them. Then I think back on the time I spent in selecting those sires. They had to have the right performance, the right look, the right structure and conformation and the right EPD’s… And then I think about when I looked that bull over, I was sometimes thinking two or three generations of calves down the road—about how this bull’s daughters would mate to this other sire I have… Wait a minute—that means that while I am looking at this bull, I am planning matings in my mind that won’t be realized for another 4-6 years down the road? And then of course we know that a single bull is not going to work on every cow. Some need more calving ease, some more milk, others need more performance and others still could use a boost in carcass traits. This is not a “one size fits all” kind of world we live in either. Some folks want a larger frame, others not so much. Some guys want bulls with added milk while others don’t care because they don’t retain their heifers.
Are you starting to get the picture?
And then I get to thinking about all these good cattle that are coming to San Antonio next week on the 14th and 15th for the All Breeds Bull and Commercial Female Pen Show & Sale. This has been and will continue to be one of the best sets of bulls and females amassed into one gathering each year. When you look at these great cattle, have you ever stopped to wonder just how long it took to plan and breed and feed these cattle into what they have become on sale day? I’ll take a bull for example. This particular bull was born March 15th, 2015. So, on sale day he is 23 months of age. Now this bull was a result of AI, so his dam was AI’d on June 5th, 2014. But wait—THAT’S NOT ALL! His AI sire was born on March 15th, 2012, so his first calves were born in the spring of 2014. After seeing these February and March baby calves in mid-April 2014, the decision was made to breed him to a select group of females. And yet—THERE IS STILL MORE!
The dam of this sale bull was born on the ranch on January 29, 2007. The dam’s mother was born on the place back on March 1, 2002, and her maternal granddam who was born April 5, 2000 was purchased as a yearling heifer back in March of 2001.
The subtle point I am making here is that the 23 months old bull selling was partially the result of the purchase of an 11-month old heifer back in March 2001—a few weeks shy of 16 years ago! Of course, not all of them go back this far, yet some go further still. I would then submit to you that without the patience to see it through, one cannot successfully sustain the art of breeding cattle. Make no mistake—it IS an art, even though those who practice its use are seldom called artists. We call them pioneers, breeders or just good ole ranchers whose gallery is the sale ring.
The next time you find yourself ring-side at a cattle sale, ask yourself this question—are these just cattle you are looking at or years of planned mating culminated with superior breeding and feeding expertise? If your answer is the former, perhaps you are at the wrong sale.
Now, for those who had the patience to read me through to the end, I have a final thought. As our new President works his way through his initial months in office, I suggest we all show him a bit of patience. Anyone could have predicted how the main stream media would react to President Trump, just as it was for Fox News during the last 8 years of the prior administration. And I’m not too shocked at how much of Hollywood has responded, even though I have absolutely no interest in Ashton Kutcher’s opinions on immigration.
What I do find more curious is how many of the liberal minded masses have chosen to display their concerns to the public. Since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, we turn on the nightly news to see public demonstrations, riots and even violence. Even the inauguration coverage was interrupted with scenes of DC riot police subduing demonstrators and other video showing people throwing rocks or bricks through display windows.
One must certainly realize that we are talking extremes here, from far left to the far right. It would be inaccurate to categorize every left-minded liberal as rock-wielding socialists, just as it would be to paint every right-minded conservative as racist, wife-beating, redneck bigots.
What the extreme left needs to do is ask themselves the question—what was the extreme right doing for the last eight years when President Obama was in office. Were they out demonstrating, throwing rocks through windows and getting arrested for disorderly conduct?
Nope. THEY WERE BUYING AND STOCKPILING GUNS AND AMMO! For eight years, the public has endured a shortage of ammo for most commonly used or popular caliber hand guns and rifles. Did you guys honestly think there was a sudden spike in the popularity of deer hunting? It’s best not to try to down a 200-pound buck with a 22, a 222 or a 22-250. TOO MANY TWO’S! And there aren’t enough varmints in the world for all the ammo sold from 2009 to 2016.
And while the supply of ammo has suddenly, for no reason it seems, stabilized in the last two months, one must ask themselves the very important question—just where is all that ammo and who has it?
So, before anyone casts too many rocks or stones, perhaps a little patience and a few deep-breathing exercises would be helpful. After eight years, the nation now knows that Obamacare is too expensive. Perhaps we can give President Trump more than 17 days to work his magic.
Have a little patience people. The other side doesn’t throw rocks!