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Just Your Standard Bull...

published: April 2nd 2021
by: Michael Sturgess

If March is mad, what is April?
    The month of March was busy with spring bull sales, replacement female sales and even purebred female sales. Prices were mainly up across the board—especially for bulls. The demand and current prices for bulls are at past levels when calves were bringing $15-1600/ head. Most of these bulls selling were 15-18 month old bulls, as most if not all of the spring two year olds have already been sold.
    In reality, the bulls that are selling in march are born mainly from October thru December, with a few early January yearlings sprinkled into these. The Feb-April yearlings have been coming off test for the past 30 days and will continue for a few more weeks.
    How long will these bulls last? That’s a question that I’m not sure I have the answer to. There remains some resistance to using yearling bulls. When used properly, I still maintain that using bulls as yearlings can make them better bulls and will ultimately be with you longer.
    This would not be the case if you are one that turns out bulls and never picks them up. A yearling bull is going to need a little extra help after that first breeding season. Keeping him on a more ideal nutrition curve will ultimately prove to be more valuable to you in the long term.
    And think of the experience this young bull has as opposed to a two-year old. A yearling bull has already spent a season with the cows. This gives him the added advantage of knowing your pastures better. Cows are pretty smart critters. Have you ever noticed there are certain places in your pastures where your cows graze a little heavier or a little longer? Perhaps the ground is a little stronger that makes the grass a little sweeter.
    The bottom line is a two year old bull that was used as a yearling has a decided advantage over the two year old bull that was just purchased and turned out. Both bulls are dropping their baby teeth, but the bull used as a yearling knows where the best grass is. He’ll be working smarter, better and will ultimately finish the breeding season in better body condition.

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