This article discusses the challenges ranchers face with the purchase of a new stud bull. For years ranchers would rely on a simple eye evaluation of how well the bull will perform and the quality of the calves he will produce. In today's day and age this is very unreliable, but many stubborn ranchers refuse to acknowledge the science. A simple eye test can not give accurate knowledge of a bull’s prefrocme, mutations it may have, diseases it may carry, or other effects it may have on the herd. Today many bull breeders will provide a EPD, expected progeny difference, which is based on genetic tests and past performance during mating. The EPD test for fertility, and diseases such as bovine viral diarrhea. The EPD looks at past performance by studying birth weight of calves, sex ratios, weaning weight, and overall size of the cattle after 2 years. This being said, EPDs will change as the bull matures and proves himself as a valuable stud, it still allows the rancher a much needed idea of potential performance, back by genetics.
A simple eye up can not tell someone what a genetics test can so why do ranchers continue to do so, with each untested bull they gamble with the fate of their herd.
Tags: Bulls, Cows, Cow Breeding, Cattle Ranching