Truth or Judgement on Breeding

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Bright Raven
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Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:41 pm

Is a stud bull offered by a Semen company inferior to a bull produced by a local breeder who has been breeding for generations?

The answer to that is a judgement not a TRUTH.

Using an example:

Is red a better color than yellow? If you say red. Is that a truth or a judgment? Most everyone can see that is a judgement.

Ebenezer made this post on another thread. He was advising a User on how to select a bull. Ebenezer, I am focusing on your comment because I think you are a knowledgeable, experienced and well read cattlemen. Your example will help generate a discussion on the question of whether bulls produced by generations of breeding are better than stud semen bulls. You stated:

I'd find a local breeder who has cattle that he had actually bred for multiple generations and raised for more than one dose of AI and find out what works for them and possibly buy a registered bull from him/her. And if you really want to give your kids some education, set up some of the cows for TAI and let a vet or a tech explain and teach them beyond the bull+cow=$.

I think that is a judgement and there are flaws in the concept.

First, it implies that bulls offered via semen sales have not been bred for multiple generations. For example, does that imply that Gardiner Angus Ranch has not bred Angus cattle over long enough period of time to produce as good or better bull than a local breeder?

Second, what "sacred" breeding secret does the local breeder use that a big outfit like Connealy Angus Ranch cannot employ to produce a good bull?

Third, I can go to a lot of local breeders who have been breeding Angus cattle for generations. Poe Angus for example. Guess what herd bull they are using? A Boyd Angus bull.

My point is this. We read on here the two basic practices of breeding for good cattle. One school employs the best genetics available from semen companies. The other school advocates long term breeding over generations. Why is there an assumption that stud bulls whose seman is sold for AI are not "bred for multiple generations" ?
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby True Grit Farms » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:29 pm

The things most folks that use and buy the AI bull of the month don't take into account is management style and environment. And that's two very important things to a commercial cattleman. Most of our best cows have all came from local bulls that I've bought for some reason. But I've never tried using any Angus AI sires.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:38 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:The things most folks that use and buy the AI bull of the month don't take into account is management style and environment. And that's two very important things to a commercial cattleman. Most of our best cows have all came from local bulls that I've bought for some reason. But I've never tried using any Angus AI sires.


Thanks. But that does not address the point. I hear arguments against using the stud bulls marketed by way of their semen because some make the claims that the bulls are not a product of long term breeding and selection. Go tell that to Charlie Jurior about 15 minutes from here who has the heritage of one of the oldest cattle companies in Kentucky. My point to those claiming there is no breeding or selection - I disagree. The Boyd's produce bulls by the same method as the guy who never makes it to semen sales.

Vince. I am only using Angus because they are the largest beef breed and they dominate semen sales. I don't use it either, but that is moot.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby True Grit Farms » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:06 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:The things most folks that use and buy the AI bull of the month don't take into account is management style and environment. And that's two very important things to a commercial cattleman. Most of our best cows have all came from local bulls that I've bought for some reason. But I've never tried using any Angus AI sires.


Thanks. But that does not address the point. I hear arguments against using the stud bulls marketed by way of their semen because some make the claims that the bulls are not a product of long term breeding and selection. Go tell that to Charlie Jurior about 15 minutes from here who has the heritage of one of the oldest cattle companies in Kentucky. My point to those claiming there is no breeding or selection - I disagree. The Boyd's produce bulls by the same method as the guy who never makes it to semen sales.

I see no reason to use old genetics, personally I think that good new cattle are better than good old cattle. All the defects started with old cattle. Everyone is looking for a angle to sell and push their cattle. The best bulls for a commercial cattleman come from a similar environment and management style.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:31 pm

Kentuckyguy. You know this stuff. Take a turn at the wheel. ;-)
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby sim.-ang.king » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:48 pm

Putting cattle in different environments than what they are bred for, will produce inferior results, than when in the environment they were intended for.

A cow from Montana isn't bred for the environment of the southern fecue belt. Just like a cow from the fescue belt isn't bred for Montana's environment.
I think that is what people are getting at when they say to use cattle from the area you live in.
Sure you can use some big named bulls from Montana, but what will be the long term effects on your herd by using a bull from outside your environment?
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Lazy M » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:54 pm

Boyd is fairly local for me and I've always been pleased with their bulls that I've purchased (Angus and Hereford). Many years ago my FIL and I both called in and purchased bulls from Sitz (I believe they're in Montana). I saw first hand where those bulls completely fell apart during their first breeding season. They both recovered and did ok for us for several years but that first year or two on fescue was hard on them and neither had the longevity of the Boyd bulls. Lesson learned.
One question I have is with semen: will an AI stud from the West's progeny potentially have trouble with fescue tolerance? Or will the fact that the mother is adapted provide protection? My limited experience with ai seems to make me believe that the mother is sufficient, because most the bulls I've used with ai are from the West and I haven't noticed any issues with retained progeny..
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Ky hills » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:02 pm

This is a subject that I am very interested in as well. I have come to the conclusion, based on my limited experience that perhaps cattle bred in a local or semi similar area are more productive in the long run. To be clear I will give credit where it is due the programs mentioned in above posts,and many more have been in business for quite a while and produce a lot of quality cattle. It is my belief that progeny from many bulls from programs such as those quite often sire superior calves, my questioning comes as those calves are weaned and retained as breeding bulls and replacement heifers in areas such as the southeast, or fescue belt.
Case in point I have purchased several females with pedigrees on top and bottom both from programs such as those. They looked well as young heifers, but did not breed regulary and have been culled. I have often wondered how it could be that so many herds of commercial Angus seem to thrive in the area, and I could not get anywhere near satisfactory results with cattle with well known pedigrees. I had some cows AI bred to a bull from a program in Montana, kept 2 bull calves from him one a registered Angus out of bull from a program that promotes itself as having cattle raised on fescue and a commercial cow. Both bulls turned out to not shed off very well and had some feet issues that I attributed to fescue. In comparison another AI sired bull that we raised is still going strong.
I have always been of the mindset that the AI sires are superior in a lot of cases, but am starting to think some individuals are only in the short term. Have usually figured that for the most part that the programs that use predominantly their own herds genetics sacrificed some performance, but just maybe their animals may last in a herd in that area longer.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:14 pm

I appreciate the contributions to this thread.

Here is my theory on the "locality" issue.

My cows are the foundation of my herd. Not the bulls. If my cows do well here, logic would suggest that their calves would inherit some of the traits to do well in this environment. I am 100% AI. Regardless of where that semen bull was raised, if I put his calf on the ground here, that calf will as it grows acquire the necessary enzymes and physiological processes to function on my forages.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Ebenezer » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:00 pm

Here are some issues to think about: same that has been said - environment is key at about 90%. When you look thru a semen catalog, what are you looking for? Feet hidden in the grass, many times no proof, you have no idea of the management and feed level of the dam, Pathfinder is great but it only covers (or used to) until age 5. Look at % daughters of almost bulls that make Pathfinder and you will quickly see that it has no strong link to the sire for the cow to be highly productive, breed back on time and such. Go to a close farm, see the cattle, know how they were fed, no photo brush up needed, no worry that the double half 13th cousin sold for $1,000,000 and such unless you choose to go to one of those kinds of farms/ranches.

My cows are the foundation of my herd. Not the bulls. If my cows do well here, logic would suggest that their calves would inherit some of the traits to do well in this environment.
You are more right than many will admit but breed a wooly bugger, rip snorter, post legged, feedlot proven bull to the best of cows and she cannot fix that, nor the bad feet, the poor leg angles, the swayback, the disposition, the other stuff that you have little to no idea is coming in the straw from far, far away.

Truth or Judgement? Neither - an outright choice to be a breeder and not a user of everybody else's bulls to constantly stir the genetic pot to never see consistency. I do not want to be in the shell game of over priced cattle being pawned off on the new folks who think that is the only way to get in the game. It is merely the way to fellce the unknowing and the gullible. Man alive, go back and look at old semen catalogs: they have gone thru 100's and 1000's of "great bulls" and probably 5% or less were either useful, had long term use and demand, we used as tools to fix past problems or did little enough harm to be OK. I would use about 3 or 4 Angus bulls, or less that have been in semen catalogs n the past 40 years.

My opinion: GAR is breeding Angus to be Wagyu-like. They have an excellent breeding effort because their cattle are looking like high marbling cattle. I've seen more of them in LA than in SC. If I want terminal cattle with high IMF, it seems so much easier to either use Wagyu semen or buy a Wagyu bull. I like simple. I want Angus to be Angus like.

Since you are 100% AI, you miss out on the joys of raising great bulls for use and to intensify the work you have done on your cattle. But to each his own. The use of home raised bulls is quite a joy, a study and a satisfaction when all works well and a lesson and my fault when it does not work. The best bulls I've ever had (function, fit, daughters, ... have been second generation bulls (25% AI sire) in most cases. The other thing I have been studing and trying to practice is Bonsma selection. That type is not to be found in 99.9% of AI bulls and their female relatives. There are consequences for Bonsma selection and there are (my opinion) worse consequences for highly concentrated efforts to select females and males purely for terminal traits or ever increasing performance while not selecting for male type and female type.

If the normal selection of Angus bulls and cows has worked for decades then the Angus would be pretty well free of problems with generation after generation of stacked "goodness". It really hasn't happened and it will not happen until we all get the blinders off and realize that a cow needs to look like a cow, a bull does not need to be fed like a feedlot steer and the bull and steer should look nothing alike. Too simple to be accepted.

Good question and good discussion. Thanks.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:15 pm

Ebenezer

Thank you so much for the effort put into your response. Your response is a contrast to so many I see on cattle today. So many responses are personalized. If we are all honest, the only thing that is important is INFORMATION. Thank you!
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Ky hills » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:16 pm

Bright Raven wrote:I appreciate the contributions to this thread.

Here is my theory on the "locality" issue.

My cows are the foundation of my herd. Not the bulls. If my cows do well here, logic would suggest that their calves would inherit some of the traits to do well in this environment. I am 100% AI. Regardless of where that semen bull was raised, if I put his calf on the ground here, that calf will as it grows acquire the necessary enzymes and physiological processes to function on my forages.


I have had that until recently theory as well, but am pondering another caveat. I agree completely that when a calf is born it becomes accustomed to that environment, but what if only somewhat. If a bull has multiple generations of localized breeding in a particular environment in an area in Montana, then a cow has a calf in KY, wouldn't the breeding on the sires side have at least some genetic predisposition?
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:23 pm

Ky hills wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I appreciate the contributions to this thread.

Here is my theory on the "locality" issue.

My cows are the foundation of my herd. Not the bulls. If my cows do well here, logic would suggest that their calves would inherit some of the traits to do well in this environment. I am 100% AI. Regardless of where that semen bull was raised, if I put his calf on the ground here, that calf will as it grows acquire the necessary enzymes and physiological processes to function on my forages.


I have had that until recently theory as well, but am pondering another caveat. I agree completely that when a calf is born it becomes accustomed to that environment, but what if only somewhat. If a bull has multiple generations of localized breeding in a particular environment in an area in Montana, then a cow has a calf in KY, wouldn't the breeding on the sires side have at least some genetic predisposition?


Bill

It takes many generations of selection for specific traits to affect what is coded in the genes. Having taken several undergraduate and graduate level courses in the study of genetics, I don't see it happening that rapidly. Therefore, I am forced to say No.
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby sim.-ang.king » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:23 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
Ky hills wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:I appreciate the contributions to this thread.

Here is my theory on the "locality" issue.

My cows are the foundation of my herd. Not the bulls. If my cows do well here, logic would suggest that their calves would inherit some of the traits to do well in this environment. I am 100% AI. Regardless of where that semen bull was raised, if I put his calf on the ground here, that calf will as it grows acquire the necessary enzymes and physiological processes to function on my forages.


I have had that until recently theory as well, but am pondering another caveat. I agree completely that when a calf is born it becomes accustomed to that environment, but what if only somewhat. If a bull has multiple generations of localized breeding in a particular environment in an area in Montana, then a cow has a calf in KY, wouldn't the breeding on the sires side have at least some genetic predisposition?


Bill

It takes many generations of selection for specific traits to affect what is coded in the genes. Having taken several undergraduate and graduate level courses in the study of genetics, I don't see it happening that rapidly. Therefore, I am forced to say No.


But isn't that making a diffident statement of truth based on your judgement of your experiences? Didn't you start this thread to say we shouldn't do such things?

The answer to that is a judgement not a TRUTH.

Who is to say that your judgement on the effect of semen from far away, verse local bulls not effecting their offspring's ability to live in their current environment, is true?
Well considering that you are your only witness, I must assume it as false, and replace it with my own judgement on the matter.
Is not this how the modern post-truth world works?
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Re: Truth or Judgement on Breeding

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:26 pm

sim.-ang.king wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:
Ky hills wrote:
I have had that until recently theory as well, but am pondering another caveat. I agree completely that when a calf is born it becomes accustomed to that environment, but what if only somewhat. If a bull has multiple generations of localized breeding in a particular environment in an area in Montana, then a cow has a calf in KY, wouldn't the breeding on the sires side have at least some genetic predisposition?


Bill

It takes many generations of selection for specific traits to affect what is coded in the genes. Having taken several undergraduate and graduate level courses in the study of genetics, I don't see it happening that rapidly. Therefore, I am forced to say No.


But isn't that making a diffident statement of truth based on your judgement of your experiences? Didn't you start this thread to say we shouldn't do such things?

The answer to that is a judgement not a TRUTH.

Who is to say that your judgement on the effect of semen from far away, verse local bulls not effecting their offspring's ability to live in their current environment, is true?
Well considering that you are your only witness, I must assume it as false, and replace it with my own judgement on the matter.
Is not this how the modern post-truth world works?


Nope
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