Riding Shotgun – Herd Bull Draft Day
As we travel the highways and by-ways of the Limousin family and breed we often cuss and discuss the cattle business, sports, politics, great cheeseburgers and most of the time, the promotion and marketing of Limousin cattle.
Through “Riding Shotgun” we invite you to join us in the right-hand seat, so that we can let you in on what we find to be our marketing pet peeves, shortcuts and some of the favorite habits of top-flight professional producers. Grab a cup of coffee and take the ‘shotgun seat’—we are pleased to have you riding along.
As the days get longer and catalogs start showing up digitally and in the mailbox, it’s time to ponder the question that should be on your mind every day and all the time—Do I need a new herd bull? I’m reminded by post Super Bowl conversations regarding team leaders. As the Kansas City Chiefs seem to have their quarterback in place, every other NFL program seems to be shopping around for their next solution.
If you are a progressive seedstock operation you should always be evaluating your options and thinking about your program in the future. Years ago, a very successful and insightful breeder, when asked when he started looking for his next herd bull, gave an answer I think is telling. “I start looking for my next herd bull the minute my current one goes out with his first cows.” In other words, he was always on the lookout and knew it might take a while to find the bull that best fit his program. He knew he needed to always keep an eye out, not only for a replacement, but also for a compliment to the current head of the program.
I also believe that even if you think you are the greatest AI technician in America, you need a herd bull that can keep your cows bred in a timely fashion, just in case you don’t have your best stuff in the AI chute. Mother Nature made the best heat detector and breeding machine in the world, and she put four legs on him and sent him off to get the job done. Don’t short yourself when it comes to a clean-up bull. If you are honest with yourselves, you will find that many of your best replacement female candidates are out of the clean-up bull, so make sure he can handle the load if the first team goes down.
As a serious seedstock producer you owe it to yourself and your customers to always evaluate the team you have in place. Part of your job as Owner, General Manager and Coach is make sure your whole team is not only set up for next year, but for the years that follow. There is a lot of great talent being offered every day. Study your lessons, grab those catalogs and think about your next draft. It’s ALWAYS time to add a piece for the future.
We’ll see you down the road.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
Mark A Smith