by Sara Brown
In the process of saving on inputs, some producers might cut back on the money spent for replacement bulls. But using a bull of reduced quality could impact profitability for the next several years due to heavier birth weights, lower weaning weights, lower carcass quality or less desirable replacement heifers. Those who produce calves with desirable genetics and value-added traits will have the greatest likelihood of remaining profitable.
How can you justify spending more on a quality bull in difficult economic times? Researchers at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation say to consider two scenarios. Scenario one: Use an average quality bull that costs $2,750. Scenario two: Purchase a high quality bull in the top 20% for weaning weight EPD that cost $3,500. Both bulls will remain in the breeding herd for four years and breed 25 cows per year, totaling 100 calves. The annual cost for each bull on a cow basis is $35.60 and $43.10 for scenario one and two, respectively. The scenario two bull only costs $7.50 per cow more annually compared to the lower quality bull in scenario one.
On the revenue side, calves are weaned in early October. Calves from scenario one wean at 535lb, valued at $135 per cwt, or $722 per head. Scenario two calves had heavier weaning weights at 600lb, valued at $132 per cwt or $792 per head- an increase of $70 per calf from the better bull. Calves from scenario two have a positive net difference of $62.50 more per calf ($70 minus $7.50).
Source: Drovers January 2017