In our industry, there is much debate about where a breeder should look to find herd sires that can produce great heifers.
A common thought is that leaders of most of the major breeds that have natural maternal traits began chasing the measurable terminal traits years ago and have lost their core competency. Those breeders assumed that their breed had centuries of maternal breeding and they could focus exclusively on growth, marbling, muscling and tenderness to better compete with those natural terminal breeds like Charolais and Simmental. The feedlots and packers applauded the progress, and seedstock breeders have been on a race to the top with continually increasing measurements.
But folks started to notice that their heifer calves seemed to lack heartiness, longevity, ease of fleshing and were too often found in the cull pen open. Like many others, I would argue that these terminal genetics that have crept into our maternal breeds are great from a feedlot and packer perspective, but terrible from a ranch female perspective. Just because an animal excels in a grain feed test doesn’t mean that they will excel in a rangeland environment, which is what we expect of our cow herd. Many cattle owners have simply adjusted their environment to cater to these hungry mommas by adding lick tubs, feed bunks, and hay racks to keep their cows happy and productive.
Producing Productive and Function Females for Your Herd
So, what should you do if you want herd sires that produce great heifers for your herd?
- Find a reliable provider of maternal sires to produce your future cows.
- Decide how you will incorporate these genetics into your herd.
Science tells us the best cows in your herd are those that calve in the first 30 days of calving season. Some would say to run your best maternal sires in the first 30 days of the breeding season and then follow up with terminal sires; others would suggest that you AI your early calving cows to maternal bulls. Even better, AI those cows using sexed semen that should provide 90% heifer calves from your best cows, which should result in some rapid herd improvement– if you use the right kind of bulls.
At Legends Cattle Company, we have a different view from other major seedstock providers. Our cows and bulls work for us. If our cows or bulls can’t make their living on the pastures we have available, then they will need to find a new home on one of those ranches that has the extras. We can’t afford to provide a feed bunk at $250/ton when we can grow a ton of grass for a fraction of this. We can’t sell a customer a $3,000 bull if we have to put $2,000 of feed into them. In our cows and bulls, we breed in heartiness, ease of fleshing, longevity, fortitude and grit, and their bull calves have those same traits.
We are stacking generations from our legendary females that have proven themselves as exceptional performers throughout the years and across different geographies. Legends prides itself on knowing what it takes to produce great heifers… and it all starts with a great herd sire.