Use a Home-Raised Bull, or Artificial Insemination?
Most dairies today, and some beef cattle operations, make use of artificial insemination to breed their animals. Genetics offered by the bull studs are the most superior genetics in the world, and it eliminates the need to deal with the dangers of handling a breeder bull. But we’d like to throw a few thoughts out there for you to consider.
Farm bulls can still be beneficial to your operation, especially in a group of breeding age heifers, and the genetics aren’t as inferior as you might think. If your bull is from a good cow in your herd and from an A.I. bull, his genetics aren’t far behind. What we’ve found in the studs, is that the continual increase in production numbers shown on the data of their bulls is because of the COWS that mother their animals. Studs always look for herds that do a great job with production, and over the years farmers have made great strides to increase the feeding and management of their herds. This is no reflection on genetics, but rather on the management of the farmer. The bull studs get better numbers, and take the credit. If your bull was used to breed a cow that was already milking 35,000 lbs of milk per year, and her daughter, staying in that same herd, milked 37,000 lbs per year because that farmer got even better at producing milk, your bull gets a +2000 on his score. But this is really a reflection on the farmer, not on your bull.
In no way are we attempting to say that A.I. bulls are anything but the best in the world. These studs aggressively search the farm industry to find the best. But don’t be fooled into thinking that your bull, a son of A.I. stock, is extremely inferior to A.I. bulls. What you are seeing is your own management levels at work. Be sure to compare your bull’s daughters (in their 2nd or 3rd lactation) to the mother. Our bet is that you will find they are as good or better than your average cow.