Bulls & Aussies

We selected 22 keeper bulls from our 2018 calf crop. These 22 bull calves went into the feedlot here at the ranch & started consuming a prepared ration on December 4th.

We weighed each of them at the beginning of the gain test & will weigh them again at the end. These bulls will spend the next 85 days or so in the feedlot.

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This year’s ration consists of whole cottonseed {part carbohydrate/part protein, increases palatability, 90% TDN, 24% crude protein, 20% fat}, cottonseed meal {40% crude protein}, & cotton gin trash {roughage, less than half the cost of local hay, 8-9% crude protein}.

Total Digestible Nutrients {TDN} is the sum of the digestible fiber, protein, lipid, & carbohydrate components of a feedstuff or diet. TDN is directly related to digestible energy & is often calculated based on Acid Detergent Fiber {ADF}. TDN is useful for beef cow rations that are primarily forage. 

Cotton gin trash is a by-product of the cotton ginning industry. It is composed of stems, leaves, burrs, immature seeds, & sand from the cotton plant. Gin trash is similar to low-quality hay & can be used as a low-quality roughage source in ruminant animals. 

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During this time, we will be able to collect data on efficiency & production to be considered in genetic selection of future herd sires. This gain test allows us to measure feed conversion, which is the amount of feed an animal consumes as compared to the amount of body weight gained {expressed as a ratio}. Feed conversion ratios around 6:1 {6 pounds of feed per pound of gain} are common in most beef cattle operations. Cattle that gain more weight with less feed or forage are more efficient.

Having the bulls close by allows us to interact with them regularly. We can observe their disposition/temperament to ensure they are calm & handle well. A ‘snuffy’ or hot tempered bull can be very dangerous. When selling bulls to other producers, it’s important to us that the bull is docile.

On January 3rd, we had a visit from the 2019 Australian Meat Judging Team. One of their coaches, Nick van den Berg, first spent some time with us in 2014 when he was in Texas & the United States representing the 2014 Australian Meat Judging Team.

Nick now coaches the meat judging teams & has brought his teams here the past two years for a visit & tour.

We enjoyed showing them around & hearing about their homes/farms back in Australia.

This team will be competing at the National Western Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in Colorado near the end of this month. We wish them the best as they compete!