At “Top o’ the mornin’” St. Patrick’s Day, Randy and I headed to the Circle A Spring Bull Sale at the Iberia, Missouri ranch. Randy and Ryan have purchased bulls and/or heifers from Circle A the past several years. This was my second visit to the Iberia Ranch and, as before, I was impressed with the clean facilities and pens, the white fences, tasty lunch and general set-up of the sale.
The sunny morning turned to a spring thunderstorm just as the sale began but that did not deter the cowboys. In fact, they gently worked the 250 Angus bulls and nearly 500 heifers through the sale ring and carefully sorted and loaded the livestock for the buyers without hotshots or loud, startling yelling.
Randy had done his homework and studied the sale catalog and highlighted the bulls that would fit into our program. That made our selection easier as we watched the bulls strut into the ring. Of course, price was a factor too and Saturday’s sale reflected current cattle prices.
Like everything else, science and technology have changed the way livestock is presented at a sale. Dad Britt used to sit on the front row at the sale barn and he judged a bull by his size, weight, demeanor, etc. Not so anymore. The Circle A Genetic Evaluation System utilizes the production, reproduction and carcass data gathered across all the Circle A Ranches. Over the years they have collected more than 124,000 weaning weights and 22,000 carcass records on their animals. This database has allowed them to compute EPDs (Expected Progeny Difference) on all animals for 15 production, carcass and reproduction traits. In case you are a novice like me, EPD is the prediction of how future progeny of each animal are expected to perform relative to the progeny of other animals listed in the database.
For example, the Birth Weight EPD gave us the average expected birth weight difference (in pounds) of their offspring of the same sex produced in similar conditions and bred to comparable cow genotypes. The Weaning Weight EPD is the average expected adjusted weaning weight difference (in pounds) of their offspring of the same sex when produced in similar conditions and bred to comparable cow genotypes.
Circle A has worked hard to produce genetics that “give more output on less input”. Bottom line is that besides profitability for the producer, modern genetics plays a role in the efficiency of beef production and enable us to produce more pounds of beef using fewer resources such as land, feed and water.
Six handsome bulls rode home with us (four for our farm and two for our cousin). My favorite is #18…He is just stylish! To my delight, when I looked at his pedigree, his granddaddy’s name is Connealy Danny Boy! Appropriate for a St. Patrick’s Day purchase wouldn’t you agree? I’m just going to call him “Paddy”.
Cowboys Sorting the Bulls
Here they come! The rain made it muddy, but they were soon on green grass again!
Scales… (bulls don’t mind being weighed! Paddy weighs 1685 pounds and he is only 18 months old!
New earrings so we can keep good records and everyone knows who owns them…
“Like our new earrings??”
And a back rub from Nate…
Off to green pastures!