Bulls represent a significant investment, so selecting an animal that is functional – and functional for a number of years – is important to ensure a return on that investment.
A 13-minute video put together by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics and aimed at commercial buyers shows how to carry out a physical assessment of a beef bull using a scoring system on traits that contribute to the functionality of a bull.
Featuring well known Accredited Structural Scoring Technician Bill Austin from Austin Ultrasound and Dr Jason Archer from B+LNZ Genetics Specialist-Livestock, the video demonstrates how to score docility, feet – specifically claw set and hoof angle - the side, hind and front leg view of a bull and assign a sheath and navel score.
The main focus throughout is functionality and a bull’s ability to move freely and to serve cows without breaking down.
Bill advises buyers to ignore bodyweight on sale day and any other physical characteristic that does not add to the functionality or economic value of that bull.
He recommends selecting bulls on Estimated Breeding Values or Indexes before turning up at the sale and then carrying out a physical assessment of the selected bulls.
“First look at the data set and then the functionality.”
While Bill presents a comprehensive Beef Class Structural Assessment, he says on sale day, the three most important factors to look at are heel depth or hoof angle, mobility and temperament.
Watch the video on the Knowledge Hub.