– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

There have been several discussions recently concerning bull sales and expected progeny differences (EPDs) which is probably a factor of the impending breeding season. The discussions have ranged in topic and have included the timing of a bull sale, saturation of the bull market, bulls that should be steers, and matching EPDs to a herd of cattle or individual cattle to get the best end product from the dam. This is a wide range of topics, but they are all related to understanding the herd sire market and the intended market of the sire’s offspring.

Producers must first know and understand the genetic needs of their cattle herd before considering bulls for purchase which means there is a need for data. Once the genetic needs are identified, then bull purchasers can evaluate sires with EPDs that complement the cow herd and result in the desired progeny. A bull with the desired characteristics is worth more than a bull that will not meet the needs of the operation.

A cheap bull may be just that, a cheap bull. Paying a little more may result in more profits down the road.