Introducing our 2012 Walking Bulls.
We finished breeding season on July 2nd when our walking bulls were pulled and moved to their own paddock. We managed to get a couple of pictures of them in their working condition, and have added new individual pages in our Herdbook / Reference Sire section for APLX Escalade 9Y and APLX Samson 10Y.
Our 2012 walking bulls both come from our own program, but are certainly different in their own right. Since arriving in February 2011 with an 80lb birth weight, we have always kept an eye on Escalade, hoping that he would develop into a bull that we could use on heifers while maintaining the performance we desire. With Escalade destined to be our ‘heifer bull,’ we then set out to hunt for an outcross herd bull to use on the balance of our cow herd. After an extensive search, we just kept coming back to an off-age bull in our own bull pen. Samson was too young to be a ‘sale’ bull, but too good not to keep an eye on. As winter turned to spring, he showcased the performance and style that suggested that he could be the performance herd bull we were looking for. Both bulls show a lot of promise, so we were quite pleased to have them available.
Both of these bulls have lived up to our expectations. Despite their relatively young ages, they both went out and went right to work in their first season. While we were very successful with our AI program, we expect to have a good sample of calves from each of our two new walking bulls starting next February. They will both winter here, and we anticipate using them both more extensively in 2013.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to walking bulls carrying your own prefix. I think that one of the benefits is that you know the cow families, and their respective backgrounds, a lot better. In the case of each of these bulls, I have had the privilege of watching their maternal lines develop and evolve over the past 20 years. It is perhaps unsurprising that both bulls can be traced back to SRN 2Y, the foundation cow at Dora Lee. (What WAS surprising is that Escalade can be traced back to 2Y on three of the four quarters of his pedigree).
The down side of walking your own bulls, of course, is that you can back yourself into a genetic corner a few years down the road, once they have daughters working. While AI can certainly mitigate part of this, the easiest way to add new genetics is via an outcross walking bull. With two herd bulls, and the capacity for three walking groups, we continue to search (365 Days of the Year) for those outcross genetics that will fit our myriad of criteria. In the interim, we are quite pleased with the job these two young bulls have done.