Why choosing the right bullock has become a lottery
On a grass finishing beef farm such as mine, late summer/autumn is a very important time of the year. This is when I sell my finished cattle and buy in their replacements.
The unpredictability of this year's weather has meant that for most of the year we have really had to play it by ear.
The recent spell of good weather was very welcome and the extra few weeks of fresh grass have been very helpful in getting the best possible finish on the last of my beef cattle.
At the marts, store cattle are also looking well and in spite of earlier concerns are also selling quite well.
Choosing the right type of store bullock to suit our particular farming enterprise is very important.
More often than not what was once regarded as a critical skill in the cattle business appears to have now developed into little more than a glorified lottery.
I find it increasingly difficult to know if I am buying a bullock who has not enjoyed the luxury of a well nourished youth and as a result has got good potential to improve, or if I am buying an animal who with age will tend to develop some undesirable traits generally associated with dairy type antecedents.
I recently bought two very different bunches of cattle for around the same price. One was a bunch of well minded square Friesians with, of course, the usual one or two middling animals mixed in weighing 450kg.