Selecting heifer bulls is never an easy task – don’t worry I’m forever mindful of my old mentor, Dr Rex Butterfield’s now famous quotation “Dead calves have distressingly poor growth rates!” As well as being able to produce live calves, the ‘heifer bull’ must be able to also ensure that the progeny has sufficient growth capacity to achieve targeted market specifications. Beef industry sustainability depends upon our ability to provide bulls that not only fulfil parameters mentioned above but they need to ensure the value determining traits NFI-F & P, Eating Quality, Saleable Yield, Longevity/Stayability are also met.
We are very keen to use half sib matings amongst our heifers and a son of Musgrave Big Sky was most appealing given their performance at Dulverton and in Dick Whale’s other herds. We selected M21 for a number of reasons:
1. Dick had reported Musgrave Big Sky was a calving ease bull in the US. We used Big Sky over our heifers and report no assists.
2. M21 was out of Xtol K113 (first calf heifer) and born unassisted.
3. Xtol K113 was by CN Equator F10, the safest bull we had used for calving ease in first calf heifers. Her dam Xtol D16 was by the Canadian bull Fertile Valley 20K King we imported to attempt to introduce ‘outside’ blood that tracks back to that great old Canadian Agricultural Research Station herd cow Queen 362E.
4. We introduced King as a heifer safe, calving ease bull, D Xtol K113’s dam D Xtol D16 was born unassisted out of the first calf heifer D Xtol B27. We are convinced the maternal side of M21’s pedigree is heifer safe.
5. Another of our heifer safe proven bulls D Latitude L6 is from the Xtol family.
We are coming up to the Beef 2018, it is interesting to note that our bull Dulverton Meat Mass M7 was Grand Champion Angus at Beef 1994. Meat Mass M7 sired Xtol Q4 who was a foundation member of the Xtol family, and her sixth calf Xtol Y60 was a longevity/stayability supremo having delivered and reared 11 calves. Included in Y60’s progeny set was D Glory G77 (still working well in valued client Warwick Grieve’s commercial herd), sire of D Mandy J167, dam of Dulverton Latitude L6. We have used D Latitude L6 twice now over heifers, he is a very safe calver.
We have used M21 over heifers knowing that his pedigree does contain ample pelvis building sires including Five Star Z51 (himself a promotor of longevity/stayability having worked as an 11 year old), Design Plus 97, Vanilla V49, D Meat Mass M7, CN Equator F10 and FV20K King.