Friday, September 20, 2013

A Bad, BAD Bull Run

We are in the midst of a bull run. A bad, bad bull run. I am talking about a bull run of epic proportions.

#113 with her newborn bull calf
To clarify, a "bull run" is what we in the dairy business call a string or streak of bull calves being born as opposed to heifer calves. This is not a great situation for farms like ours that depend on homegrown heifers to be the future of our milking herds. It's not a big deal in the short term because you generally expect that your bull-to-heifer ratio will even out over time, but a run like we're on can be a little unsettling.

So how bad is our bull run? We've had 35 calves born over the last 37 days. Only five of those have been heifers, three of which are Holstein/Angus crosses that will be sold for beef. We've had bull runs before, but nothing like this. Luckily we have built a good local demand for our bull calves, but I'm ready to see our own calf barn start filling up again.

All bad bull runs come to an end, of course, and the law of probability says that we should have quite a few heifer calves born from the group of 25 cows currently in the maternity pasture. Here's hoping we go on a "heifer run" and get back to normal sooner than later!

UPDATE: A cow gave birth to a heifer calf late this morning...I guess I should have blogged about our bull run sooner!

1 comment:

nal0004 said...

I love the pictures you put up! As an ag major I don't know too much about the animal side (I'm usually into row crops) but I loved reading and learning a bit of the lingo! (ie: bull run! Thanks so much for sharing!