Our Philosophy on Breeding Stock Selection

Whether we are buying cattle to add to our own herd, or selling cattle to novice as well as experienced producers, our philosophy about breeding stock selection boils down to these salient points.

Before Buying any Cattle, Know Thyself! In other words….

Know your personal goals in life.

Know your lifestyle. Consider the time you have available, your commitments to family, off-farm employment, friends, etc., and decide if you have the time and the support to be the steward and caregiver of a herd of cattle.

Know what you and your farm can be expected to sustain in terms of management style, quality and quantity of forages, reliance on grain feeding, etc. over the long haul.

Know your surroundings in the environment. In other words, consider the environmental factors that might affect the type of livestock compatible with the community.

Know the market you want to reach. Decide on the type of cattle you want to raise and who you will encourage as your customers.

After making these considerations, it's time to start selecting cattle for the breeding herd.

Selection Criteria for Herd Additions

We use several criteria to evaluate cattle, and rely on data-driven decision-making.

We welcome visual appraisal and the recommendations provided by resource persons:

Veterinarians in our home and surrounding regions, and at The Ohio State University
OSU Extension Beef Team, FSA, NRCS, and other agency specialists
Impartial appraisal by livestock judges, both in the show ring and on the farm

We assess conformational correctness and gentle temperament:

Visually, by looking for balanced, moderate frame, well-muscled seed stock, with good growth potential, without sacrificing size, scale, and structural soundness

By appraising the total animal, rather than focusing on a single characteristic or trait

By choosing females with correct pelvic structure, and bulls that will impart ample pelvic area to their daughters, for calving ease

By choosing bulls that will impart fertility and puberty by age 12 months to their daughters, and desired traits of ribeye size, plus tenderness and marbling, to their offspring

By choosing cattle that walk easily, that can forage all day without leg or foot problems, that are neither post-legged nor sickle-hocked

By selecting and keeping docile, reliable, problem-free animals that will be an asset to any producer's herd

Cattle evaluation group at Spectrum Farm
Cattle evaluation group at Spectrum Farm
Spectrum Farm -- Murray Grey Cow-Calf Pair
Spectrum Farm -- Murray Grey Cow

Listed in the next sections are the performance expectations, for an animal to be a breeding sire prospect, or to be retained as a replacement female and mature brood cow in our management system.

We expect cattle in our herd to meet these criteria, and we won't sell an animal to a buyer if we don't expect it to meet these same benchmarks.

Weanlings or yearlings that don't meet the criteria are retained until about 14 to 18 months of age, then sold as custom freezer beef, never for breeding

Performance - Bulls

+ Weanling must have minimum unadjusted-205-day weight of 600 pounds, and minimum frame score of 4.0

+ Yearling must weigh a minimum of 1000 pounds actual weight at 365 days of age

+ Yearling must display minimum scrotal circumference of 32 cm at age 12 months, although 36 cm is more typical and perferred

+ Yearling and older, must display continuing libido, despite weather or forage conditions, and must score well by American Society for Theriogenology standards on annual breeding soundness exam

+ Weanling must have minimum unadjusted-205-day weight of 550 pounds, with the exception of twins, with each twin needing 450 pounds minimum unadjusted-205-day weight

+ Yearling must weigh a minimum of 700 pounds actual weight at 365 days of age

+ Yearling must display puberty by age 14 months (regular heat cycles), although the beginning of heat cycles is expected by 7 months of age

+ Two-year-olds must calve by 30 months of age, and must breed back within 90 days

+ Mature cow must breed back within 90 days after calving unless she will become an ET donor prior to next breeding for natural calf

+ Actual scale weights taken at 180 days of age must show that the calf is 40% of the cow's body weight

Performance - Females

Tools We Use to Monitor if Performance Expectations Have Been Met

Weigh and record…at various points in the growth period of young cattle, and also periodically for our mature animals, throughout an animal's lifetime

Numerically check for correctness via the linear measurement approach of Gerald Fry

Periodic enrollment of test animals at recognized bull or heifer test stations

Annual ultrasonography for measurement of yearling ribeye area and fat thickness for all of our yearlings participating in the Ohio Beef Expo

EBV 's - In 1994 Spectrum Farm was one of only two Murray Grey producers in North America invited by the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society of Australia to enroll directly in BREEDPLAN® and we have continued our membership and animal assessment with MGBCS

GeneSTAR® DNA marker
testing for the favorable forms of the known tenderness and marbling genes in the bovine genome, used to evaluate our new herd sire, Katuna Courageous (Corey)

The Results --

Spectrum Farm -- Murray Grey Beef Cattle
Spectrum Farm -- Murray Grey Beef Cattle

EBV Example --

EBV Example

Cattle within our own herd

Sire lines we offer under semen sales

Females available next year as embryo donors

Bulls and females remembered in the heritage section

Last but not least, the cattle listed in the for sale section

Check out the various pages of our web site:

Spectrum Farm for Top Quality Murray Grey Beef Cattle and Genetics

Top Quality Murray Grey Beef Cattle & Genetics