by Henry Kempfer
October is here, which means so is Fall and other important seasons to the cattle industry. It seems that the older I get, the more I can appreciate the changes in weather that fall brings. A little cool down and some dryer air is certainly welcome this time of year. We have to be thinking ahead about winter supplementation and grazing programs.
October is also the kickoff month for the bull sale season in the Southeast. This always excites me as my infatuation with bulls has often been deemed a sickness by those close to me. As a child, it was all about how cool and massive the big bulls looked, and will he buck if we haul him to the rodeo? It really didn’t matter how good their calves were or how bad the disposition. In fact George and I would always try convincing dad into leaving a crossbred bull calf in tact, and sometimes he would give in. This would be the beginning of something that those of you growing up in family operations can appreciate. Dad, knowing that those young crossbred bulls weren’t the best thing for our genetic improvement, still allowed us to keep them as bulls.
As years went by, and many calf crops were analyzed, George and I learned a lot more about what dad was doing. In hindsight, I’ve got a really good hunch that dad knew what the offspring by those bulls would look like, but felt that he could keep us interested in the cowherd by allowing us to make some decisions at such a young age. Dad continued allowing us to make decisions as we progressed through the years. Some of these were good, and some were definitely educational. My point in this story, is to always try in keeping the next generation involved in certain aspects of decision making. We often discuss the importance of succession planning, and I urge you all to think ahead. However, there is more to the equation than just owning the land. Let’s do our best to somehow keep the business in the same family tree.
So this year, when selecting new bulls, I don’t recommend that you keep just any crossbred bull calf out of your herd. But I do encourage you to bring your youngens, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews along with you to teach them about all the new ways to select a good young bull.
Aside from all of this family talk, please remember the bull donors from the convention and those who advertise in our magazine and thank them for their continued support.