Dave Roberts picks our 4 best heifers
Dave Roberts, the herdsman at Teddy Gentry’s Bent Tree Farms, stopped by the farm Monday, Jan. 8, to pick the four heifers that we are consigning to the 2018 South Poll Field Day to be held at the farm of Mike and Mary Wilbers, near Bonnots Mill, Mo.
We had agreed to consign the four best heifers out of our 2017 calf crop, with Teddy or Dave picking the four heifers. Dave’s picks are shown above. Some background on each calf is as follows: Calf 77: Dave didn’t have much trouble selecting this heifer. She was just about everyone’s choice as the top female in the crop. She has a lot more going for her than looks alone. Her dam is Cow 630, a 12-year-old cow we got in 2008 when Martin Turner and Steve Radakovich dispersed their herd of South Poll cows. Her sire is 3413, a bull we refer to as “80-80,” because his top line is 80 inches and his heart girth is 80 inches, and that’s on an empty stomach. When we measure him after being on fresh grass, his heart girth is 85. 630 has been a super producer and 3413 has done a phenomenal job for us. She still has a perfect udder and shows no sign of slowing down. 77 has an older sister, 0666, who looks just like her and will be calving this spring. 77 is solid red, in spite of the fact her dam has considerable white on his face. She weaned at 572. Calf 117 was Dave’s second choice. Her mother is Cow 508, a 10-year-old we raised, and her sire is 3413. 508’s dam was a giant, first-generation cow we bought from Bent Tree in 2005. The first-generation cows – which normally were the product of a Barzona-Hereford cow and Senepol-Angus bull – were almost all big due to heterosis. With each generation the size almost invariably drops. 508’s sire was 1542, a really good old bull we had around until he was about 10, at which age he was still siring some outstanding calves. 117 weaned at 610. 117 has an older sister out of Broadway that is going to be a very good cow. Calf 167 is a remarkable young lady. She’s out of Cow 385, a first-calf heifer sired by Broadway. 167 weaned at 486 and her dam, 385, weighed 765, which means 167 was 63.5% of her dam’s weight. 167’s sire is 3413, “80-80.” A good demonstration of 385’s fertility is the fact she bred back in the first 21 days of the breeding season. We get bulls to wean at more than 60% of their dam’s weight, but it’s rare for a heifer to do so. We did have one other heifer that crossed the 60% threshold, actually coming in at the same figure as 167. When Dave picked this heifer, he was going only on what he could observe. We had not yet calculated the percentage of weaning weight to dam’s weight. All in all, the Broadway heifers were sensational this past year. Of the 18 that calved, 14 bred back in the first 21 days and the four that didn’t make it in the first 21 days, got the job accomplished in the second 21-day period. 787 looks the way you want a heifer to look. Her dam is A-12, a cow sired by Bull 869 and produced in Alabama out of a herd we operate in association with John Lyons. 787 has an older sister, 576, who will have her first calf this spring. 576 stood out as much in the 2016 calf crop as 77 did in 2017. We do not know the sire of 787. Zoetis was unable to make this determination. We will probably submit another hair sample.