BSG Breeding & Marketing Philosophies

Herd Evaluation: There is More to BSG Stockmanship

Shorthorn’s Ever-Important Eye Appeal is Crucial, But Style Needs Substance…

Who says you can’t have cattle that are industry applicable and still make people stop and turn their head? Sadly, too many say this. Although there seems to be a growing divergency in what many have coined “Show vs. Commercial,” we work tirelessly to create an animal worthy of both. We find that cattle bred for generations only off of paper are about as stout as a piece of paper. We want to be proud of what is in our pastures, so the stock have to be visually eye appealing. We have judged cattle shows in three countries and viewed beef herds from North America to South Africa to Australasia. We mandate structural integrity for the longevity of the cow herd. But it is well evidenced that cattle bred strictly off of “look” with little regard to data inherit terminal traits, like poor calving and huge mature size, at a scary fast rate; they are simply below average for maternal function regardless of how attractive they look as virgin heifers.

Luke evaluating cattle in Canada.

At BSG we take the nature of balance seriously and we hope you do too.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Luke evaluating cattle in Australia.

A favorite quote that serves as a reminder when making genetic decisions. This quote was coined by the founders of the American Simmental Association sometime in the late 1960’s, but it certainly applies today. We have converted it to fit for our Shorthorns.

“Visual analysis tells you what a Shorthorn appears to be.
Their pedigree tells you what they should be.
Their performance and progeny tests tell you what they actually are.”

Pretty IS as Pretty DOES…

We reside in Indiana, so basketball is important to us. Like a successful basketball coach looks at a future player’s performance stats before allowing them to make the team, we look deeper than visual appearance when recruiting for “Team BSG.” When it comes to procuring sires, selecting replacement females, and applying our keep/cull decisions on the cow herd, the animals have to have a total skill set to make the cut.

Consider this:

  • Are all tall guys or gals good basketball players? No. (Luke is the perfect example)
  • Are all who wear cowboy hats ranchers? No.
  • Are all attractive women good mothers? No.

So therefore, we can assume, not all sleek necked, deep ribbed, wide hipped heifers are going to make quality, “maternal” cows. How do we predict who the good ones will be? First, you’ve got to learn how to read genetic profiles. Genetic evaluation combined with analyzing pedigree, production records and operation integrity, you’ve got to learn to trust in the data predictions (EPDs & Indexes). You see, we naturally assume that visual appearance controls maternal ability, but it clearly does not. Again, just as with Indiana’s favorite pastime – basketball – height does not control shooting ability or teamwork or overall player performance.

Breeding Tools for Higher Profits

Maternal Heterosis

We recognize and encourage the use of Shorthorn genetics in composite breeding systems, both commercial and registered seedstock, to promote the function of maternal heterosis. Vigor, fertility, and cow longevity are crucial to the cow/calf producer’s bottom line.

Breed Complementarity

It is critical that producers recognize that there is much more to making composite cattle better than just the effects of heterosis. Breed complementarity is paramount in making better beef cattle and the BSG-prefixed Shorthorns can compliment any breed out there for maternal calving easy, docility, stayability, marbling, and yield grade.

Genomically-Enhanced Genetic Evaluation

We appreciate, contribute to, and encourage others to use the largest and most powerful beef cattle genetic evaluation in the world, International Genetic Solutions (IGS) Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation. Without the power to analyze genetic thresholds across breeds, we could not elevate our herd to the competitive level it is today. With the power of IGS genomically enhanced EPDs, we can create a vision of the future like we never could before.

Economic Selection Indexes

We fully engage the 80-year-old science of economic selection indexes into our breeding program. The incorporation of our in-house maternal index, $Durham, allows us to identify the most maternally profitable, superior Shorthorn sires to inject into all of our breeding protocols. We also keep the American Shorthorn Association’s $Feedlot index in consideration with our sire analysis.

Want to know more of what’s on our mind?
Check out our blog, the Bowman Banter.

The BSG-prefixed Shorthorn means something to the people in the greater beef industry.

We believe that the modern Shorthorn-cross female is what the greater beef industry is presently looking for. The composite cow has many advantages over any straight bred cow. Breed complementarity and heterosis cannot be achieved with a straight bred, no matter how well she ranks within her given purebred population. It is well proven that composite females provide more fertility and longevity to a cow/calf operation. Stayability, a trait our herd excels at, is the single most important economic trait for cow/calf producers as it calls for a lower replacement rate. Modern Shorthorn cows are now more moderate for mature size on average than both Angus and Hereford, meaning lower maintenance and reduced replacement costs according to data reported by the USDA Meat Animal Research Center. This is further evidence that modern Shorthorns are providing a great option for maternal crossbreeding.

Yearling BSG-Prefixed Composite Bull

The BSG-prefixed animal has maternal calving ease, stayability and do-ability built in with the added bonus of exceptional meat quality & increased beef value through additional marbling. We have spent 20 years developing Shorthorn and Shorthorn composite cattle that provide value to the cattle industry.

Whether you are looking to add the whole suite of complimentary maternal traits of superior Shorthorn genetics to your registered herd or are wanting to increase the productivity and longevity of your commercial operation, BSG-prefixed bulls and females offer the full gamut of excellence that today’s industry needs more than ever. We breed cattle with our customer’s profit as our #1 target.

If you have any questions about the BSG herd please feel free to call us or stop by for a tour of our program.

Building and Marketing Sustainable Seedstock:

Bull & Heifer Development Methodology
We recognize that if less emphasis is put on body condition of yearling bulls and females at the time of sale, breeding animals can be grown out to increase performance, fertility, and longevity. We prefer to grow future seedstock on a high-fiber, zero-starch (no corn) diet in order to not mask flaws or give the wrong perception of fleshing ability.

Our next generation of breeding animals are grown slowly matching an optimal growth curve, not maximum weight gain. Generally, our customers do not need bulls or replacement heifers until May or later in the summer, therefore we aren’t trying to push animals to be over conditioned by 12 months of age.

Creep Feeding
We try not to creep feed the calves while still on the cows. While some never have to put out a creep feeder, generally their pastures are bigger with less grazing pressure, or a lower stocking rate. If a creep feeder goes out to the pasture is most generally due to a dry summer or Phil is about to wean the calves. Creep feeds are most generally the same as the growing diets for the weaned seedstock, primarily soybean hulls.