What do I look for in a herd bull . . . ?

111515_1507_ForSaleFals2.pngI believe that many breeders make the mistake of thinking that every bull calf born out of good parents will make a quality herd sire. That swapping their bull calf for another’s bull calf will fix or ensure genetic diversity. Make no mistake about it; there are a lot of other characteristics to consider when choosing a prospective herd sire than just having a different bull. Falster Farm doesn’t select our Mini Bull herd sires on their draw in show ring or if someone will trade us their bull calf for one of ours. After the show ring, most animals are unfit for real ranch and a farm breeding life, not by genetics necessarily, but by rearing on high powered forced gains by grain! Fact: he will be short lived, short winded, and if taken off grain, a serious loss of virility ensues. Same for the female show cow. Show animals are a great way to downgrade your herd’s virility and sustainability (proven in my experience.)

Let’s Look um Over . . . What should you look for?

First place to look: A Breeders Reputation is the basis of our cattle ranching heritage. It’s your 1st assurance of quality, and ethics of the breeder, you should consider his guarantees – if any. The STUD BOOK of any registry is only reliable if the governing membership enforces the rules of the organization, and the members adhere

America's #1 Pasture Monthly.
Falster featured in America’s #1 Pasture Monthly.

to those standards. Now, I’m going to make a course statement in a minute about show cattle but it wasn’t always a case of grain fed stock vs. pature finished beef as the driving force for the associations. Be that as it may, the breed association is the basis for the quality and reliability of the pure bred seed stock.

Disposition is a very important trait that I look for. Ninety-nine percent of the time, if the mother cow has a good disposition, so will the calf. I won’t even consider a calf for a herd sire if he is constantly bouncing off the fence and

Horn Weights
Buyers looking over Horn Weights on yearling Mini Hereford Bull KNF CIBOLO

trying to crawl under the gate every time he is brought into the corral pens. Besides that, his mother won’t stay long with that kind of attitude (thus the importance of data base selection records.) My Herd Bulls are not to be feared, but, respected and enjoyed. Even though they are short (just tipping the end of the ear), I train the horns to curve down, they are powerful animals, and they must to have a good disposition. Again, disposition is bred into an animal and is a very important trait when choosing a herd sire prospect. If you can’t work with him, he can hurt you and your stock.

Masculine traits are very important. I want a bull calf that looks like a bull calf and acts like a bull calf. I want to look in his face and know I am looking at a bull. As I observe him out in the pasture, I want to see him following after cows that are in heat. I want to see him butting heads with other calves and

Mini Bull Yearling PRINCE RUPERT
Yearling Mini Bull PRINCE RUPERT

generally acting like a young boy. It’s just like watching boys grow up. They are rolling around, getting dirty, and acting tough and chasing girls even though at the time they wouldn’t know what to do if they caught one. These are early masculine traits that can be observed and noted at an early age. They must be there if he is to be a working Herd Bull. AND here’s one reason why: I’ve had more than one big Brangus bull jump over our fence and try to breed a miniature cow in heat. The herd bull must protect / defend his herd from intruders as well as service them. This is a must with me. I’ve had my bull Dagmar hold off three different bulls over a three year period . . . once he went two days sparing with a Beef Master before I knew the brute was in our pasture. Dagmar’s face was looking like a beaten prize fighter but his momma cows were not damaged, and he healed up soon enough. His get are with us today, and we love um. The winners are seed stock, the loosers taste great. Both have the very best life that can be had living on the land with excellent pasyurage and clean water and minerals.

Physical Conformation too; a good disposition, masculine traits, and a good sire and dam are things you would want in a herd sire prospect of any breed. When I look for a Miniature Registered Hereford or Mini Jersey herd sire prospect, I look for the traits that made our cattle what they are. An overall view of this calf would show me a clean underline with a tight sheath and navel. The testicular development would be normal and adequate with both testicles down and of equal size. A straight top line, adequate length, beefy broad hips, but not overly muscled, small to medium ears and showing good horn growth for his age. I want to see a calf that is healthy and his general appearance is attractive. I’m looking for length of loin and a medium and balanced skeletal structure. A youngster < 14 months will not have the big neck, but the hair should show curly density and the scrotal sac should too. An 18 month old prospect should be showing size in the neck and very curly neck and forehead hair. His sack should look like a ping pong paddle when viewed from the rear. The older he gets the more distance from the body (heat) it should descend. 

From conception to birth and from weaning to yearling, he is a herd sire prospect. But, somewhere along the way, I have to make a decision. Do I have a bull that represents the Miniature Hereford or Jersey breed of cattle and can he pass on the traditional traits to future generations? Is he going to fulfill the breeding plan of our Falster farm? Do I like him? Does my wife want to keep him? Her sense of judgment is very intuitive and I rely on it to “feel” things that are relationship orientated, feelings that I often over look.

My grandpa taught me that the bull was ½ the value of the entire herd. I won’t tell you that story here, but; I’ve learned to be very critical when it comes to choosing herd sire prospects. Unless a bull calf surpasses his sire, that bull ought to be in a pet steer or on some discriminating dining table. A quality herd sire is an expensive, but the most important investment you can make in the cattle business. Anytime you breed undesirable traits you are multiplying those bad traits many times over and polluting future generations. One year of poorly selected breeding can take several years to correct.

Using these guidelines, I, and you will have chosen consistently excellent herd sire prospects. I will closely observe him through weaning and on to breeding age. He will be weighed at weaning and at yearling age. His scrotal measurements will be taken and recorded. At breeding age he will he bred to a good set of heifers, and his production record will have begun. Hopefully, I have made the right choice, and I will have a great Miniature Hereford herd sire.

Karl Emmett Falster, Sr.

Capt. Karl is a lifelong student of Southern Agricultural principals of small family farm sustainability. He and his wife Nancy own and farm Falster Farm on Pasture 365™ in Wood County Texas. He reguarly does consultation services. A former United States Marine, Falster is the CEO of a non-profit organization that teaches Veterans to Farm: WARRIORS THAT FARM®

Honey Bees in Water Meter?

Some folks over in Emory, Texas called the other day saying that Falster Farm had been recommended to them to remove a bunch of honey bees they had in a non-toxic way. After a few questions I agreed it was a case we could do the owners the honey bees and the Falster’s some good. Follwing is a photo journal of the event.

1_Water Meter
Just a regular looking water meter out by the road way. Perhaps you can see the comb showing at the edge of the inspection hole?
2_calm down
I want to calm myself down and make a reasonable presentation – so I put on Young Living Essential Oils “Calming”
2_light smoker
So, I’m calm and I light up my smoker with wood shaving from our farm.
4-Working_smoak
Once I get her light up, a steady smoke is going on. I will lay this smoke on the colony, not blow um up with it. Very Gentle Action.
5_bee_vac
Her you see my home made Bee Vac, this will gently gatjer them up into the basket.
6_opening Meter Cover
Taking my hive tool I slowly open the meter cover to expose them. It is raining and over cast – not a good day to work bees.
7_give a touch of smoak
I lay the smoke on them and they gentle right down.
8_looks good
Looks like we have a good buch of bees and a good bit of stored honey.
9_pretty honeybee comb
I can see this is a new coloney cause the comb is all bright and clean.
10_bee vac
Now I take the vac and gently suck them up. The queen was not seen, The colony went a good ways bac into the ground – very unusal.
11_bee vac more
Not knowing the disposition of the colony and the rain I suited up with gloves, veil, and heavy clothing.
12_more in the back
The bees were so calm, from the influence of the Young Living Oils, I took my gloves off and was very comfortable.

   

Bees Captured and boxing um up.
Captured bees will be added to a weaker colony.
Photo168
I lay a piece of thin paper over the exixting colon and st an empty box over that. I pour the captured ferel bees into the top and cover it. Let it stand for a few days as the two cononeys cut the paper and unite.
Photo169
The honey bees have cut their way through the paper shield over the following weeks and are now united withou a squable.

 I don’t recomend working honey bees on over cast days, but I’ve learned that if you cover yourself (your scent) with the Young Living ‘Calming” esential oil it will help out a lot.

Bees Knees

Inside the Falster Bee Hive
Good stand of bees – making honey

A young man who worked for me in Mississippi used to make an exclamatory statement to the effect “That’s the bees knees.” I was a bee keeper back then too, for about ten years at the time, and thought that was a wonderful thing to say. I had never thought about bees having knees – or should I say I never questioned the statement. But, over the last few years with the advent of so many problems the honey bees are being subject to – well, I’ve started to question such notions as honey bees having knees and bees wings, bee eyes, bee noise and the various parts of bees, their attitude and station in life.

My 1st collegic major was biology with a minor in botany, but my whole effort was botany – I love the flora of this creation and marvel at how reproduction of plants takes place sexually and asexually. The honey bee is man’s greatest non-human partner in the botanical word, and perhaps the keeper of (or a bellwether of) the quality of life in both it’s local and regional area  for him.

Whether one is willing to recognize it or not, there is an underlying cause and support for our physical world: the spiritual world. In my opinion it is not imperative that one recognize or understand the natural world or not, the fact remains that at some point in time, if you live long enough, you will be confronted with the avalanche of natural systems – and events of this age that are temporarily destroying its quality. Frankly we must find the underlying causes and they must be stopped if life at all levels are to continue without interruption  The destruction (temporary decline) of the Honey Bee in all areas of the world (or so I’m told) is one huge portion of the whole picture.

I am wanting to catalog a few points about the honeybee that is not readily considered by folks (beekeepers or not) I’ve met over my some 30 years of keeping them on my property(s) large and small. I believe that these observations will be of value to the individual that is studying/practicing bee keeping as a hobby or commercially and those that are curious about God’s divine order of his creation.

It is not my intent to change anyone’s mind about using any one type of equipment or race of bee, rather to elucidate insights into the bee as a creature created by God, captured by the ancients, domesticated by the moderns, managed for the benefit of all, but for some reason failing to thrive in the here and now.

When a baby bee emerges from the brood comb it crawls into a life in a continuous twilight, into a union of fellows that have security of locomotion by touch, taste, and smell. The young bee needs the barrier of the hive to maintain its communion, harmony and purpose. As it matures it passes through stages (like achieving rank in a military organization) when it eventually flies out to work – it carries that union of twilight with it – in it’s poison; yes, it’s sting. The whole beehive wants to be alone; by, and in itself. The poison the worker bee carries helps the bee retain communion within itself and maintains its twilight sense and status. Frankly, it uses the poison only when it thinks that something external might influence it or the bee hive.

 

 

Howdy Y’all !

Potrate of Capt. Karl
Owner of Falster Farm & Cattle Ranch

Howdy, I’m the Falster at Falster Farm. I’m Karl Emmett Falster, Sr. and I own this place: a land of milk and honey made rich by the hard work of my wife Nancy Gail and me and the many interns and WOOFERS that come to live and learn, blessed by the Providence of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this Blog is to express and offer the transfer of concepts learned mostly by me over my years of growing up to the now — “youth of my old age.” I have several areas of discussion here, all of them important to us, and perhaps some of them will be important or at least of interest to you the reader. Taking time to draft these Monographs is costly. Yet, all I ask is that pay me for my time by commenting on the work as you read it. Knowing that you read it will be enough for now.

Falster Ranching:  My life on the East Texas side.

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I’ve been asked several times by Godly and Patriotic folks if I would recommend that their child join the Armed Forces . . .  War Journal of ZAG