As I had mentioned on our Facebook page last week, we have lots of big new changes coming in the next month or so. One of those changes is switching from artificial insemination to live service on our cows.
AI gives us the option of using a variety of genetics and having more control, but we're not set up to do it ourselves and it can get expensive and time consuming to try to keep everything going. The easiest way to AI a herd like ours is to use a device called a CIDR and a few hormone injections to get all the cows cycling together. When we were talking about doing three or four cows a year this was fine, but for breeding beef cows that aren't tame this gets way too exciting pretty fast.
This year we decided to use our money from the Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program to buy a bull. The boy we chose is a two year old Red Angus/Maine Anjou cross from Ebersole Cattle Company down in Kellerton, Iowa. He's looking great on a grass-based diet and will hopefully throw lots of healthy, happy calves for us.