PUREBRED REGISTERED HORNED HEREFORD CATTLE
CURRENT AND PAST HERD SIRES
The Herd Sires used at Sparks Herefords are mostly home-raised and must meet all expectations for breeding, including semen testing each year.
Some AI is used, but most breeding is accomplished by bulls from within the herd and a couple from outside the genetics of this herd. It is a challenge to find herd bulls with any line breedings which Sparks' feel increases consistency in the herd. The principles of Bonsma are noted and studied as they relate to livestock efficiency and reproductivity.
Actual birth weights are taken for each calf. Heifer and steer calves are dehorned. Calves are pre-conditioned in the fall and weaned about six weeks later. All calves are generally held over until the following spring; steers and culled heifers are either sold or kept as grass cattle. Replacement yearling heifers generally go out to summer pasture the end of May. The breeding season is for 45 days beginning June 25.
Bull calves are wintered on hay and a ration of pellets that include grain and protein. They are fed to gain 2.5lb/day and have a 40 acre pasture to walk every day. Sparks Herefords are striving to grow a bull whose feet and structure will remain sound for many years. Bull calves have their horns shaped with weights during their approximate ages of 9-11 months old. Feeding the bull calves in a corral and working them through the chute for horn weights allows the bulls to be comfortable around people. Prospective sale bulls are culled many times before they reach the coming-2-year-old sale; sale bulls have proven that they can gain, grow, semen test, and have a good disposition.