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On the 15th day of Christmas, 13 red bulls and pickles

I spent part of my Christmas break buying bulls. A guy tries
to get a rest from the demands of being “all knowing” about the livestock
industry, but when your brother-in-law asks you for help in buying bulls and
you’re staying at his place, you go.

We went to Big Rock Simmentals at Creston, B.C. about an
hour west of Cranbrook to look at a nice pen of yearling red Simmental bulls.

This is the farm of Larry and Charlene Rast. They’ve been raising polled and
horned, fullbood and purebred Simmentals for years. Larry also grows, sells and
trucks hay, and apparently Charlene has developed a successful business too
called The Pickle Patch. She grows and cans (pickles) cucumbers and other
vegetables, producing dilled, sweet, and spiced pickles and pickled eggs. All
natural products, which have earned a good market.

Bulls .jpeg

But, back to the bull business. So what makes a good bull? I
always prefer the ones that don’t limp, and also ones that don’t chase you when
you are in the pen with them. And Larry had bulls that passed both of these
important tests.

Sure you can throw out a bunch of numbers known as EPEDS or something like that,
but I think color is important. Go with a red one. Okay, they are all red, so

let’s look for markings. Now we are making progress — red bulls that don’t
limp, don’t chase you, and they have an attractive white blaze on their
forehead. Must be a good bull.

Actually, my brother-in-law, Joe, is more of a numbers guy.
And Big Rock has some good numbers. Polled bulls in this pen of 13 with an
average birth weight of 99 pounds and a 205-day weaning weight of 812. That’s
an average daily gain of 3.38 pounds. They are not necessarily low birth weight
bulls, but do have a good build for calving ease.

Bulls Larry Rast.jpeg

And if you look at the EPDs, I guess those numbers are good
too. Average birth weight EPD of 3.1; Calving ease of 2.8; Weaning weight of
35.7; yearling weight of 59.1; and a milk EPD of 7.6.

Joe made his selection and confirmed the deal with Larry.

The bulls will stay at Big Rock for the winter, for delivery to Kootenay River
Ranch at Fort Steele, closer to spring. Larry only sells private treaty, with
prices ranging from $2,400 to $3,000 per bull.

So that was my bull buying mission. Glad I was able to offer
my years of experience to this important decision. And as payment, Joe bought
me a Dilly Bar at the Creston Dairy Queen, which made for a nearly perfect day.

If you need to talk to Big Rock Simmentals about bulls,
contact Larry (pictured at right)  at (250) 428 8980, or email [email protected] . For more
information on the Pickle Patch phone Charlene at the same number or email: [email protected]

I think if you buy a bull they throw in a free jar of
pickles, but I’m not sure if you buy pickles if they throw in a free bull.
Doesn’t hurt to ask.

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in
Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

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About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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