With the spring bull sales just around the corner, now is the time to spend some time planning for those new purchases.

First of all, evaluate the current herd sire battery for their physical and reproductive soundness, as well as the performance of their progeny.

Once you’ve done that, the following outline will provide some coaching suggestions to establish your game plan:

• Examine Herd Goals: Herd goals serve as the foundation for sire selection and provide guidance as to traits with the most economic importance. Defining the production and marketing system, along with management strategies and environment are key factors.

• Determine Herd Strengths and Weaknesses: Basic records are necessary to identify herd strengths and weaknesses. Performance parameters such as calving percentage, weaning percentage, weaning weights, sale weights, carcass merit, feed usage, etc. are necessary to serve as the basis for assessing areas of strength and those needing attention.

• Establish Selection Priorities: Concentrate on those factors which stand to have the largest impact on profitability. Remember that income is derived from performance which in influenced by both genetics and environment/management. Focus on the handful of priority traits rather than attempting to change many traits simultaneously.