Dairy Programs Specialist Jeff Cochran of Coquille, Oregon, works the southwest corner of the state evaluating cows through the SMS program, managing quite a few beef breeding projects and doing some direct herd sales. His common-sense/no-nonsense approach, along with his years of personal experience owning/operating JBC Jerseys, make him a trusted source with his customers!
“What do I focus on when picking bulls for the mating program or direct sales? The most important thing I consider is listening to what specific goals my customers have. Once I know them, I can help them find bulls that will work for the results they want. As a general rule of thumb, I have mostly organic customers, many of who are looking for moderate sized cows with great fertility. They want good udders, and they want/need strength. Most of my Jersey customers, especially, are also focusing on A2A2 milk, so the bulls I carry are mostly A2 bulls.”
“I like to use a few bulls fairly heavily because it makes it so much easier for everyone involved. It’s easier for the technician, it’s easier for the herd owner to see progress as a few bulls will ultimately make the herd more consistent, and it’s easier for me when switching the bulls for the next round. If we’ve only used a few, we have a lot more to pick from the next time. I like bulls that are balanced and can make a big difference. As I said, I don’t carry a lot of different bulls, but I can tell you that we’re seeing tremendous results in this area from small bull rotation that we’ve been doing!”
“Probably the greatest thing about bull selection is the relationship you get to develop with your customer. I always always always ask what the dairyman wants from their cows first. Nearly every time, they know what they want. They might not know the bulls it would take to get them there, but they do know where they want to go. I’ve got the ability to give them an outside, unbiased opinion on what bulls would work best for their genetic puzzle, and that’s really exciting!”
What’s in Jeff’s tank?
7HO12212 HONEYBEE – he lines up really well in the mating program
7HO11752 BOB – a no-holes bull
7HO9925 YANCE – I had a few customers who went from conventional to organic a few years ago, and they needed some strength – he’s a great bull for that
7JE1219 OLIVER-P – a great way to get away from dehorning…and he makes good cows!
7JE1411 WINDSTAR – I have one fresh (pictured below), and I can’t wait to see more!