One thing that sets the beef industry apart from all other animal agriculture industries is that there is no set breeding program and/or universal cattle breed. Then within a breed there is about as much genetic variation as there is between the breeds. Every breeder of livestock has his/her own reason for choosing the bulls they use; we are no different. Because we calve in May/June, which is right before peak grass growth here in the Peace, we have an interesting set of circumstances to deal with.
First of all: We hate having multiple breeding herds because it interferes with managing our pastures. So we graze all our pairs as one herd. This allows us to have a high intensity; short duration grazing system with long periods of rest. The result has been an increase in the carrying capacity and better health of our pastures. To get around the problem of one big herd which one bull cannot cover we rely on AI for the first 21 days of the breeding season. This way over 3/4's of the cows are bred before the herd sire gets a chance. We used to use the CIDR technology for synchronization of our mature cows with not bad results. However CIDR's were labor intensive, stressful on cows, hard on the bull (when all the cows that did not catch from the AI came around in a 4 day window) and most of all: it costs money. Now we use visual heat detection and are getting even better AI conception rates and I am paying myself to do it.
The AI bulls we use all have history with a high degree of accuracy. We don't like to use a new up and coming AI Sire and find out 4 years down the road that there is no longevity in the females or his accuracy in birth weights is out of whack. AI also lets us balance cows that may be too far to one direction. With a certain trait it is possible to bring her back to centre with a sire that offsets her. If I feel a cow has too much milk, I will balance her off with a bull that is marginal for milk. Maybe I am out to lunch but if you want easy keeping cows, which can survive on low quality roughages too much milk, will quickly put an end to that idea. We also keep a good eye on yearling weights. If they get too high, they usually are coupled with an increase in frame score, which again means an end to easy keeping cows. On the flip side we cannot afford to get to small. The North American feeding industry is based on cattle that can be taken to the maximum carcass weight without over fattening. The merits of this can be debated for hours, however that's the way it is for now and we can not loose focus on that.
Our in house Spirit View Herd Sires all come from Elite cows within our herd. The dams of these sires are 1200 - 1300 lbs and always care good to excellent flesh at weaning. They are all very feminine, at least 8 years old or older, have perfect udders and feet and they are all the type that every rancher wishes he had 100 of. Because these bulls are not used till they are 2 years of age - they have no problem covering the rest of the cows that I did not catch. All our yearling heifers are bred by Spirit View Herd Sires. This is due to logistical reasons and I know the bulls have me beat in terms of services to conception on heifers and so I won't fight it.
I was once told, "There is nothing wrong with doing something - as long as you can justify what you are doing; if you are doing something simply because someone else is doing it - it can not be justified"!