As the seasons come and go, the production cycle of the beef herd also changes. Cows calve, calves grow, and replacement heifers are selected. Selecting replacement heifers using production records, herd goals, and available resources can ensure the correct females are staying in the production system.
Evaluating different rations and scenarios as prices and situations change to optimize profits using the resources the farm has available is time well spent. When doing so, it is critical to look at all costs impacted by any ration changes, not just ration cost per ton or feed cost per day, to assess costs and returns accurately.
Interest has grown in utilizing beef sires on dairy females. Beef x dairy cross calves may provide an opportunity to increase revenue from calf sales, and improve feedlot performance, and carcass characteristics. Conversely, crossbred calves may introduce more variability in performance and carcass characteristics compared to their purebred dairy counterparts. In the fall/winter of 2018 […]
It is common practice this time of year to evaluate our cows to make culling decisions, but this is also a good time to evaluate our bulls to determine which sires we are going to feed through the winter and which have come to the end of their genetic contribution to the operation. Bulls, much […]
When visiting farmers with beef cow-calf enterprises during times when feed prices are high, or hay is in short supply, a few will usually make a comment about roughing the cows through the winter. “Roughing the cows through” usually means that the cows must “make do” with the feed on hand or that which can […]
When grain prices are high, there is usually an increase in inquiries from cattle feeders looking for ways to cut production costs. The ration is typically the first place many feeders look for change. Assessing current bunk management practices for adherence to protocol, or implementing changes to improve feed efficiency and reduce waste is another area for consideration.
The decision of selecting what bull to mate to each cow or heifer has long lasting genetics effects in the herd. Sire summaries provide information on traits that are economically important to cattle producers. Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) predict the genetic potential of future offspring of a particular bull, cow or heifer.
High feed costs and limited forage inventories are reasons to consider using pregnancy diagnosis if it is not part of your current herd management. Several pregnancy diagnosis methods are available to beef producers. The real value of pregnancy diagnosis is not finding pregnant cows, but open cows. Identifying open cows early presents an opportunity for herd managers to make decisions.
It may seem a bit premature, but now is the time to ensure enough hay or forages are put away for winter.
Preconditioning beef calves prepares them for a successful weaning and life after they leave home. The goal of your farm’s preconditioning program is to build a health and nutrition plan that meets the buyer’s expectations and includes tasks your farm can achieve.