Replacement cow traits affect producer success.

Author: Kristy

Clay Wright, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation  |  Updated: 01/09/2014



Many producers who reduced cow  numbers in the  recent drought years  are considering  adding females to  their herds again. At  current replacement  female prices, we have to do everything possible to enable the cows to  cover their initial cost over time and to  set them up for success.

There are general and specific criteria that should come into play when selecting cows to bring into the herd. The new cows must fit the goals, product and marketing end point, and the operation’s environment. The environment is not only climate, but also soil/forage/water resources, infrastructure, personnel and management. New (and existing) cows should be expected to wean a desirable calf every 365 days, have an acceptable disposition and stay in the herd for as long as possible. Here are a few considerations I think are vital to think through as new purchases are contemplated.

• New females should be in a stage of reproduction to calve early in or preceding your calving season. A defined, 60- to 90-day calving season simplifies and optimizes all aspects of management, including the health program, nutrition and marketing. It usually will reduce labor and feed costs, allow flexibility in forage management, and increase calf uniformity and value. Further, cows calving early in the calving season will wean bigger calves. READ MORE

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