Changes to National Cattle Evaluation Benefits Bulls Buyers in 2018

– Matt Spangler, UNL Associate Professor and Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

National Cattle Evaluation has never been static, and future changes are inevitable as science continues to advance. Photo courtesy of Matt Spangler.

The majority of beef breed associations have made (or are currently making) substantial changes to their National Cattle Evaluation (NCE). These changes ultimately benefit commercial bull buyers by providing improved Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and improved economic selection indices. This brief article is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the changes to NCE by breed organization, but rather to highlight changes in general and the benefits Continue reading

When do we intervene and assist a cow or heifer in labor?

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Before the spring calving season commences, now is the time to put together and post a protocol for family members and hired employees to follow when they find a cow or heifer starting in the process of calving. An issue facing the rancher at calving time, is the amount of time heifers or cows are allowed to be in labor before assistance is given. Traditional text books, fact sheets and magazine articles stated that “Stage II” of labor lasted Continue reading

A Training Camp for Young Athletes?

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

I’ve been thinking about a second career after my retirement from U.K. It should be something different than what I presently do but something which will also allow me to draw on my experience with beef cattle. I’ve got it! I’ll run a training camp for young athletes – maybe aspiring Olympic athletes even. I have the perfect model for my new business venture – and that is the way we presently develop yearling beef bulls for breeding. They’re athletes too, aren’t they? I’ll just use a similar plan for my new venture.

The first thing that I’ll do to get them in shape is Continue reading

Time to Double Check Your Heifer Development Program

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

The first of January is an important “check-point” in spring heifer development programs. The key to proper heifer development lies in understanding the factors that influence conception in yearling heifers. One key factor regulating heifer fertility is age at puberty. Most producers don’t consider age at puberty of their heifers to be a major problem, yet few know how many heifers are actually cyclic at the beginning of the breeding season. A Nebraska study demonstrated that the proportion of heifers that were pubertal on the first day of the breeding season varied greatly over 5 consecutive years in a single a herd. The percentage of heifers that were pubertal on the Continue reading

Use the Numbers When Bull Buying

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The future is now: the bull-buying season.

The future is in the numbers. The future requires knowledge, so study hard.

For me, bull-buying season means bull-buying workshops where I can meet with small groups of producers to look at numbers, the expected progeny differences (EPDs). EPDs have been around a long time, but the utilization of EPDs is still an ongoing process as more producers annually incorporate EPDs into bull selection.

Interestingly, the extent to which EPDs are utilized on individual operations varies widely. However, no better selection tool is available that will help a beef operation meet future goals.

Just as with buying equipment, the spec sheet informs potential buyers what is Continue reading

What are Bulls Worth?

– Reprinted from CattleFax Mid-September 2017 issue of TRENDS, with permission

With winter and spring bull sales are not far away, it is time to start having the discussion about what to look for and how much to pay for a bull by taking a look at both the genetic influence as well as the economic influence to your cowherd.

Every decision that a cow-calf producer makes, with regard to adding/culling cows, which heifers to retain and which bulls to use to breed the cowherd, not only has implications for the following calf crop but has a genetic influence for 5 to 10 years at minimum. These influences accentuate when using Continue reading

Next breeding season starts now

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

We can debate the single largest factor in reproductive success for the cowherd depending on gender: Is there a fertile and able bull in the herd? Are the cows cycling? A failure in either of these systems results in a miserable day come preg-check time, and anyone who has been the victim of a bull gone bad would swear the male side of this equation is the most important. While a fertile bull is important, he is of little use to a cow that is not cycling.

Breeding soundness exams provide a foundation to sort out infertile bulls prior to breeding. On the dam side, we can’t assess reproductive abilities through a single test prior to the breeding season. However, we can Continue reading

Beef Cattle Artificial Insemination School Hosted by OSU Extension

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

Participants will learn techniques for artificial insemination, semen handling, reproductive anatomy and physiology, and will practice inseminating cattle.

Ohio State University and the OSU Eastern Agriculture Research Station (EARS) in Belle Valley will be offering beef cattle artificial insemination (A.I.) school May 1, 2 and 3.  Classes will run from 9 a.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. each day at EARS.

Producers will learn the basics of utilizing Expected Progeny Difference (EPD’s), techniques for artificial insemination, semen handling, reproductive anatomy and physiology, and Continue reading

Cattle Reproduction – Making the Best Use of Available Reproductive Technologies

Licking County Extension is offering a meeting on cattle reproductive technologies designed to help all levels of producers, including the person who is interested in using artificial insemination for the first time, to the person that has used embryo transfer for years. Reproductive technology continues to progress and a lot has changed in the last five years.

We will discuss the topics of estrus synchronization, timed breeding, artificial insemination, sexed semen, embryo transfer, and Continue reading

Preparing Your Cows for A Successful Breeding Season

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

A successful breeding season actually begins with management decisions made prior to calving. As we move into the winter feeding period, cattlemen need to review their management plan to ensure optimal rebreeding and success. Rebreeding efficiency can be optimized by focusing on body condition score (BCS), early assistance during calving difficulty, scheduling a breeding soundness exam for the herd sires, planning their herd reproductive health program, and developing a plan to regulate estrus in their first-calf heifers and late-calving cows.

Reproductive management begins with evaluation and management of Continue reading