Addition by Subtraction

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Balloon teats are one example of an unsound udder. Udder problems affect milk production and consumption that in turn, impact weaning weights.

Weaning time is an excellent time to evaluate your cow herd and decide which cows get to remain in your herd as productive females. If they are not being productive for you, they need to be replaced by heifer calves retained from within the herd or by purchased bred females.

Cows and heifers leave operations for a variety of reasons. Ask a room full of cow-calf producers for the key reasons to cull a female from the herd. I would feel confident that the reasons would include any or all of the following factors: 1. Age or bad teeth; 2. Continue reading

First-Calf Heifers Require Different Management

– Jason Smith, University of Tennessee

First-calf heifers. Let’s face it – we all struggle with them at least to some degree. And it’s an issue that we face not just here in Tennessee, but across the entire country. If one comes up open, we’re faced with one of two choices. The first (and recommended) is to sell her, which will generally result in an overall loss on that female. The second would be to keep her, and try again next year. Will she get pregnant after a year off? Maybe. But how many of us can operate a profitable bed and breakfast where our guests don’t pay? Most of us can’t – myself included. So if neither of these are viable options, what is? Being proactive at preventing the issue. But before we address ways of doing that, there are few fundamental concepts that are important to understand.

So why are they so dang hard to get bred back? Or, come preg-check time, why is it that the majority of the open cows are coming Continue reading

The Benefits of Pregnancy Diagnosis

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

We are entering an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  They have started or soon will be weaning their spring-born calves.  Weaning is an excellent time to prepare the calf crop to become herd replacements or for future marketing opportunities by implementing health programs and transitioning to feed rations.  It is also a great time to determine the pregnancy status of the breeding herd.  Management practices for both these groups can go a long way to determine the ultimate profitability of herd.

The factor that should ultimately sort a female to the keep or cull pen is pregnancy status.  The three primary methods used Continue reading

Helping Fall-calving Cows and Heifers During the Calving Process

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Fall calving season is (or soon will be) upon ranches that have fall and winter 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 from 2 to 4 hours. “Stage II” is defined as that portion of the birthing process from the first appearance of the water bag until the baby calf is delivered. Research data from Oklahoma State University and the USDA experiment station at Miles City, Montana clearly show that Stage II is much shorter, lasting Continue reading

“Preg” Check and Cull “Open” Replacement Heifers

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Many ranchers choose to breed the replacement heifers about a month ahead of the mature cows in the herd. In addition, they like to use a shortened 30 to 60-day breeding season for the replacement heifers. The next logical step is to determine which of these heifers failed to conceive in their first breeding season. This is more important today than ever before.

The bulls were removed from the replacement heifers about 60 days ago, therefore, this would be an ideal time to Continue reading

Late Summer Temperatures Shorten Gestation Length of Fall-calvers

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Each year in August, it is time for an important reminder. Fall-calving season is here. In fact, the start of the fall calving season often begins before some producers expect it. The target date for the beginning of fall calving very often is September 1. Most printed gestation tables predict that calving will take place 283 days (some 285 days) after artificial insemination or natural breeding. Cows and heifers that gestate in hot weather will often calve a few days earlier than Continue reading

The Pulling of the Bulls

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Some of you are probably familiar with the phrase “The Running of the Bulls.”  This phrase has Spanish roots and has its origins from the need to transport cattle from fields in the country to the closest markets for sale.  Over the years, producers tried to speed the process by hurrying and exciting the cattle to market and it actually became a competition.

This process eventually moved to the bullfighting arena.  Bulls needed to be moved from fields outside the city to the local arena for bull fights.  During these runs, youngsters would run amongst the bulls to show their bravery.  These runs are still traditionally held in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and France with the most famous event held in Pamplona, Spain.

Today, modern beef producers are certainly encouraged to use husbandry practices that are safer for humans and animals alike.  However, I am Continue reading

Keeping Cows Pregnant Through the Summer

– Dr. Justin Rhinehart, Assistant Professor, UT Beef Cattle Extension Specialist

In previous articles, we’ve talked about how to concentrate your breeding season and how much value that adds to your calf crop each year. But, getting cows bred is only part of the story. Keeping them bred, especially through the summer months, also takes attention to detail.

In normal situations where the bull is fertile and covers cows at the right time, fertilization rates approach 100%. So, if a normally expected single-service conception rate is 60-80%, the difference comes from embryonic or fetal loss. Most of this loss occurs in the first few days of development and those cows or heifers come back in heat and Continue reading

Marketing Considerations During the Breeding Season

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is announcing an event of potential interest for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle.  On Friday evening, November 24, the OCA will be hosting their fifth annual Replacement Female Sale.  The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2017 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state.  Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers.  Females must be Continue reading

Effects of Nutrition Changes Following Artificial Insemination

– Written by Christina Mogck under the direction and review of George Perry, SDSU Extension Beef Reproductive Management Specialist

Nutritional stress following artificial insemination (AI) has been reported to have negative effects on conception rates. This decrease in conception rates could be from an increase in embryonic mortality due to nutritional stress following breeding. When considering heifer development strategies, it may be important for a producer to consider nutritional stress from changes in the diet following breeding, and this nutritional stress could be initiated by Continue reading