Cow Disposition Affects Pregnancy Rate

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Now we have another good excuse to cull cows due to bad temperament. Producers that routinely breed cows artificially realize that cows that are unruly and nervous are less likely to conceive to artificial insemination.

Presumably the lowered conception rates were because they have been stressed as they are passed through the working facilities and restrained while being synchronized and inseminated. Now it seems that, even in the serenity of a natural breeding pasture, cows with bad dispositions are less likely to conceive Continue reading

A Breeding Soundness Exam: Insurance for Your Breeding Season

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

I received the call on Monday. I seem to receive this call 6-8 times each year. This particular rancher had just finished getting his cows diagnosed for pregnancy. He had 43 fall calving cows. Last fall, these cows were synchronized for artificial insemination and were exposed to one bull for about 5 weeks and a second bull for 7 weeks. Only 22 cows conceived and all of them conceived to the AI. The first question I asked this rancher was the obvious one; did you get a breeding soundness exam (BSE) performed on your bulls? His response; the bulls Continue reading

Effective Management of the Breeding Season

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

For spring-calving beef herds, the breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  Many decisions have already been made in terms of the genetic makeup of the 2018 calf crop.  Natural herd sires or sires to be used through artificial insemination have been selected.  Mature cows have been retained and replacement heifers have been introduced to the breeding herd.  Hopefully the genetic decisions that have been made will prove profitable when next year’s calf crop is sold.

Nearly every beef specialist or researcher that I am familiar with will tell the cow-calf producer that reproduction is the Continue reading

Moving Late Calving Cows Up in the Breeding Season

– Bethany Johnston & Jay Jenkins, Nebraska Extension Beef Educators

As the end of the calving season nears for many cattlemen, the last few cows in the heavy pen seem to last forever. Those late calvers are doing more than dragging out the calving season. They are costing you money. Their young calves are usually lighter at weaning, late calving cows usually rebreed later or not at all.

How can you move up a late calving cow in the breeding season? The answer is a CIDR. CIDR stands for Continue reading

Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.

Nutrition

However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Preparing Cows for Breeding

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

A successful breeding season actually begins with management decisions made at calving.  Cattlemen can impact rebreeding efficiency 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 Continue reading

Bull Shopping Season!

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (this article was published previously in the Ohio Farmer magazine at ohiofarmer.com)

Bull buying season is well underway throughout the cow-calf regions across the country.  Producers are constantly reminded of this through sale catalogs in the mail, glossy magazine advertisements, and social media posts.  These promotional efforts may make it seem like the Christmas shopping season has returned.  Both of these “shopping seasons” can be equally confusing and frustrating for the buyer that is uninformed and unprepared.

As an Extension professional and a seedstock producer, one of the most interesting discussions I can have with a producer is reviewing their thoughts on what they are Continue reading

Gestation Length: Calves Arrive Sooner Than They Used To

– Justin Rhinehart, University of Tennessee Extension

What is the gestation length of a cow? This question usually gets the answer of “it averages 283 days.” A better answer is “it can range from about 265 to as much as 295 days.” For breeds that have focused on low birthweight genetics for several generations, the average gestation length has shortened. But, there are several other factors that can shorten or lengthen gestation notwithstanding genetics.

Before considering those factors, it is important to learn what actually triggers the calving process. Since the calf has Continue reading

OSU Beef Cattle Artificial Insemination School

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

Ohio State University Extension and the OSU Eastern Agriculture Research Station (EARS) in Belle Valley will be offering beef cattle artificial insemination (A.I.) school April 25, 26, & 27, 2017.  Classes will run from 9 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. each day at EARS. Producers will learn the basics of utilizing Expected Progeny Difference (EPD’s), techniques for artificial Continue reading

The 3 Stages of Parturition

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

As the spring calving season approaches, an increased understanding of the parturition process is helpful. The more we understand about the physiology of the process, the more likely we are to make sound decisions about providing assistance. Parturition or “calving” is generally considered to occur in three stages.

Stage 1: The first stage of parturition is dilation of the cervix. The normal cervix is tightly closed right up until the cervical plug is completely dissolved. In stage 1, cervical dilation begins Continue reading