Demand More When Buying a Herd Sire

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Bull buying season is well underway throughout the cow-calf regions across the country. If your calving season starts in January, you may have already made your herd sire selections for this year’s breeding season. If your calving season starts a bit later, you may be in the midst of making herd sire selections. If you have yet to make your bull buying decisions, there are plenty of opportunities available in the immediate future through public auction or private treaty.

As an Extension professional and a seedstock producer, one of the most interesting discussions I can have with a producer is Continue reading

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

Improving Cow Herd Reproduction Via Genetics

– Wade Shafer, Ph.D., American Simmental Association Executive Vice President (This article was originally published in March 2008 issue of the SimTalk written by Wade Shafer, Ph.D. Drs. Lauren Hyde and Jackie Atkins provided updates for this reprint)

A beef cow’s job is not an easy one. She is expected to conceive at slightly over one year of age, to calve by the time she is two, and rebreed shortly after that while weaning a healthy, viable calf. Furthermore, we demand that she consistently repeats this cycle for the rest of her life – one stumble and, hasta la vista, baby!

To be sure, producers are best served when the cow successfully performs her task for many years, as the longer her productive life, the more profitable she is to the enterprise. Is there anything that can be done to help her out? Certainly, there are 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

Behind the Static, 560-lb. Weaning Weights

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

It looks like weaning weights have gone pretty much nowhere for 15 years. That’s according to a summary of North Dakota State University’s Cow Herd Appraisal of Performance Software (CHAPS) that presents genetic progress as functionally static since 2003. I couldn’t miss that summary, well-publicized and pointed out by just about every contact and source I know.

Static being a relative term – there were fluctuations in the data – weaning weight hovered around 560 pounds (lb.), weaning age was 193 days and average daily gain was 2.5 lb. Seeing the flat trends, author Kris Ringwall suggests genetic progress in the commercial cow-calf sector is “mature.”

The topic came up during a “Bull-Pen Session” at the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Cheyenne, Wyo., in December, where the discussion suggested the beef industry has gone astray, utilizing growth genetics while failing to 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

OCA Replacement Female Sale Nears

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

This is a reminder to attend the fifth annual Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale.  The sale will be held Friday, November 24 at the Muskingum Livestock facility located at 944 Malinda Street in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m. The sale represents an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to add quality young replacement females to their herd.

At the time of this writing, there are 83 lots selling in the sale.  These lots consist of Continue reading

Common Sense and the Cow Herd

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

I tend to oversimplify things – or at least try to break them down to their simplest components. Let’s take the cow herd, for example. The cow is the factory that takes raw inputs (like grass) and turns them into a product, – which for most of us is a feeder calf. So the most important thing that she will ever do is to have a live calf. The quality of the calf and how we get there is important too.

Most of the time what is lacking in us as managers is the ability to come up with a good breeding plan and the discipline to stay with it. I remember one producer that would study all of the breed magazines throughout the winter and then pick Continue reading

Poor Temperament Adversely Affects Profit

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

October is a traditional weaning and culling time for spring-calving herds. Weaning for value-added calf sales is already underway. This is a time when producers decide which cows no longer are helpful to the operation and which heifer calves will be kept for future replacements. Selecting against ill-tempered cattle has always made good sense. Wild cattle are hard on equipment, people, other cattle, and now we know that they are Continue reading

Cow Size

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Increasing Mature Body Weight of the United States Cow Herd: There has been a 30% increase in cow mature size over the last 30 years. From 1975 to 2015, cow numbers have decreased by 35%, but beef production has been maintained at a level similar to 1975 In response to the low cow numbers carcass weights have increased. These relationships suggest that the progeny of small cows, similar to the weights observed in the 1950s and 1960s, would not have the potential to produce the carcasses necessary to maintain beef production at the current level with the number of cows currently in the national beef cow herd, unless they take part in a postweaning growing period.

This phenomenon is explained by the increased Continue reading