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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:17 pm

So would your average birth date be April 5th or later? depends the % you get first cycle. Certainly makes for more of a comparison if mine had an extra 30 days on the cow they would be 60lbs + heavier which would makes the calves a comparable weight. I guess we are still "less efficient" though as our cows will average close to 1400lb although that's made up of an uneven mix of heavier older cows, some of which are cross-bred versus the younger "current type" which are lighter and will have lower mature weights.
I can sure see the trade off between my older simmy x cows that wean a heavy calf but eat a lot more and the smaller "grass type" easier wintered cows that wean smaller calves.
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:29 pm

Maybe producers could adjust the weaning wts to a bull calf at 205 days of age and be sure to add the age of cow adjustment to a mature cow equivalent......

Then, producers could adjust the cow weight to a BCS of 5......

Then, somehow, producers could adjust for reproduction???????????

Then, producers could determine if this "efficiency" is highly correlated to your profit......
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df



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:30 pm

Tom D wrote:
Running them thru the shoot and retagging them can effect their disposition for quite awhile, if not permanently.



I have trained some girls in low-stress stockmanship methods.......Dylan Biggs could help with this as well.
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Oldtimer

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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:36 pm

My first calf was born March 15th- the last came May 10th...Weaned/weighed Nov. 2nd this year... I don't weigh individual cows every time I turn around- but do know the difference between 1100 and 1400 lbs...I've bought and sold a lot of cows over the years- inspected and weighed up thousands- and sell enough of these as midage bred cows (usually around the 1st of December at the Stockyards where they are weighed up when sold), so I know pretty close what they weigh...


Heres a young cow with her steer calf in 08-- that she finally got so fighty she went to the ring in Dec 2010...Steers averaged 611 that year- and her calf was one of the higher weighing in the average pen when I sold them the first week of Nov.... She weighed 1019 Lbs as a bred cow the first week of December 2010...

Quote :

This and the next picture are of a heifer that will never make it out of the 4 frame category- out of the double bred 6807/Bolton of Wye bull I had, and a little hereford cow- and her first calf...This is the one that if I had my druthers, I'd love to have 200 of- and as much as she hates dogs- I guarantee no coyote will ever get her calf... Rolling Eyes


Same heifer with her 600+ lb March steer calf

Quote :
Heres a couple of older cows that weighed about 1250...



A 9 year old daughter of Galpin Tribute 830 # 13133018 -(son of Miner Tribute 705 ).......


Another older Tribute cow and her calf..

While looking thru 5-Bar X for those pictures I found one of the ND articles:

Quote :

Size Matters In The Cow Calf Business



Economies of scale are an important consideration for any business and can lead to greater profitability. However if that greater scale principle is applied to individual cow weights on the ranch we quickly find out that bigger is not better.



Variation in individual cow weights in the U.S. is up to 1,000 pounds. It is not uncommon to see variation of this magnitude in any given herd, even relatively small herds. Kris Ringwall of North Dakota State University recently reported in Beef Talk that the mature weight of 102 cows in two herds at the Dickinson Research Extension Center in Dickenson, ND ranged from 856 to 1935 pounds. These cattle are actually in two herds with average weights of 1216 and 1571 pounds, respectively and are likely representative in size of not only cattle in North Dakota but the entire U.S.



Dr. John Paterson found similar magnitude in the variation in cow size among the Montana ranches participating in the Montana Beef Network. One of the ranches we visited near Big Timber had an average cow weight of well over 1300 pounds. The heaviest cow was just over 1900 pounds. To their surprise when they weaned her calf it weighed 305 pounds. That is not a heavy enough calf to pay that cow’s winter-feed bill let alone the entirety of her annual expenses. Not surprisingly the ranch manager punched her ticket for a trip on the first truckload of cull cows to the cow processor. Frankly we have countless cows across the U.S. that are high-cost and inefficient that need to be removed the production system.



If the objective of our cow calf operations is to produce a calf that weighs between 550 and 650 pounds at 7 months of age of a quality and type to fit into our growing and finishing systems as economically as possible then how does mature weight of the cow impact that objective? One would logically expect that larger cows are more capable of producing large calves than small cows, but at what cost?



We expect a cow to wean a calf that is close to 50% of her mature weight every 365 days. This is a reasonable goal that is achieved in the more efficient operations. If a good cow can produce 50% of her body weight in the form of a calf every year then we don’t need cows that weigh in excess of 1300 pounds. Cows in commercial cow/calf operations that weight over 1300 pounds are increasingly challenged to produce at this rate.



Increasing cow size has a point of diminishing returns. At some point an increase in mature weight no longer returns a sufficient return in increasing calf weight to offset the cost of the heavier cow. As cows increase in weight they have an increasingly difficult time weaning a calf that will equal 50% of their body weight. Very seldom does a 1500-pound cow wean a 750-pound calf let alone a 1900-pound cow weaning a 950-pound calf.



Of course weaning weight of a calf is more a result of a cow’s milking ability than her size. In our quest to increase, and subsequently select for, weight gain performance we have correspondingly selected for increased mature size as the two are highly correlated. This selection for growth in heifers over maternal qualities in retaining replacements has led to larger cows that consume more increasingly costly forage with marginal improvements in weaning weight productivity.



These larger cows may possess the genotype to produce very large calves, but the nutritional environment required to support that production is the exception not the rule on most ranches. Large cows have higher nutritional requirements, require more supplementation and thus incur higher input costs to maintain productivity. At today’s prices for hay, supplement and mineral it is estimated that for every 100 pounds of mature weight an additional $15-$20 is required per year in costs for those three inputs alone.



In addition, the larger cows consume more forage during the grazing season. That extra 100 pounds increased dry matter intake by approximately 1.83 pounds per day during the grazing season at the NDSU research facility in Dickenson. Depending on the length of the grazing season that would amount to between 200 and 300 pounds of additional dry matter per cow for each 100 pounds increase in body weight.



Using the1.83 pounds of forage per day the annualized forage dry matter requirement difference for the 100-pound difference in body weight is 668 pounds. The difference in average body weight of the NDSU herds is 355 pounds. Assume those two herds each contains 50 cows and the difference in forage dry matter required annually is 118,570 pounds or nearly 60 tons. Sixty additional tons for those fifty larger cows is not economically sustainable. How do you suppose those two herds will each respond to drought conditions?



The logical next question, how many additional cows can you run on 60 tons of forage? If the cows in the herd that averaged 1216 pounds consume on average 2.3% of their body weight per day then during the year each cow will consume a total of 10,208 pounds of forage or just over five tons. This means that the extra forage the larger herd is consuming could support nearly 12 more cows that weigh 1200 pounds, which is a 24% increase.



We may not want to increase our herd by that amount, as there are other variables, e.g. capital financing, cash flow, etc., that must be considered in managing the business. But certainly stocking rate could be increased moderately while still maintaining a forage reserve that improves the grazing resource and allows for reserves during drought.



With increasing production costs, especially those associated with nutrition, the size of our cows must be addressed. It is well established that small and medium sized cows in crossbreeding systems are more economically efficient than large sized cows. The fact is cows that are too large, and there are plenty of them in our production systems, are costing our producers millions of dollars in higher maintenance and production costs.



The challenge is in managing our way to more moderately sized cows. It is easy enough sending a large cow to town, but how do we know we are not just replacing her with a heifer out of the herd of the same kind? Retaining heifers out or the herd gets us what we already have. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Like begets like.



We will need to locate replacement females with genetics for moderate size and as high in maternal traits as is sustainable in the production environment. One way to do that is to locate bulls that meet these new requirements and breed them to moderate sized cows with above average maternal traits (the smaller cows that produce big calves and breed back within a controlled breeding season) within the herd and use only the heifers from those for replacements.



In effect we are creating a herd within a herd managed for the purposes of supplying the most efficient female. The challenge here is finding enough of those cows within the herd to provide the replacement heifers needed annually. Initially we might need to seek replacement females from outside of the cowherd that have been bred for moderate size and sound maternal traits.



Given the importance of mature cow size and its relationship to economic productivity it stands to reason that producing efficient replacement females is paramount to the success of a cow/calf operation. The business of breeding and selling heifers of this type is becoming increasingly important.



In today’s economic environment arguably the most valuable piece of equipment on a cow/calf operation is a good set of scales. Size does matter, so what do your cows weigh?



Source: Bryan McMurry, Ph.D., Cargill Ag Nutrition

I'm hoping to get some of the last of the bigger framed/1400-1500 lb cows sold the first week of December at a local bred cow sale... Why keep a hayburner around when the smaller/lighter weight cows can raise about as big a calf on less groceries....
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:39 pm

Oldtimer wrote:
MKeeney wrote:
OT,
So dangerous to suggest...so let`s spell it out...
the efficiency is in the system, not in the individual...

AMEN-- but if you get an individual that over excels (1100 lb cow that consistently weans off 60% of their body weight) do you just cull them- or do you try to work that into the system ?...
I'd cull the shit out of her...can't have no over excelling cows...makes you look stupid for owning the rest of them!

GF, follow df's advise...adjust them numbers on up 'til you can bragg on 'em! cheers

Basketball It's that time, Mike, got your blue on??? Basketball
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:15 pm

MKeeney wrote:
OT,
So dangerous to suggest...so let`s spell it out...
the efficiency is in the system, not in the individual...

Oldtimer wrote:
AMEN-- but if you get an individual that over excels (1100 lb cow that consistently weans off 60% of their body weight) do you just cull them- or do you try to work that into the system ?...

I’ve been perusing (to read through or scan something quickly) here and abroad, it got me passively and half heartedly thinking of ways one could make “delusional progress” in percent weaned and weaning weights. I was amazed in a self-indulgent sort of way, how a few simple management changes could increases my numbers...

First off if I split the herd into 200 or so smaller herds (at weaning) I could have entire calf crops of some of the herds that wean 700 pound calves off first calf heifers with no outliers, while other herds could maintain a 70lbs BW. Instead of the dreaded creep feeder I could run each animal unit on 20 acres and act like I live in RRoss country, outcross under darkness of hide, have my five year old run the slide on the weigh scale with the handle just out of reach and then to prove the phenomenon only take pictures the calve on the cow from a low angle at around 250 days...and so on and so forth.

But the most crucial component to maintaining my delusional grander would be my ability to evaded the vicinity of common sense, let alone post in the middle of it scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:57 pm

Yes the importance of a five year old, so overlooked Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Bob H



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:37 am

The reason that I shared this with folks is to show what we found for results when we used linebred genetics in a controled crossing system. Hence fruit producing seedless fruit. It has been the most succesful system we have found to produce beef economicaly. We will over winter these calves with a goal of 1000 lbs on grass before sending them to finish for 80 days with a goal of 1240 for a finish weight.

Iain I would say that our average calf day of age would be March 23.

Bob H
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:46 am

Exactly, this is a bit of a redundant question Wink But what happens to the efficiency of your system if you try to work the seedless fruit or seedless fruit type numbers back into the system?
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:26 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
patb wrote:
The selection for selling heifers is bad disposition, pedigree, visual appraisal and birth date. Under performers and twins are usually sold unless twins are both heifers.

Well that's maybe a bit of a "pat answer" if you pardon the pun. When you say "The" selection do you mean yours, natures or the Angus mainstreams? How do you identify bad disposition in a 500lb calf being handled as an individual for the first time in it's life? you could time them out the chute and cull the fastest but when I think of bad disposition I think of the cow that wants to eat you when she calves as a 6 year old. I don't know how you would identify that in a fresh weaned calf. I haven't culled a home raised female for disposition in the last decade. If they grow up in my system they don't have that problem.
Pedigree - I don't have animals with pedigrees bad enough to merit culling, hopefully I don't use parent stock that are bad enough to prompt me to sell the offspring based on a name on the pedigree.
Visual appraisal doesn't do much for me - they are all hairy little calves at this stage and I sure can't tell where the stars, the regular work horses and where the underperformers are.
Birthdate is a consideration but as the bulk of our calves are born in two cycles with only a handful in the 3rd there isn't really a lot of meaningfull selection we can do based on this. I'm not about to cull everything born 2nd cycle as inferior to things born first cycle as they tend to switch rather neatly between the two from year to year.
"Under performers" - that was what my question was on. A heifer's heifer calf born late in the second cycle, so weaned earlier than average having gained @1.75lb/day versus an average of @2.2lb/day. Is that bad enough performance to merit culling? Will their mature weight be influenced if they are fed appropriately from now on to overcome their young mother disadvantage? If we select bulls that are late maturing because they breed the better maternal type wouldn't that be true of little heifers too?
I think selling the twins unless they were both female is a foregone conclusion.

Bad Dispositions - Cattle that charge when in confine area, kick, try to tear the chute apart after being caught in the headlock, aggressive and other behavoirs that annoy me.

Pedigree - Identify problems with animal or ancestor and used to make seedless fruit until they fail and are beefed.

birthday - In the process of changeing calving season time and length and animals at tail end of season are not used for future genetics in the herd.

under performers are cattle that fail to live up to expectations for growth compare to rest of the calf crop.
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:28 am

GF, back to your heifer's heifer...
If you keep the first calf heifer and breed her again to the same bull as a 5 year old, would not her first calf have the same genetic potential as the calf born when she is 5 years old?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:54 am

RobertMac wrote:
GF, back to your heifer's heifer...
If you keep the first calf heifer and breed her again to the same bull as a 5 year old, would not her first calf have the same genetic potential as the calf born when she is 5 years old?

Yes, she would have the same genetic potential the same as any identical mating has. My original point was how much will her actual potential be limited by her rearing? I used to read years ago about rearing dairy replacements and how the way they were reared ie feed, growth rate etc did more to determine lifetime production and performance than genetics did. Don't know how applicable that is to beef cattle.
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:12 am

"Born later in the second cycle these little calves are only 370-380lbs at 170 days. What do others do with this category of stock? do you ship them because they are small and were born later, does the fact they were reared poorer influence them achieving their genetic potential? If we are wary of keeping heifer calves that are beefy, heavyweights at weaning should we also discount the tinys because they are on the opposite extreme - or is one or both extreme caused more by mothers milk than genetics at this stage? I'm contemplating starting a small herd of fall calvers and these could be bred to calve at 2.5 to form that group. Any opinions?"

Do those who are born later have a lower WDA?

My opinion is no, it does not negatively influence their potential achievement. In fact, I am not convinced that it does not enhance it. ( Especially if you base achievement on % weaned.) Environmental control of the expression of genetic potential goes both ways. What is considered normal has changed quite a bit.

My longest lived most productive cows have been dink orphans who stole enough milk to survive and long yearling heifers who have had calves. I doubt anyone would reccomend either as a management practice, but they seem to last forever. The hide behind the barn kind.




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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:13 pm

I had some ET's one time with a near 40 day spread in calving date, and all implanted on the same day. An obvious drastic variance in weaning weight occured also, from sub 400lbs to 700 plus lbs on a few of the bulls. Of the heifers we kept, the top performer and the worst one made the best cows. The poorer weaned heifer was by far the best milker and managed to make a 1500lb cow, still yet. Of course they were crossed up purebreds, so it may all be irrelevant.


Bootheel, wondering if Kent thinks he has that bottled beer taste in a can, or what?
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:09 pm

Keystone wrote:
"

My longest lived most productive cows have been dink orphans who stole enough milk to survive and long yearling heifers who have had calves. I doubt anyone would reccomend either as a management practice, but they seem to last forever. The hide behind the barn kind.


I saw that piece of shit on the satellite picture, time for a new strategy Kent.
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:16 pm

Tom,

You must have saw the goats.
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Weaning day thoughts   Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:25 pm

They were in the little green circles.
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