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flyingS



Posts : 41
Join date : 2010-10-02
Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Productivity   Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:34 pm

Maybe we are selecting the productivity out of our cows. Everyone is weaning and selling calves, as well as preg checking their cows in this area. Preg rates seem to be down, I believe there could be lots of different reasons why. I have to wonder if most of it starts with heifer selection. I know guys that walk through and pick them and I know guys that select them off records, I also know guys that breed everything they own and let them cull themselves. I have to wonder if the latter does not make the most since. Whether you have a straight bred or crossbred herd, cow longevity and calf performance pays the bills. Maybe we could increase both if we closed our eyes and let mother nature pick the replacements. By selecting heifers on phenotype or cow/calf records maybe we have magnified fertility issues in our herd. Eye appeal will only pay off if you don't plan on keeping her around.
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flyingS



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:16 am

Here's my thought, for what it is worth. Winters have been pretty good around here for about 20 yrs or so, the last 2 have been tough. The extreme heat is not probably a factor since we have had the coolest summers that I can remember. No matter what part of the country you live in you get caught in a comfort zone. People select eye appealing replacements or replacements that are backed by maternal data. When the time comes that the going gets tough, there is no tough to get going. Generally cow herds have become adapted to the environment they are in, generally one based around feeding. Therefore, when you have extreme conditions, it is hard to manage the cows through them because they are used to being well suplemented. I would have to ask how would those cows perform if the had to survive on what mother nature provided until extreme conditions presented themselves, not until then would they be supplemented. Will those cows manage through the conditions better than the cow that has become accustomed to a feed outfit. One other thought that I have is maybe the protein requirements are not being met on the cows due to the increased need due to extreme cold. My point is that if you were to keep all of your heifers and ask them to breed up on what mother nature provided, with the exception of some protein supplement. Would you create a cow that stayed in your herd longer, bred up quickly, and produced a quality calf every year as well as doing under any circumstance.
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:47 am

I hope so because that's the road I'm headed down.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:46 am

flyingS wrote:
Here's my thought, for what it is worth. Winters have been pretty good around here for about 20 yrs or so, the last 2 have been tough. The extreme heat is not probably a factor since we have had the coolest summers that I can remember. No matter what part of the country you live in you get caught in a comfort zone. People select eye appealing replacements or replacements that are backed by maternal data. When the time comes that the going gets tough, there is no tough to get going. Generally cow herds have become adapted to the environment they are in, generally one based around feeding. Therefore, when you have extreme conditions, it is hard to manage the cows through them because they are used to being well suplemented. I would have to ask how would those cows perform if the had to survive on what mother nature provided until extreme conditions presented themselves, not until then would they be supplemented. Will those cows manage through the conditions better than the cow that has become accustomed to a feed outfit. One other thought that I have is maybe the protein requirements are not being met on the cows due to the increased need due to extreme cold. My point is that if you were to keep all of your heifers and ask them to breed up on what mother nature provided, with the exception of some protein supplement. Would you create a cow that stayed in your herd longer, bred up quickly, and produced a quality calf every year as well as doing under any circumstance.
NO, I don`t think you will under any circumstances...no one changes the biological processes of the cow; her production must be met with a commensurate amount and quality of feed...either by providing beyond nature, or lowering stocking rate in unfavorable years.
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flyingS



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Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:45 pm

Mike why does her production have to be met with a commensurate amount and quality of feed. Maybe we should re-evaluate our paridigms and try to match our production cycle with the environment in which we live. If our home raised heifers are raised in these conditions on little to no supplementation, will it not allow us to increase the amount of supplementation during bad years and maintain a level of production. It is easy to increase a cows nutrition intake if she is not accustomed to it, but if she is accustomed it is unbelieveably hard to take her back. I hope I am making since.
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:24 am

In what has been my experience, the less I do for my cows, the less they need me. Of course, part of the process is removing the cows that need me and that has an impact on economics. I see my job as making sure the cows have enough to eat(forage/hay) and water to drink...the rest is the cows job. Pleasing other segments is chasing the carrot.

There are two roads to go down...

let someone else decide the type of calf you are to produce and then you provide the environment/supplements to reach that goal

or...

raise the cow that your natural resources will support and except the type calf that results.
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Angus 62



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:58 am

I have to agree with Robert. The overall cost of changing a cows environment has gone thru the roof yet a lot of producers have ignored the economics of it. Cheap feed, labor, and oil made it at least somewhat more reasonable in the past.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:57 am

No one is going to do much to improve efficiency through the selection and use of only one kind...
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:13 pm

we tried it for 10 years and did not make much progress. It wasn't that hard to get a fair percentage of the yearling heifers bred, but getting 2 year olds bred back was difficult on winter range and protein. They need extra energy in the winter before their first calf is born or it is hard for them to gain enough size and body condition to breed back. Most of the ones that can do it seem to be pretty small framed and early maturing, too short to sell well at the sale barn with out being bred to a terminal type sire I suppose. The last three years we have calved 3 yr olds, which works well, but I figured it cost us an extra $100 per head to get her first calf, which we felt may be worth it to have a well grown heifer and possibly a longer lasting cow. With this years light calf prices and open heiferette prices it is going up to an extra $250 to calve a 3 year old. It may be worth spending an extra $150 to $200 on feed for the first calf heifers and calve 2 year olds.
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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:57 pm

Tom wrote:
we tried it for 10 years and did not make much progress. It wasn't that hard to get a fair percentage of the yearling heifers bred, but getting 2 year olds bred back was difficult on winter range and protein. They need extra energy in the winter before their first calf is born or it is hard for them to gain enough size and body condition to breed back. Most of the ones that can do it seem to be pretty small framed and early maturing, too short to sell well at the sale barn with out being bred to a terminal type sire I suppose. The last three years we have calved 3 yr olds, which works well, but I figured it cost us an extra $100 per head to get her first calf, which we felt may be worth it to have a well grown heifer and possibly a longer lasting cow. With this years light calf prices and open heiferette prices it is going up to an extra $250 to calve a 3 year old. It may be worth spending an extra $150 to $200 on feed for the first calf heifers and calve 2 year olds.

Can you keep a young heifer for an extra year for $100 Tom?
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flyingS



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Join date : 2010-10-02
Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:33 pm

I think that you still have to manage your classes of cattle (heifers, 2yr olds, etc.), but there is a difference between making them go to work for you and babying them. You have to provide enough feed to meet a heifers growth requirements, but it doesn't have to be in the form of a feed wagon. I would suggest that if you make sure that your heifers have enough standing forage to meet their nutrient requirements with the help of a protein supplement, instead of putting them on full feed, that as cows they will know how to go out and utilize range effeciently, instead of setting at the gate and waiting to be fed. It may take changing your calving date and trying to match it to your environment instead of trying to force something to work. I am not saying to totally quit supplementing your heifers, I just think a person should supplement in moderation. I think that if you take a set of cows that are cake and range cow compared to a set of cows that are used to being babied you will find more fall out of the babied cows. My point was that if we push the heifers, will it increase overall cow performance in the long run.
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:49 am

We can't run a heifer for $100 dollars per year. It costs around $180 from when they are weaned in March till the end of the year for the yearlings. The two year olds cost $240 including breeding to run for a year. This includes pasture, supplement, breeding, vet, interest. If I look back at last years spreadsheet for what it costs to bring a heifer in based on the value of the heifer calf at weaning minus the value of opens when they are bred to calved at 3 it cost us $750 to get the bred 3 year old. I figured the heifer calves were only worth $400. At this time if prices hold the heifer calves could be worth $530 ,and it raises our cost to get a bred 3 year old to $1,000.

If we bred to calve at two. We would probably have $225 with a better feed between weaning and good grass and $30 breeding cost. 70% would probably breed in 30 days. The 2 year old winter would probably cost an extra $220 for feed and labor. This week at the local auction 380 pound steer and heifer calves averaged $520 per head and we would probably wean 90%. Open heiferetts were $70 to $80/cwt. and we might have 20% open with the better feed through the winter. When I add it all up we could get a bred back 3 year old for $750. We used to have 30% to 40% open when we wintered them with the cows. The problem is they need to gain 250 pounds from preg test time in the fall till calving in June and they will not do it on the range with the cows. We usually didn't do too bad on the open 2 year olds, we would put the bulls with them in May and sell them as early calvers, from what we heard they made good cows for people.

Other than some small fields along a creek at head quarters, where we usually winter calves we buy to run as yearlings, and hold our home raised calves after weaning, we only have two winter pastures. one 20 sections and the other is only 9 sections. We use those in a rotation so really there is only one. It is certainly simpler to turn the yearling heifers and two year olds out and let them winter with the cows.
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:48 pm

My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:19 pm

Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

where are you at Tom?
the idea that later maturing females make more profitable females overall seems a common thread with a segment of animal breeders; not just cattle breeders...
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:48 pm

MKeeney wrote:
Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

where are you at Tom?
the idea that later maturing females make more profitable females overall seems a common thread with a segment of animal breeders; not just cattle breeders...


I am in central Wyoming. I used to think we needed to get our cattle earlier maturing and everything would be good, but looking back at our best cows over time, they are mostly later maturing types in my opinion. Some were even Limousin cross.
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Angus 62



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:17 pm

There are a lot of Limi cattle in Southern Colorado. I have never understood the attraction outside of quite a few two year old bulls being available in some dry rough country. Additionally slower maturing cattle that don't milk very much might have some advantage not often considered.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:43 pm

[quote="Tom"][quote="MKeeney"]
Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

I think the key cow word above is learn...cows learn beyond their genetics...
learn is a key word for me as well; in dumbass mode, I sat here with a bull for three years before using him; because I saw his dam as "later maturing; frail"...now that she is ten and looks like she could do ten more years, had a calf every year, and had a super heifer calf at side this summer at Red Lodge, and with a breeding two year old son in the pasture, i hope to own her...if not possible, her "type" will be viewed here with a new perspective...
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flyingS



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Join date : 2010-10-02
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:15 pm

Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

Tom, how do you select the later maturing heifers? Unless you are recording when every heifer reaches puberty, you don't know at what age or weight she reaches that point. I am not interested in breeds, I am interested in opinions on any type of cow. I would suggest that through the use of supplementation and feed you can accomplish about anything you want. If you have an effecient set of cows that do it on their own, their offspring will have learned the same type of grazing habits. Therefore the harder doing heifers will probably not breed up as well, given a different environment they may be those early maturing heifers that would breed up right away. If she can get it done as a yearling heifer on little input she will be able to, more than likely, for the rest or her life. Does this improve her genetics, probably not. Does it improve her effeciency, most likely. The best genetics in the world will break you if you can't maintain them due to excessive fall out rates. I can breed a cow anyway I want to to accomplish a specific genetic goal, it is hard to teach her something that her mother didn't know.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:32 pm

Tom wrote:
We can't run a heifer for $100 dollars per year. It costs around $180 from when they are weaned in March till the end of the year for the yearlings. The two year olds cost $240 including breeding to run for a year. This includes pasture, supplement, breeding, vet, interest. If I look back at last years spreadsheet for what it costs to bring a heifer in based on the value of the heifer calf at weaning minus the value of opens when they are bred to calved at 3 it cost us $750 to get the bred 3 year old. I figured the heifer calves were only worth $400. At this time if prices hold the heifer calves could be worth $530 ,and it raises our cost to get a bred 3 year old to $1,000.

If we bred to calve at two. We would probably have $225 with a better feed between weaning and good grass and $30 breeding cost. 70% would probably breed in 30 days. The 2 year old winter would probably cost an extra $220 for feed and labor. This week at the local auction 380 pound steer and heifer calves averaged $520 per head and we would probably wean 90%. Open heiferetts were $70 to $80/cwt. and we might have 20% open with the better feed through the winter. When I add it all up we could get a bred back 3 year old for $750. We used to have 30% to 40% open when we wintered them with the cows. The problem is they need to gain 250 pounds from preg test time in the fall till calving in June and they will not do it on the range with the cows. We usually didn't do too bad on the open 2 year olds, we would put the bulls with them in May and sell them as early calvers, from what we heard they made good cows for people.

Other than some small fields along a creek at head quarters, where we usually winter calves we buy to run as yearlings, and hold our home raised calves after weaning, we only have two winter pastures. one 20 sections and the other is only 9 sections. We use those in a rotation so really there is only one. It is certainly simpler to turn the yearling heifers and two year olds out and let them winter with the cows.

You keep some good records Tom and have the costs figured out. Out of interest do you have some weights to help me visualize? What would your mature cow weight be? - what weight would the yearling heifer be at preg. checking when you say she has 250lbs to gain before calving? How would the weaning weights of the 2 year old versus 3 year old heifers compare?
The weight thing interests me just now because I am sitting on the smallest, lightest bred heifers I've ever had this year - due in large part to being suckered into the BS about "treating your heifers tough" to somehow make them more efficient. My heifers won't be two until late April/May and that is when they will calve also. They are mostly in the 850-950lb range with the top end over 1000lb. Genetically I reckon these will mature at 1300lbs+ though so we are quite aways behind where they should be in my opinion. It'll be a delicate balance feeding them this winter to keep growing without putting to much weight on the calves.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:55 am

flyingS wrote:
Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

Tom, how do you select the later maturing heifers? Unless you are recording when every heifer reaches puberty, you don't know at what age or weight she reaches that point. I am not interested in breeds, I am interested in opinions on any type of cow. I would suggest that through the use of supplementation and feed you can accomplish about anything you want. If you have an effecient set of cows that do it on their own, their offspring will have learned the same type of grazing habits. Therefore the harder doing heifers will probably not breed up as well, given a different environment they may be those early maturing heifers that would breed up right away. If she can get it done as a yearling heifer on little input she will be able to, more than likely, for the rest or her life. Does this improve her genetics, probably not. Does it improve her effeciency, most likely. The best genetics in the world will break you if you can't maintain them due to excessive fall out rates. I can breed a cow anyway I want to to accomplish a specific genetic goal, it is hard to teach her something that her mother didn't know.
I`m not sure the sexual maturity/puberty you refer to above is quite the same "maturity" we are referring too; but since I can`t readily explain the difference, must defer...
so once again as on another thread, just what is "efficiency" or an "efficient set of cows"? Are you saying efficient cows produce from less energy and protein? As with your note of measuring "maturity", how can you measure "efficiency" without weighing feed and the quality thereof?
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flyingS



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:42 am

MKeeney wrote:
flyingS wrote:
Tom wrote:
My thought is that low input heifer development is probably not going to make a huge difference in selecting cows for stayability from a genetic stand point. She probably will learn to forage better. I think it selects for the earlier maturing heifers, which as far as I can tell, from observation and limited experience, does not necessarily mean she will be a good range cow. I should also say that if we get 6 inches of precipitation on our ranch, it was a good year. It seems like the early puberty breeds are dual purpose or dairy type cattle. Could it be possible that the heifers that breed at a lighter weight maybe are more dual purpose type cattle, unless they are small framed, and give more than optimum milk for a range environment. From my experience, which is limited to where I am familiar with, it seems like the best cows are somewhat of a later maturing type and lower milking. That said, I don't think many develop their heifers much lower input than we do.

Tom, how do you select the later maturing heifers? Unless you are recording when every heifer reaches puberty, you don't know at what age or weight she reaches that point. I am not interested in breeds, I am interested in opinions on any type of cow. I would suggest that through the use of supplementation and feed you can accomplish about anything you want. If you have an effecient set of cows that do it on their own, their offspring will have learned the same type of grazing habits. Therefore the harder doing heifers will probably not breed up as well, given a different environment they may be those early maturing heifers that would breed up right away. If she can get it done as a yearling heifer on little input she will be able to, more than likely, for the rest or her life. Does this improve her genetics, probably not. Does it improve her effeciency, most likely. The best genetics in the world will break you if you can't maintain them due to excessive fall out rates. I can breed a cow anyway I want to to accomplish a specific genetic goal, it is hard to teach her something that her mother didn't know.
I`m not sure the sexual maturity/puberty you refer to above is quite the same "maturity" we are referring too; but since I can`t readily explain the difference, must defer...
so once again as on another thread, just what is "efficiency" or an "efficient set of cows"? Are you saying efficient cows produce from less energy and protein? As with your note of measuring "maturity", how can you measure "efficiency" without weighing feed and the quality thereof?

Mike, what percent of her mature weight should a heifer be at breeding? I am suggesting that by controling the gain on your heifers through a feed ration, that you also be able to control their maturity, whether it be sexual or skeletal. I am not saying starve your replacement heifers, but I don't think they need to gain much over 1-1.5lb a day through the winter in you are going to breed them in late May or June. Research shows that a heifer does not need to be over 50-55% of her mature weight at breeding. That would put a 1200# mature cow weighing 660 lbs as a breeding heifer. It is not the quality of the feed, it is how much you give them. I also feel like if they are ranged instead of locked up and fed they will probably learn to graze more effeciently.
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RobertMac



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:50 am

To me, efficiency of a set of cows is measured by them bringing a good calf to the weaning pen by doing only what the commercial cattleman is doing...or put another way, not doing what the commercial man can't afford to do.

Normally I run my heifers with the cows after breeding, but normally I have ryegrass pasture to supplement them by time limit grazing an hour or so every few days depending on growth rate of the pasture. Last year I didn't have the grass to graze and the heifers suffered. This year I'm changing by separating the heifers so they don't have to compete with the cows for hay and I can supplement them If needed. Sometimes the obvious goes right over my head, but I believe I was losing to many good genetics by being TOO hard on my heifers.
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:26 pm

Flying S, I can't figure out how to bring up your response from page to, but here is my response.

I haven't tried to select for later maturity, and I don't know when each heifer reaches puberty. But, we did try breeds that reach puberty early, thinking that it would give us better fertility, but they also tend to give more milk, which appears to be related if you look at the rankings for biological type of the different breeds. We hoped the milk would give us heavier calves, but all it did was give us open young cows. It would seem possible to me, to be selecting that type cow, when breeding heifers at lighter weights, which probably works ok in a lot of places, but not here. More recently we used smaller framed angus(anchor sons), and were somewhat disappointed with the results. From my observation looking at the cows that are over 5, the better ones are not the small ones, and all that are left appear to be moderate milkers for the most part. That has not changed over the years, wether it was when we used to calve in March and fed hay for 2 months, or when we moved to June calving and feed no hay, it hasn't changed with how we developed our heifers, and it also hasn't changed with the bull mistakes we have made over the years, just the number of young cows falling out changes. I agree that heifers should learn to winter out, if that is how the cows are wintered.

I think most yearling heifers can be bred at 50 - 55% of mature weight, but I think most of them still have to weigh 85 - 90% of there mature weight at calving to rebreed successfully. They have to gain the weight at some point.
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Tom



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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:37 pm

Back when I was young and ambitious I bought a cow program. I thought we could identify our bad cows and improve our weaning weights. I put all the cows in it, we weighed the calves individually at weaning and entered them. The calves from the older cows, I can't remember if it was 8 or 9 or 10 years old and older ratioed from 99 to 101 or 102. We didn't bother to do that again.
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Productivity   Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:39 pm

Tom wrote:
Flying S, I can't figure out how to bring up your response from page to, but here is my response.

I haven't tried to select for later maturity, and I don't know when each heifer reaches puberty. But, we did try breeds that reach puberty early, thinking that it would give us better fertility, but they also tend to give more milk, which appears to be related if you look at the rankings for biological type of the different breeds. We hoped the milk would give us heavier calves, but all it did was give us open young cows. It would seem possible to me, to be selecting that type cow, when breeding heifers at lighter weights, which probably works ok in a lot of places, but not here. More recently we used smaller framed angus(anchor sons), and were somewhat disappointed with the results. From my observation looking at the cows that are over 5, the better ones are not the small ones, and all that are left appear to be moderate milkers for the most part. That has not changed over the years, wether it was when we used to calve in March and fed hay for 2 months, or when we moved to June calving and feed no hay, it hasn't changed with how we developed our heifers, and it also hasn't changed with the bull mistakes we have made over the years, just the number of young cows falling out changes. I agree that heifers should learn to winter out, if that is how the cows are wintered.

I think most yearling heifers can be bred at 50 - 55% of mature weight, but I think most of them still have to weigh 85 - 90% of there mature weight at calving to rebreed successfully. They have to gain the weight at some point.
Tom,
I took an instant liking to your posts...and now even more so...since the message from your experiences seems to resonate with most anything too far away from average caused more problems than it solved.
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