Suppose you have 100 beef or dairy cows during your entire 50-year farming career. Assuming a 90% calving rate, you’ll observe some 4,500 pregnancies. How many times will you see triplets?
Kim Denney knows and works the numbers — crucial ones to Chestnut Farms. The former educator, who holds an MBA, successfully runs the community-supported agriculture livestock operation with her husband, Rich Jakshtis, in Hardwick, Mass.
Less than 2% of cattle births are malpresentations, meaning you are dealing with calves needing help to be born, says James England, University of Idaho Caine Center veterinarian.
They don’t walk around in white lab coats or use $4 words, but make no mistake about it: The folks at the Castalia Cattle Co. are all about the science.
We spend a lot of time talking about improving fertility within the milking herd, but we tend to overlook heifer fertility. One reason for this oversight is that the national average conception rate for heifers is 57%, a number producers can only dream of achieving in lactating cows.
Feed efficiency has always had a huge impact on beef’s bottom line. But in times of high feed prices — which seem to be almost all the time these days — it’s especially critical.
Commodity prices are on the rise, but they’re not the only segment of agriculture getting a boost from the bull market.
The ground on Pat Henne’s farm in Eaton Rapids isn’t the best-suited for crops, so a few years ago he started raising sheep on a grass-based system. “I figured I could raise lambs cheap,” he says.
Advanced genetic technology is not confined to the crop production arena, as evidenced by the pens, new housing barns, office building and labs at Nebraska Bull Service, four miles north of McCook.
Choosing a good bull and using medicine the right way can go a long way in improving your herd.
Rancher Watt Matthews Casey, DVM, of Shackelford County, Texas, turns 90 on Aug. 11. For 62 of those years, he has been with Casey Beefmasters, which he founded in 1948.
Calf herd uniformity goes back to the calving season, which goes back to the breeding season, which goes back to taking the bull out sooner. The longer the bull is left with the cows, the longer the calving season.
The Dickinson Research Extension Center recently decreased the center’s bull population. The average bull age at the center at turnout has been 3 years. Seldom would a bull more than 5 years of age be turned out to breed.
The Dickinson Research Extension Center utilizes many bulls and always evaluates bulls at the time of purchase and periodically throughout their life span. Perhaps the most challenging evaluation is to ask if the bulls meet the current objectives of the breeding program or the expected market for the calves.
Breeding season for the 2012 spring calving season will soon be in full swing. Cows calving in winter and early spring should be coming into heat from April through July.
Joel “Jay” Reach loves to promote his black cattle — at Reach Simmental. “They bring a $50- to $100-per-head premium any day at auction, and all the way to the meat counter.”
To date, trichomoniasis has not been found in Illinois. Still, that doesn’t mean beef producers aren’t stressing about the possibility of it crossing state lines.
Tim Shelton, a well-known farmer in Dry Fork, Va., grows tobacco and grain, and raises cattle.
In the mid-to-late 1980s, the beef industry paid scant attention to the genetic influence of cows and heifers on the overall performance of a cattle herd. That fact didn’t escape the attention of Patsy Houghton, then a Kansas State University beef cattle Extension specialist. Her focus on heifers intensified when KSU implemented a cow-calf student project designed to help students learn the artificial insemination process.
Keeping costs down and maintaining health of the cow herd is crucial during the winter months. Custom mixing cow minerals and feeding dry distillers grains or other corn byproducts in a winter ration pays big dividends.
Like many farmers, dairy producers want to increase their profits after a sluggish economy while still producing the best milk possible. One way to increase profits is to improve dairy-herd management.