September 30, 2023


Food Information

Do away with proper cattle at proper time

4 min read

Come drought or rain, a cattle operation can match forage output you probably have a security web of disposable animals.

My final column targeted on find out how to use livestock to handle forage manufacturing swings. It defined the concept of disposing of an animal to cut back mouths to feed in winter. It prompted a reader to ask: Which animals work greatest on this system?

To be clear, disposable livestock will not be inferior; they’re alternatives so as to add worth. Disposable merely means they are often rapidly moved off the farm with out damaging your core enterprise mannequin — momma cows.

We’ve closely invested in genetics for generations. That’s why drought is so devastating if our solely selection is to pay $100 per bale for hay or unload a few of our core enterprise. What if we might rapidly cut back the mouths to feed with out being compelled to promote the way forward for our herd?

Select your cattle properly

Flexibility is vital whether or not maintaining or promoting cattle to handle the swings of forage from surplus to deficit.

Contemplate the choices with these teams:

Stockers:. Including stocker calves to the grazing platform permits stocking price to fluctuate rapidly. Sale barns are stuffed with calves ready to indicate up on the precise time you want them and go away when grass development slows.

The thought of bringing in new animals can appear daunting. However we have already got a built-in stocker enterprise — our calf crop.

At weaning, you’re confronted with a selection: Promote calves or wean and develop them larger. How a lot larger is at all times relative. With an abundance of grass, take into account including 150 to 250 kilos. With present feed costs, the worth of achieve is unbelievable for added weight, particularly from an affordable supply reminiscent of grass.

In my dwelling state of Missouri, that’s one cause producers are switching to fall calving. When the spring flush arrives, they’ve a built-in second enterprise by merely rising calves larger.

Alternative heifers. Most producers retain heifers to switch 15% of the cow herd annually. However what about heifers not saved for substitute? Are you certain you’re deciding on the proper ones?

Why not retain most of your heifers with a low-cost growth program together with a really brief breeding season? Let Mom Nature choose probably the most fertile heifers.

The worth of achieve is nice sufficient that you could be be shocked by the profitability of heifers. If you find yourself with additional bred females, even higher. They’ve added extra worth to the operation and might be bought earlier than calving.

Open cows. Cull cows are one of many few animals that enhance in value per pound as they get heavier. Relying on the time of 12 months and accessible forage assets, including situation to open females earlier than promoting can add vital worth.

Relying on age, they may also be bred and moved to a different calving window. In the event you breed them, make certain to withstand the temptation to allow them to keep in your herd. Market them as bred females and preserve your calving season brief.

Freezer beef. Customers wish to purchase native. Market disruptions from the pandemic created fantastic alternatives for producers to promote halves and wholes to neighbors or clients throughout the nation. Many producers are including freezer beef to their grazing platform and worth to the operation.

Contract cattle. You might be reluctant to usher in another person’s livestock to your farm, however including a custom-grazing enterprise — cows or stockers — can construct in flexibility. You determine once they present up and once they go away. Including custom-grazed dry cows throughout your spring flush can flip that additional grass into money with minimal effort.


Nonetheless you select to include disposable livestock in your operation, the flex to match stocking price with what Mom Nature gives can cut back winter feed prices and enhance profitability.

Satirically, producers usually discover disposable enterprises add extra worth to their operation than the cow-calf herd. However when it turns dry, it’s straightforward to you set wheels below the disposable livestock with out having to unload the core manufacturing manufacturing unit you’ve spent generations growing. It’s really a win-win.

Tucker is a College of Missouri Extension ag enterprise specialist and succession planner. He might be reached at [email protected] or 417-326-4916.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.