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cow calf profitability - cow size

SRBeef

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I'm don't usually watch much TV but had it on tonight ahead of the President's speech and happened to see "the cattle show" on RFD TV.

The speaker was talking about a study done by North Dakota State Univ which split a herd into two groups, one with an average cow weight of 1200 lb, another group with an average wt of 1500 lb.

They went on to say that the weaning wt of the calves from both groups was the same!

The NDSU study also showed that the 1200 lb group consumed on average 1600 lb less dry matter per year than the 1500 lb group in raising those calves.

The show also talked about the down side to cows with TOO MUCH milk rather than too little....several reasons. Cows with too much milk consume more feed, raise a big calf but often don't get bred back in time, calves can't use it all, etc. I actually had one this past year that was a big cow (first calf heifer), lots of milk, big calf, but came up open preg check time in Nov!

I don't want to recap the whole show but the 4 main points to cow/calf profitability were:

1) moderate cow size (<1300 lb)

2) select cows with "optimum" milk production

3) synchronize calving season with forage production - calve 30 days ahead of "green-up" in the spring

4) supplement with mineral

In a drought year, the smaller cows weaned calves that were heavier than the big cows because short pastures were less of a drag on the smaller cows who didn't need as much...

Cows need to wean a 205 day calf that is 50% of their weight. The smaller cows has abetter chance of that than the larger cow.

What I thought was most noteworthy is the fact the 1200 lb cows and the 1500 lb cows in this university study weaned calves that were the same wts (group averages).

I know its been discussed here before but this was about the clearest explanation I have heard so far.

Anyone else here see this tonight?
 

dun

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Sort of in the same vein. I read a report/study that claimed that weights should be adjusted to a BCS of 5. Didn;t say how you do that though. I'll see if I can find it and post a link.
 

Aaron

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SRBeef":3fg42fh2 said:
1) moderate cow size (<1300 lb)

2) select cows with "optimum" milk production

3) synchronize calving season with forage production - calve 30 days ahead of "green-up" in the spring

4) supplement with mineral

In a drought year, the smaller cows weaned calves that were heavier than the big cows because short pastures were less of a drag on the smaller cows who didn't need as much...

Cows need to wean a 205 day calf that is 50% of their weight. The smaller cows has abetter chance of that than the larger cow.

All top notch points. One additional point should be..."if your cows do wean 50% of the mature weight, and your not making a profit...you never will."

Honestly. Getting your animals to consistently wean 50%+ of their mature weight is one of the main keys to success in this business. None of your cows will ever post a loss if you can get them to do this.

I should post a picture of one of our commercial straightbred cows that is doing this right now. Cow is about 1200 lbs and the calf is pushing 700 lbs. I get weak in the knees every time I go into the paddock and witness such perfection. :heart: :D :cowboy:
 

Alberta farmer

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I think cow size is kind of a relative thing. A good cow, no matter what size, is a good cow. Now for me a cow over 1400 lbs. is too big, and one 1200 is too small...but I will agree with Aaron if that 1200 lb. cow can wean a 700 lb. calf...she is definitely a keeper!
I think though to get a consistant cow herd that can raise those good big stout calves you usually will need a cow close to that 1400 lb. range? This seems to be what is necessary for my area...I know other areas need a different kind of cow. For me a British crossbred cow works. She can get by on grass, hay and straw, is very fertile, doesn't give me a lot of grief, and gives me a good stout calf that the buyers want(or in my case give me a calf that will grow out well on grass the next year).
I don't much relish the thought of being a milk maid, so I like my cows to have enough milk...but not too much! And I sure like a cow that can winter on cheap feed and doesn't need the feed bucket...or come in looking like a bony scarecrow!
 

novatech

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I am not arguing with this but have always wondered about what the calves do after weaning. Do the calves continue with the same ADG once they are in the feed lot? Or does this have something to do with early maturity? Will the calves be the same weight when they are finished off for the same number of days?
 

mnmtranching

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I've found out that the calves from the BIG cows grow about the same speed [pounds per day]. as the calves from the smaller cows. The BIG cows calves don't finish at the same time however and you got to keep them another month and adding a hundred pounds more getting up there at about the 1400 pound range. And that's to heavy to get the top bids. I realize that 12-13 hundred pounds is what we need in our cowherds.
If anybody knows a GOOD way to accomplish this. :help:
 
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