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Mature Cow Size Effect On Finished Carcasses

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Son of Butch

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NDSU - extension service
One herd split into 2 mature cow weight groups.
group A 1295 lbs
group B 1522 lbs

group A finished steers feedlot report
finished weight 1456#
hot carcass weight 851#

group B
Finished weight 1751#
hot carcass weight 1050#

The heavier carcasses have larger rib eyes, less 12th rib fat and lower marbling scores.
The lighter cow group produced steers with higher marbling and larger rib eyes per 100 lbs of body weight.


Results from a separate cow/calf stocking rate NDSU study on grassland estimated to support 50,000 lbs of cow/calf.
47 - 1100# cows - produce 47 calves weighing 535 lbs at 7 months = 25,145#
39 - 1400# cows - produce 39 calves weighing 639 lbs at 7 months = 24,921#
total 224 lbs more from the smaller cows

Combining the data from the 2 studies the expected finished carcass weights:
47 - 1100# cows will produce 34,640# of finished carcasses
39 - 1400# cows will produce 36,540#
total 1,900 lbs more from the larger cows
 

wbvs58

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Did it say how much more feed the larger cows consumed? I assume the fewer larger cows was equivalent total bodyweight to smaller cows and they assumed the feed consumption to be equal for both groups.

Interesting figures though.

Ken
 

mwj

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I can change cow size that much by feeding and breeding at a younger age. That would change nothing in the genetics.
 
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Son of Butch

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wbvs58":2go1emuv said:
Did it say how much more feed the larger cows consumed?
I assume the fewer larger cows was equivalent total body weight to smaller cows and they assumed the feed
consumption to be equal for both groups.

Interesting figures though.

Ken
The 2 different acreage totals were estimated to produce equal total grass and to meet the needs for stocking rate
of the 47 and 39 cows, no additional feed was mentioned for either group.
Appears they did not assume equal consumption for both groups as larger cows weighed 27% more but only consumed
22% more per head. I assume they calculated a base need for both and the additional pounds aren't at a 1:1 need,
but perhaps 95%?
 
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Son of Butch

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mwj":2k2r03nm said:
I can change cow size that much by feeding and breeding at a younger age.
That would change nothing in the genetics.
Yes, I suppose you could stunt Mature cow size by stunting some at a younger age than their herd mates.
But don't you believe that would carry over to weaning a smaller calf too?
1100# cows weaned 535# calves on average
1400# cows weaned 639# " " "


I assumed the whole herd would have been managed the same in prior years and the mature cows were divided for
the study. That would mean the lighter cows were genetically predisposed to a smaller frame size than the large cows.
Yes, No?

The carcass weight study showed mature cow weight (frame size) influenced the finished steer weights.
 
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Son of Butch

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Thinking retail end result, if added bone weight adjusted.... NET retail yield per acre would be nearly identical for
both groups. Wouldn't it? Guess any $ difference might depend on dock or premium for marbling grade. hmmm.....
 

snoopdog

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I don't think the retail market supports the larger ribeye cuts with less marbling , so I believe that the net yield per acre is basically identical, but what is the percentage of yield to dam weight ? I am having a little trouble with that , getting old I guess .
 
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Son of Butch

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My guess is they expected to find that more calves from lighter cows would be more efficient all the way through
the production process right to the retail end product. But I think what they accidentally found is, it makes almost
no difference in the overall picture of beef production, as gains made in one area are offset by losses in another.
At least for producers that retain ownership of their calves all the way through.

The argument of which type/size of cow works best is pretty much meaningless as it all comes out in the wash.
That may not be the intent, but that is kind of my take away from it.
 

wbvs58

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Son of Butch":1s3hnu3z said:
My guess is they expected to find that more calves from lighter cows would be more efficient all the way through
the production process right to the retail end product. But I think what they accidentally found is, it makes almost
no difference in the overall picture of beef production, as gains made in one area are offset by losses in another.
At least for producers that retain ownership of their calves all the way through.

The argument of which type/size of cow works best is pretty much meaningless as it all comes out in the wash.
That may not be the intent, but that is kind of my take away from it.

I agree Butch, that is what I concluded. I think you read between the lines well, probably not what they set out to show.

Ken
 

Ebenezer

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How many here sell carcasses? On the cow calf side you better have some adequate frame for your market. And if you know you have certain size cows the easy fix for more or less calf size or weight is a different bull. If Wulf can take Jersey cows and make decent feedlot steers then do the same with a proper bull selection. Use other bulls to moderate or stabilize the cow herd.
 

mwj

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I find a lot of ''assume'' and read between the lines. Do you have anything that shows a direct link between cow size and milk production?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Also, some research I've read brings in the cull cow income.
You also have to remember, if the results are "sorta equal", in this case, you are handling, calving, doctoring, vaccinating 8 cows more - more labor.
I really don't care if the cow is 1400# or 1600#, just so she has the right phenotype, easy fleshing, right personality (not nuts), and does a great job raising a calf.
Edit: Butch, good post.
 
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Son of Butch

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mwj":2ph0pril said:
I find a lot of ''assume'' and read between the lines.
Do you have anything that shows a direct link between cow size and milk production?
No, as I did not see the study report, but read article reporting study which used NDSU newsletter as source.
The author of article gave stats from study, but lack of detail left me as a reader with questions and assumptions.
Rather than reading between the lines... I prefer to consider it as analyzing the data given.

The heavier cows calves weighed 104 lbs more per calf (639 vs 535) indicating they produced more milk per hd.
47 1100# cows on same quality/tonnage pasture weaned 25,145 lbs
vs
39 1400# cows weaning 24,921 lbs

25,145 - 24,921 = 224 lbs divided by 270 days = 0.83 total per day difference for the entire group
.83 divided by average group size of 43 = 0.02 lbs per day which is a difference of only 1/50th of a pound/calf/day

Which would indicate it took 47 lighter cows to produce the same amount of milk as the 39 heavier cows.

Yes? No?
Does that help?
 
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Son of Butch

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mwj":3fnkc3xm said:
I can change cow size that much by feeding and breeding at a younger age.
That would change nothing in the genetics.
Yes, but couldn't that restrict them from reaching their full genetic potential?
Environmentally stunting them enough to create a 300 lb mature cow difference (1400 vs 1100) would seem to me
to be counter productive.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Son of Butch":kqz387q8 said:
mwj":kqz387q8 said:
I can change cow size that much by feeding and breeding at a younger age.
That would change nothing in the genetics.
Yes, but couldn't that restrict them from reaching their full genetic potential?
Environmentally stunting them enough to create a 300 lb mature cow difference (1400 vs 1100) would seem to me
to be counter productive.
they would still carry the same "genetics" - but, would they not be able to have as large a calf and I would also "assume" would not be able to eat as much to produce as much milk as she would have if grown out properly.
I understand wanting a cow to "not eat as much", but you are always looking at trade-offs.
As mentioned above, it's not much, but you are also looking at a bigger salvage value.
 

mwj

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when you think of 300lbs it sounds impressive. Run 100 head of cows over a scale and split the groups by weight, and it would not be much. When folks sell culls, there are a whole lot of those ''1100# cows'' that are a couple hundred more than what they guessed.
 
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Son of Butch

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300 lbs is 27.27% of 1100# cows body weight.
extra 300 lbs on 100 cows = 30,000 lbs x 50 cents lb = $15,000


I ASSUME... NDSU used a scale to weigh the cows for the study and did not just eyeball them.
But then again maybe I'm Reading Too Much Between The Lines. :)
 

Midtenn

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":3l65bil4 said:
Also, some research I've read brings in the cull cow income.
You also have to remember, if the results are "sorta equal", in this case, you are handling, calving, doctoring, vaccinating 8 cows more - more labor.
I really don't care if the cow is 1400# or 1600#, just so she has the right phenotype, easy fleshing, right personality (not nuts), and does a great job raising a calf.
Edit: Butch, good post.

Excellent point. And don't forget the fixed costs involved per head. Preg check, ear tag, fly tag, breeding cost, vaccines, yardage at the sale barn, vaccines for calves. Those costs remain the same regardless of cow size. If the 200-300 pound difference is anywhere close to right ( I don't know ) but assuming it is , then it seems to me bigger and less cows are more efficient. Yes they eat more and it takes more wormer, but the other "fixed costs per head" need to be considered.
You also have to consider, and some may disagree with this, I believe you will have more issues with bigger cows such as soundness and breed back.
 

mwj

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Whenever this topic comes up it is usually presented as an ''easy fix''. I would wager that most producers do not regularly weigh there cows and could not make an educated guess to the amount of forage produced per acre. If you do not have these figures all you can do is ''guess'' and hope you are correct. Maybe we should wean at 400# which would yield a high price per pound for the calf. Then you could cut back the feed to the cows and keep your costs much lower.
 
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Son of Butch

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I would say the study points to: there is nothing to fix if your mature cow size is between 1,000 - 1,500 Lbs.
Raise what you prefer: "To thine own self be true."
 

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