Splitting Hairs in the Heifer Pen ?

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Stocker Steve

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Went through the 30 remaining May 2016 heifers this AM and listed 9 to go as feeders. Most of the keepers are 5/16 simi out of a 5.6 frame Shear Force son. There are a couple heifers that are on the bubble. Smaller, but with good capacity. How do you draw the line between short and moderate? Would I gain much clarity by holding them till 14 months old?
 

Boot Jack Bulls

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Depends on how bad you need replacements....I would give them another 30 days and re-assess if you aren't in a hard spot and really need to sell. Cattle closing in one that yearling mark are not the easiest to judge, and they change a ton in a short time.

Plus, FS is pretty easy to correct in one generation versus many other traits.
 
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Stocker Steve

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Thanks for the input. These heifers were just weaned from a winter on cow hay. I think I will take the questionable ones to grass also, and then see how they look in late June.
 

Lazy M

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Stocker Steve":1i1x0ol5 said:
Went through the 30 remaining May 2016 heifers this AM and listed 9 to go as feeders. Most of the keepers are 5/16 simi out of a 5.6 frame Shear Force son. There are a couple heifers that are on the bubble. Smaller, but with good capacity. How do you draw the line between short and moderate? Would I gain much clarity by holding them till 14 months old?
Choosing replacements is tough. After watching me agonize over the last cut in Jan (in freezing weather) my usually patient helper finally hollered, "Sh#t or get off the pot! My feet are numb!".
If you are going to hold them until May you could have them pelvic measured and make that part of your keep/cull criteria.
 

cfpinz

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Things we've noticed over the years:

Heifers go through a gangly stage around the 1 year mark (Think teenage kids) - "Why in the world did we keep that one?"

They start to turn around somewhere around breeding time, 15 months. "She'll do."

The majority of them are lookers by 20 months. "Glad we kept her now."

You can always sell them later, but you can't buy them back, generally speaking.
 

Son of Butch

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cfpinz":3gdcttta said:
Things we've noticed over the years:

Heifers go through a gangly stage around the 1 year mark (Think teenage kids) - "Why in the world did we keep that one?"

They start to turn around somewhere around breeding time, 15 months. "She'll do."

The majority of them are lookers by 20 months. "Glad we kept her now."

You can always sell them later, but you can't buy them back, generally speaking.
Good points... but... then again you can also change your mind again when they reach 4 or 5 yrs old. :)
 

SPH

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cfpinz":1wb9xv6g said:
Things we've noticed over the years:

Heifers go through a gangly stage around the 1 year mark (Think teenage kids) - "Why in the world did we keep that one?"

They start to turn around somewhere around breeding time, 15 months. "She'll do."

The majority of them are lookers by 20 months. "Glad we kept her now."

You can always sell them later, but you can't buy them back, generally speaking.

Pretty good description and I can relate to what you said. Seems like every year we have those 1 or 2 heifers that we go back and forth on about what to do with them and several of those over the years wound up staying around for many years as productive cows while a better heifer in the group at the time might of wound up being a disappointment. We try to keep in touch with most of the people that buy our cattle as we like to know how they did after they left our farm and sometimes find ourselves thinking "wish we hadn't let that one go" after seeing how they did for their new owner. That's not a bad thing to think though as you want to see them do well for whoever buys them. Completely agree, heifers can sometimes change a lot and you really don't know what you have till you've calved them out. Even the best looking heifers can sometimes turn into bad cows.
 

farmerjan

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We make 3 cuts generally. This is a commercial herd. First; at weaning- nope don't like her at all. Don't like her mommas disposition and she is a nut case....crummy legs, no butt....whatever. Usually at least half of the heifers go. We have been having 60-80% heifers the last 2 years too.....
Second; We bangs vacc all potential keep heifers....so, just under a year. Ah she's still just okay don't think we'll keep her....any other attitude lack of willingness to come to a catch pen for feed etc. If her momma is a good cow, calves consistently, things like that. Also, what we need to pay, so any that are so-so will go.
Third, about 16-18 months. These are what we really scrutinize as they will be going to be bred in the next move. Any bad legs, any attitudes, any that just don't seem to "feel or look right."

Then the final cull, if they aren't preg......Shipped 3 out of 16 this past year. No reason, vet said they were okay inside, maybe a little premature repro tracts....GONE... We usually don't have 1 out of 15 open so don't know the reason. All the rest were in the 6-7 month range and all but 4 have already calved within 3 weeks.
We calve twice a year, so have 25 +/- heifers calving a year. Will be culling harder now as we have culled alot of ANCIENT old cows the last couple of years for repro., and were trying to keep our numbers up. We also are losing a rented pasture so may cut back even a bit.
Sometimes it works out that we kept some longer, as right now prices of 5-7 wt heifers are as high or higher than the 4 wts. So we got more per pound and they had added weight.
 

SIMMGAL

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SPH":1384xmk1 said:
cfpinz":1384xmk1 said:
Things we've noticed over the years:

Heifers go through a gangly stage around the 1 year mark (Think teenage kids) - "Why in the world did we keep that one?"

They start to turn around somewhere around breeding time, 15 months. "She'll do."

The majority of them are lookers by 20 months. "Glad we kept her now."

You can always sell them later, but you can't buy them back, generally speaking.

Pretty good description and I can relate to what you said. Seems like every year we have those 1 or 2 heifers that we go back and forth on about what to do with them and several of those over the years wound up staying around for many years as productive cows while a better heifer in the group at the time might of wound up being a disappointment. We try to keep in touch with most of the people that buy our cattle as we like to know how they did after they left our farm and sometimes find ourselves thinking "wish we hadn't let that one go" after seeing how they did for their new owner. That's not a bad thing to think though as you want to see them do well for whoever buys them. Completely agree, heifers can sometimes change a lot and you really don't know what you have till you've calved them out. Even the best looking heifers can sometimes turn into bad cows.

Ditto to that! A few of ours are going through that ugly phase now...fighting the urge to ship them! :lol2:
 

TCRanch

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Don't immediately cull or discount ugly! Irma was the ugliest cow EVER: short, stocky, nappy hair, tiny ears, eyes always looked bloodshot. Woof!! And yet this girl was the sweetest thing, always one of the first to calve, raised huge calves, amazingly most of her heifers were downright cute/attractive and we retained all of them. Unfortunately we lost Irma to hardware but her lineage continues and only one other heifer (a granddaughter) is butt ugly but she spit out a whopper this year and I couldn't be more pleased.
 
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