Beef Buzz News
Moderation in Cow Size is the Key to Profitability, Lalman Says
Tue, 12 Jun 2012 14:09:18 CDT
Dr. Dave Lalman talks about moderation in the size of cows.
In the third part of a four-part Beef Buzz series, Dr. Dave Lalman continues to talk efficiency. In this portion of his address at the recent Alltech International Symposium on the Future of Agriculture held in Lexington, Kentucky, Lalman talks about cow size. Is bigger better? Are larger cows more efficient?
Unequivocally, Lalman says “No.” Lalman says larger cows do produced larger calves at weaning, but the question is how much does that extra weight cost?
“There is a positive relationship with cow weight, but it’s not very strong. For each additional 100 pounds of cow weight, we get an average of six pounds of additional calf weaning weight. Is that a good trade off?
Lalman cited studies which show that for each additional 100 pounds of cow weight, the increased weight of calves at weaning was between four and six pounds. Unfortunately, he said, the additional dollars realized in the calf weight is more than offset by the additional $42 per year it costs to feed and maintain the extra 100 pounds on the mama cow.
Lalman said the same equations hold true for milk production on the dairy side. Breeding larger cows does, indeed, result in a greater potential for milk production. In the end, however, the upkeep on the larger cow devours the profit of the increased milk production.
In the final analysis, Lalman said, the most efficient cows are the moderate size cows whether you’re talking about milk or beef production.
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