Beef Buzz News
Nebraska Livestock Specialist Turns Heifer Target Weight Recommendations on Their Ear
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:35:26 CDT
Rick Funston talks about keeping heifers light for better efficiency.
Beef reproductive physiology specialist Rick Funston from the University of Nebraska knows a lot about helping cattle producers develop replacement females for cow herds. In the first of a three-part series for the Beef Buzz, Funston says there are some new ideas about the right weight to get heifers to before they are bred.
"Some of the old recommendations we're finding probably aren't absolute and having heifers at a minimal target weight at breeding which was established 40 years ago at two-thirds of mature weight, we're finding we can get heifers pregnant at half-50 to 55 percent comfortably.
"The other thing is to treat the heifer enterprise as more of a yearling system-that you would keep more heifers than you likely would need for your breeding needs. At some point, when this drought isn't widespread, we're going to have a huge demand for replacement females into this decreasing cow herd and, with high feed input prices, these research findings have never been more important to the industry. We can develop heifers on minimal inputs-on corn residue, for example, if we have it to feed."
Funston says using low cost feed with minimal supplementation to achieve a one pound to one-and-a-quarter pound gain per day is sufficient to get the heifers to breed. He advises producers to have the pregnant heifers aged and keep the ones who bred earliest when culling.
He emphasizes the key to maximum profitability is to avoid overfeeding.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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