Beef Buzz News
MU's David Patterson's Holistic Evaluation Strategy Helps Enhance Replacement Heifer Performance
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:54:25 CST
During the recent American Angus Association Convention, Dr. David Patterson, extension beef specialist and animal science professor at the University of Missouri spoke with producers about a replacement heifer program offered in Missouri. Beef producers there have been participating in the Show Me Select Replacement Female program for 20 years now, to improve production efficiency in their heifers, through the use of existing technology, coupled with a marketing component. He explained to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays how the program works and how producers have continued to benefit from enrolling their heifers in it.
Listen to Dr. Patterson and Hays discuss this program in detail and how producers can start their own.
“Essentially, the idea is to focus heifers that are enrolled in the program on all the means of evaluating methods of heifer development to ensure that those heifers conceive early during their first breeding season and hopefully go on to really perform well as cows in production,” Patterson said. “One thing that’s important to heifer development is age of puberty.”
According to Patterson, there is a wide range or diversity in the age of puberty among the different breeds or biological types of cattle. He says that consideration must be taken into account, relative to these types of development programs. He says that producers interested in enrolling their cattle in such a program must take several steps. First, he says, herd health protocols must be established on your operation to ensure long-term reproductive health. Second, focus on nutritional development to allow cattle to meet their full genetic potential. Then, a pre-breeding evaluation is conducted four to six weeks prior to the heifer’s first breeding season.
“That includes weight of the heifer, a reproductive tract score (an assessment of pubertal status) and a pelvic examine. This helps producers understand perhaps how good a job they’ve done developing their heifers, or in some cases, how some things may have slipped through the cracks,” he said. “Any producer can use the steps we utilize in our program.”
Most importantly, though, Patterson recommends building a close working relationship with your veterinarian to help guide you through your own program. For more information on the steps included in the Show Me Select program Patterson speaks of, click or tap here.
Listen to Patterson and Hays discuss this program in detail and how producers can start their own version of the program, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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