LIMOUSIN TODAY October_LimToday_WEB - Page 17

Management breed in the first breeding season were followed throughout their lifetimes, they averaged a 55% yearly calf crop. Despite the fact that reproduction is not a highly heritable trait, it also makes sense to remove this genetic material from the herd so as to not proliferate females that are difficult to get bred. 2. Culling open heifers early will reduce summer forage and winter costs. If the rancher waits until next spring to find out which heifers do not calve, the pasture use and winter feed expense will still be lost and there will be no calf to eventually help pay the bills. This is money that can better be spent in properly feeding cows that are pregnant and will be producing a salable product the following fall. 3. Identifying the open heifers shortly after (60 days) the breeding season is over will allow for marketing the heif ers while still young enough to go to a feedlot and be fed for the choice beef market. “B” maturity carcasses (those estimated to be 30 months of age or older) are very unlikely to be graded Choice and cannot be graded Select. In addition, they may not be eligible for some international beef markets. As a result, the heifers that are close to two years of age will suffer a price discount. If we wait until next spring to identify which two-year-olds did not get bred, then we will be culling a female that will be marketed at a noticeable discount compared to the price/pound that she would have brought this summer as a much younger animal. Last week non-pregnant 866-pound heifers brought $1.28/lb. or $1108.48 per head in Oklahoma City. Using a very optimistic guess for next spring, a two-year old 1000-pound open cow may bring $0.90/lb. or $900 per head. This calculates to a $208 per head loss plus the expense of keeping her through the winter. In reality, the loss in value probably will be even greater. Certainly, the percentage of open heifers will vary from ranch to ranch. Do not be overly concerned, if after a good heifer development program and adequate breeding season, that you find that 10% of the heifers still are not bred. Resist the temptation to keep these open heifers and “roll them over” to a fall-calving herd. These are the very heifers that you want to identify early and remove from the herd. It just makes good economic business sense to identify and cull non-pregnant replacement heifers as soon as possible. Remember to schedule the cattle working for early in the morning hours, to avoid unnecessary heat stress on both the heifers and the people involved. I LIMOUSIN Today | 15