STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE HEIFER SELECTION AND HEIFER DEVELOPMENT
Location: Reproduction Research
Title: Management strategies for improving lifetime reproductive success in beef heifers
Submitted to: Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2012
Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Citation: Perry, G.A., Larimore, E.L., Bridges, G.A., Cushman, R.A. 2012. Management strategies for improving lifetime reproductive success in beef heifers. Proceedings, Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle, Sioux Falls, SD, December 3-4, 2012. pp. 249-266.
Research has indicated it takes the net revenue from approximately 6 calves to cover the development and production costs of each replacement heifer (E. M. Mousel, unpublished data). In addition, any cow that misses a single calving is not likely to recover the lost revenue of that missed calf (Mathews and Short, 2001). Therefore, longevity of a beef female is important to the sustainability and profitability of any beef operation. Considering the importance of longevity, an important question is as follows: Why are females culled from a beef herd? According to the 2007-08 NAHMS survey the greatest percentage of cows culled from the herd were for pregnancy status (33.0%); other reasons for culling included age or bad teeth (32.1%), economic reasons (14.6%), other reproductive problems (3.9%), producing poor calves (3.6%), temperament (3.6%), injury (2.9%), udder problems (2.7%), bad eyes (1.8%), and other problems (1.8%). Furthermore, 15.6% of animals culled were less than 5 years of age and 31.8% were 5 to 9 years of age. These females that are culled from a herd prior to producing 6 calves increase the developmental cost of other heifers and do not contribute to the profitability and sustainability of the farm. Therefore, understanding how management decisions impact pregnancy success and longevity will have an effect on the profitability and sustainability of an operation.