Submitted to: Arkansas Cattle Business
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2005
Publication Date: 2/1/2005
Citation: Looper, M.L., Aiken, G.E. 2005. Supplementation may increase pregnancy and profit of cull cows. Arkansas Cattle Business. 40(2):28. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Cull beef cows account for approximately 10 to 25% of the annual income of cow-calf production; however, cull cows are often thin, and thin cows usually don't get pregnant. During a two year study, cull cows (n=75) were assigned to pastures of stockpiled and spring-growth, endophyte-infected, tall fescue at 2 acres/cow from November through April of each year and fed 2 lbs/cow per day of soybean hulls, corn:soybean meal, or no feed. Cows were exposed to bulls and then sold at auction. The amount of fescue available to cows was not limited at any time, and nutritive content exceeded recommended nutrient requirements of cows. Average concentrations of ergovaline (the toxin in tall fescue) were below published values that cause fescue toxicosis. Cows fed either 2 lbs of soyhulls or corn:soybean meal had increased body weight at selling compared with non-fed, control cows. Further, cows fed soybean hulls had increased body condition at selling compared to control cows. The selling price and net income were not increased in cull cows fed supplements compared with non-fed, control cows. Pregnancy rate tended to be affected by feeding and was lowest in non-fed, control cows (74%) and highest in cows fed corn:soybean meal diets (96%). Selling price of pregnant cows averaged $170 more than open cows. The sale of pregnant cull cows could be an additional source of income for Arkansas cattle producers.