Current corn prices coupled with reduced perennial pasture availability have producers asking questions about the economics of using cropland to produce forage for cow/calf production. This was the subject of a webinar offered by Nebraska Extension on the evening of February 13.
Estrus synchronization optimizes labor and time, and improves the ease of using artificial insemination (AI) (Lamb et al., 2009). Use of AI allows access to superior genetics, accelerates genetic change within a herd, and is frequently less expensive than natural service (Johnson and Jones, 2004). Synchronized females 1) exhibit estrus at a controlled time, 2) have increased calf uniformity, 3) calve earlier in the season, and 4) wean calves that are older and heavier (Perry, 2004).
Colostrum, or first milk produced by the mother after birth, is high in nutrients and antibodies. A newborn calf lacks disease protection because antibodies do not pass across the cow’s placenta to the fetus’ circulatory system. Antibodies in colostrum provide calves with their initial protection.
As spring approaches most producers are anxious to get cows out of the lot and make use of early spring grazing. While there are certainly some advantages to sending pairs out into fresh air and wide open spaces, there are some forage availability and diet quality considerations producers need to evaluate.
In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, the Peterson family who own and operate Plum Thicket Farms near Gordon share how they utilize annual forages as part of their diversified crop and cattle operation. Some of the topics that the Peterson family discusses in the interview include:
Recent research has shown maternal nutrition during late gestation can have lasting impacts on calf health, growth, and performance postnatally. These impacts can include improved weaning weights, yearling weights, and marbling scores of progeny.
Since 1993, the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) has produced a table of factors to adjust Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) so that the genetic merit of individual animals can be compared across breeds. These adjustment factors are needed because EPDs published by one breed are inherently not comparable to those published by another breed.