9 Beef Herd Tips to Take to the Bank

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    Future of Cattle, At a Glimpse 

    - Bred heifers are projected to increase 25% in price in 2014. 

    - Ag economists Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State Univ. and Lee Schultz of Iowa State Univ. predict strong prices continuing for the next 3 years.

    - Rolling into 2050, livestock scientists predict that meat consumption is expected to rise as the world’s population becomes wealthier.

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    Produce for Less: Utilize Managed Grazing. Fescue toxicity is costing cattle industry millions of dollars per year. Cheap forage isn’t doing you (or your cattle) any favors either. Maximize your profits in the long run by (1) seeding your pastures with quality forages and (2) adopting a rotational grazing system to (3) boost organic matter in soils. Healthy soils = Excellent forage = Happy cows. (Troyce Barnett, Ohio NRCS grazing specialist)

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    Purchase Hay Based on Nutrients, Not Tons. When ranchers buy hay to prepare for the winter season, they tend to think based on how many tons of hay they need rather than pounds of nutrients to get their livestock through the cold season, says David Fernandez, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist. Use an $18 test to determine the TDN (energy in feed) and CP (crude protein).

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    Reduce Feed Costs by Pre-Purchasing and Buying in Bulk. Take hold of these low grain prices this fall. Buy that in bulk or pre-purchase to lock in that price. You’ll be glad you did!

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    Sell for More Moo-lah. (See what we did there?) Did you know that consumers are willing to spend more money for USDA prime grade beef? Only 3% of all U.S. beef is “prime,” however, the University of Missouri discovered that genetics play a vital role in carcass grades. Discover how you can get a bite of the premiums

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    However, Some May Re-Breed Well… The best candidates for re-breeding versus culling: Young cows that have the most reproductive life remaining & the best potential for added value when sold later in life as a bred cow compared to her current value as a cull cow, explains Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension cow/calf field specialist. If there's any question that your feed supply will not make it until the start of the grazing season, open cows should be culled regardless of age.

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    Buy More Cows. This is the fastest path to get your return on investment as long as you’re choosing for the right traits. Bouncing back to the “live calves vs. no calves” on the previous slide, choose cows for calving ease and little to no dystocia.

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    Retain & Manage Your Heifers Properly. “Management decisions based on sound information can help obtain optimum reproductive performance and minimize production costs,” says Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension cow/calf field specialist. A few things to keep in the forefront of your mind when managing heifers: optimum body condition translates to better conception rates & ultrasound to determine reproductive tract readiness.

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    Make More Heifers. Find the magic combination of genetics for your herd? Don’t rely on chance to see if you can get a heifer. There are so many advances in technology: ultrasounding when buying replacements, sexed semen, etc.

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