It takes so many plants to make a stand, cows to make a herd and drops to make a rain. Before turning that herd out to pasture, you look for enough plant mass to support their grazing. If you’re watching a couple of bred heifers for a month, you might as well be watching 20 or 30.
Farmers and ranchers tend to be on either side of the fence when it comes to social media. There are the hold-outs, the staunch supporters, the occasional users and the clueless.
Flood water forces the exodus of cattle to higher ground. Drought does the same on a wider scale, only to greener ground. And in the case of wild fires, tornadoes and other natural disasters, there might not even be time for that. Count your blessings As if the job of beef producer isn’t hard enough, [...]
Nobody likes to be told that they’ve done a bad job. Think of the situation-comedy or movie scene: A junior high student has worked for weeks on a final science report or English paper, eagerly awaiting the grade. When the teacher delivers it, she shakes her head in disappointment. The young one’s heart sinks, seeing [...]
As you tag another calf and write the information in that little book, do you ever think about how well it will hit the target? If you are going to the trouble of establishing identity (ID) at birth, you should at least think about the future these calves will face. Some beef brands and most [...]
The oldest cow on record died in Ireland in 1993 at the age of 49, having been born on St. Patrick’s Day 1944 in Kerry and producing 39 calves over time. So she missed a few years — big deal. She was in a herd that allowed for maximum longevity. Cow’s life span Typically, cows [...]
Take another look at your cattle. Get out your records and take a deeper look. You think they’re the right kind, but you may have plans to “improve” them through breeding and management. What would constitute improvement? How do you know you’re on the right track? What informs you on matters of breed type and [...]
Low-stress cattle handling is becoming a mainstream practice, but have you ever thought about the ultimate low-stress sorting system — right from your computer? Advocates of low-stress handling suggest using animal behavior to your advantage. If you’ve seen a demonstration of this technique, or employ it on your farm or ranch, you may recognize something [...]
If Walmart were in the cattle business, it would probably serve as an operating definition of “least-cost producer.” People might refer to its cowherd enterprise as the model for slashing expenses. That’s the way to make more money in this margin business, isn’t it? The simple economic equation is income minus expenses equals profit, so [...]
Knowing more about marbling helps cattlemen produce the best beef. All four National Beef Quality Audits said consumers want more of it, yet many producers manage so as to inhibit rather than enhance marbling. Scientists offered new insights at the Reciprocal Meats Conference this summer. “Three major things affect the beef eating experience: flavor, juiciness [...]