eagles run ranch murray grey cattle komondors - guardian dogs livestock and komondors for sale contact eagles run ranch

about the owners
a day in the life...
philosophy on ranching
riparian area
calving ease
cow calf operations
herd health
cattle associations

Cow-Calf Operations
By analogy, your cows are your employees. To know whether a cow meets your expectations, you must accurately measure, record, and evaluate the right performance. The primary use of performance records is to help you make culling and selection decisions relative to production and economic goals. Simple goals need simple accountabilities and records.

For instance, if your only production goal is for each cow to give you a live calf every year, then you need only a simple yes/no record at weaning. It's still a goal, an accountability, and a record used to make a management decision. Of course, if your goal is to produce calves that eventually make choice, yield-grade 2, 750-pound carcasses, then individual cow accountabilities will be much more rigorous. You'll need to measure, record, and evaluate many more performance traits.

Individual performance records are just part of the information you need to effectively manage an overall operation. Evaluating individual performance records, along with pertinent production and economic information from other areas of the operation, can help identify potentially conflicting goals and areas of management.

For instance, say you wean a 70 percent calf crop instead of your 95 percent goal. Was it because you were overstocked, your herd health program was deficient, or you cut too much out of the supplemental feed budget? Answering questions like these is part of the manager's responsibility and possible only with adequate information from other interrelated areas of the operation. The more information you have, the more accurate your analysis will be.

Finally, using recorded information as a marketing tool is increasingly important. Documentation of a complete herd health program, for example, can increase the price you receive for your calf crop. Individual treatment records can help you stay within the withdrawal requirements for various drugs or allow you to sell into a niche market for a premium. Historic feedlot performance data and carcass information for calves you produce can help you decide whether to sell on a live basis or a grid, or even which grid is best for your calves. Even if you decide to sell your calves before the feedlot phase, knowing this information can add value.

Cow-calf production is a business. Goals drive successful operations. Continued success depends on sound business decisions related to performance, analysis, and marketing, and sound business decisions are possible only with accurate and appropriate information. Approach your operation from this perspective and you stand a good chance of being around for the long haul.

Reproductive Traits Most Critical
When making selection decisions in the cow herd, producers should not forget the simple concept of relative economic value. Reproductive traits are considered ten times more important than product traits (yield grade, quality grade, and so on) and five times more important than production traits (weaning weight, yearling weight).

A cow herd must be first and foremost reproductively sound. Reproduction and maternal traits should be stressed, but with today's beef industry, producers cannot ignore growth and carcass characteristics. Purebred bulls should have some degree of predictability for growth, muscling, and carcass merit.

Knowledgeable producers will use this predictability to select sires that complement a cow herd's maternal strengths.

©1998-2009 eagles run ranch; all rights reserved