Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is your cow herd efficient?

Cow's on the only feed they get hay and grass

What is your definition of efficiency?

If you look up efficiency in the dictionary you will find the following:

1: the quality or degree of being efficient

2 a: efficient operation b (1): effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, and money) (2): the ratio of the useful energy delivered by a dynamic system to the energy supplied to it

How does this definition relate to a cow calf operation I think the key word is measured unless you take measurements you can’t possibly determine whether or not your cow herd is efficient. I had a very thought provoking discussion today with a fellow breeder on this very subject. We came to the conclusion that many breeders think a cow has to be fat and sleek to be efficient. If this is the case they are off track, the only way a cow should be considered efficient is if that cow bred at an early age (between 14 and 16 month of age) had her first calf without any assistance, breeds back within sixty days and regains her BCS back to a 6 or 7 prior to having her second calf. Now we supplement our first calf heifers and monitor the condition of cows on their second calf but mature cows have to make a living on grass, hay and minerals if they can’t do that they are not efficient and need to go to town. Then you have to find out which of these cows is the most efficient, to determine this you measure their calves, because if a cow does all of the afore mention things but her calf doesn’t grow then she is not efficient and she still earns a trip to town. Bottom Line the better your cow herd becomes the more efficient it will be because each year you’re culling criteria gets more stringent.

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