At the center, values for the current bulls are entered into a simple spreadsheet to allow for easy tracking. The breeding inventory and registration numbers from this past breeding season included five bulls. Their year of birth and registration numbers are: 2013-born bulls, 2790504, 2790544, 2800373 and 2800393; and 2012-born bull, 2669482.
For example, using the center’s Red Angus bulls, the breeding inventory from this past breeding season included five bulls. Their year of birth and registration numbers are: 2013-born bulls, 1617778 and 1617805; 2011-born bulls 1473021 and 1473096; and 2010-born bull 1393949.
I am going to say this three times: A producer does not need to know all the mathematics, justifications or scientific “who done it” aspects of breed association expected progeny differences (EPDs). These EPDs are available to all purebred and commercial producers, so use them.
Even though cow numbers are down, keeping cows that are not likely to produce a worthy calf next year is fruitless. Culling really is a process of drawing a line in the sand, and those cows that cannot cross the line are sent to market. At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the line is a combination of managerial chute-side judgments and data.
That is a difficult question producers must answer. Just how many more is not an easy number to grasp because most beef operations actually try to keep their carrying capacity or stocking rates stable. Stocking rate, or the cow/calf pairs that inhabit the ranch, are set based on the carrying capacity of the particular type of land.
For many, the bulls are left on pasture and rounded up with the cows and calves as fall progresses. Throughout the summer, various bulls are moved around or brought home. In some cases, they are injured. In other cases, they simply won’t stay in the pasture.
Instead of sustainability, what we really may need is an organized response to everpresent change. As cattle producers, how we respond to the environment is key to our survival. The world is covered with water and plants. How we use the plants depends on how consumers look at their plates.
Perhaps the word “aggressive” is too harsh, but there certainly is an interesting relationship that is created when the person who owns or leases the surface of the land meets the person who owns the other side of the coin, which is known as subsurface or mineral rights.
For those who do math, what is $713 minus $537? The answer is $176. Good numbers, especially for the cow/calf producer because the $713 indicates the amount of cash that cows have been able to generate after adjusting for replacements. The $537 indicates the recent costs to keep a cow for the year.
For example, I picked up a pamphlet that had the 2013 net returns per acre for several crops in western North Dakota. Based on cash-rented land, there was a spring wheat net return of $55.65 per acre, $77.32 for winter wheat, $28.35 for corn as grain, $93.
At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, seven long, yearling bulls needed to leave. They were neutered and weighed in at 1,179 pounds after a summer on grass. Last fall, they were sent to the feedlot and weighed 1,636 pounds after 88 days on feed. They gained 5.
At the same time, the news media was discussing the need for grass-fed beef. This probably was the source of the question and, if one ponders, one can see why future generations will get confused. As producers, the word beef conjures up images of cattle and associated production and marketing scenarios.
As calving winds down and calves are settled with their mamas, the inevitable day will come when the calves need to get a round of vaccinations. It is much like the old days when the school made the announcement that the county nurse was coming along with a bag full of needles.
One of my first farm visits as a new county Extension Service agent years ago was to visit a producer in distress because of several dead cows. The dead cows were dotted around the pasture and lying in abundant spring grass. Grass tetany was evident..
The yearling heifers also need to be processed, the replacements sorted off and the remaining heifers spayed and sent to grass. Replacements basically are preselected because the breed type is monitored and fit into the center’s crossbreeding program..
Bulls that are needed are not always affordable, and sometimes scheduling conflicts get in the way. Interestingly, of the last four bulls the Dickinson Research Extension Center purchased, three were purchased through the process of electronic bidding.
The cows seem content, and one may even notice a producer or two out and about checking the cows. Generally, there are strips of hay spread across the pasture or side of the hill to make sure the cows have adequate feed during this critical part of their life.