BEEFMASTER Pay Weight The Beefmaster Pay Weight
a publication dedicated to serving commercial cattlemen and produced by Beefmaster Breeders United FALL 2019
Vol. 5, No. 2
Developing Replacement Heifers By Kaitlyn Sarlo Davila and Todd Thrift, University of Florida Heifer development can be daunting: it is often one of the largest expenses of a cow-calf operation. This is due to feed costs, but also in large part due to loss when heifers don’t rebreed. For heifers, calving at two years old is the key to maximizing lifetime productivity. In order to calve at two years of age, heifers need to conceive at 15 months of age and reach puberty at 13-14 months of age. Body weight, body fat and age are all critical factors in when heifers achieve puberty but body weight is the most important factor. 50 to 75 lbs can make the difference between a 50% and a 90% conception rate. Heifers should reach 65% of their mature weight prior to breeding season. This is especially important for Bos indicus influenced heifers. If mature cow size is 1200 to 1400 lbs, heifers need to
reach 780 to 910 lbs by the start of the breeding season. All heifers should reach this target weight, this should not be the average weight of the group of heifers. Heifer weight is important not only for the first breeding, but for the second as well. Even if lightweight heifers are able to get bred they are more likely to experience calving problems and the chances of them getting rebred the following year after the challenge of nursing a calf are practically non-existent. How do I get my heifers to reach this target weight? There are three steps to get you started: 1) Determine the start date of breeding season (based on desired calving date) 2) Determine the expected mature weight 3)Determine required average daily gain
Many producers are One of the most effective unsure of the mature weight management strategies to of their herd. One simple help heifers achieve this and straightforward way to daily gain is to sort them. determine mature weight By sorting light and heavy if you don’t have scales is heifers and feeding them to add 200 lbs to the value separately you can get the weight of cull cows sold. most “bang for your buck” Let’s assume I’ve weaned spent on feed by making sure st 500 lb heifers on October 1 . feed goes to the heifers that need it most. My breeding season begins st As you can see in the April 1 and my mature cow chart, feeding weight 1200 lbs. My heifers Many is producers are unsure of the mature weight of theirheifers herd. One simple separately based size have 183 days to reach their and straightforward way to determine mature weight if you on don't have scalesweight. is to add Th 200eir lbs target to the value weight of cullincreases cows sold. the ADG greatly target pregnancy rate ofseason weight is 780 (1200lbs x onand i . My breeding Let's assume I've lbs weaned 500 lb heifers October st begins=April and my cow weight is 1200heifers. lbs. My heifers have 183 lighter The overall 0.65 7801lbs). Mymature heifers days toto reach their target weight is 780 (1200lbs x 0.65 need gain 280 lbsweight. in 183Their target pregnancy ratelbsincreases as = 780 lbs). My heifers need to gain 280 lbs in 183 days which results in a days which results in a target well. In the first group where target ADG (average daily gain) of 1.53 lbs per day (280 lbs 7 183 days= 1.53 ADG (average daily gain) of heifers were fed together, lbs/day). the average pregnancy 1.53 lbs per day (280 lbs ÷ One of the most effective management strategies to help heifers achieve rate and washeavy 70%heifers but when the 183 daysgain = 1.53 lbs/day). this daily is to sort them. By sorting light and feeding st
them separately you can get the most «bang for your buck" spent on feed by continued on page 26 making sure feed goes to the heifers that need it most.
Average Daily Gain Pregnancy rate
Fed Together Light heifers Heavy heifers 1.25 lb/day 1.47 lb/day 60%
Fed Separately Light heifers Heavy heifers 1.23 lb/day 1.80 lb/ day 79%
Adapted from Varner et. al, 1977
As you can see in the chart, feeding heifers separately based on size greatly increases the ADG and pregnancy rate of lighter heifers. The overall pregnancy rate increases as well. In the first group where heifers were fed together, the average pregnancy rate was 70% but when the heifers were fed separately the average pregnancy rate for both groups increased to 84.5%. There are three main strategies for feeding heifers to this target weight: steady, rapid early and rapid late. There are advantages and drawbacks to
300 BEEFMASTER REPLACEMENT FEMALES
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A publication dedicated to serving commercial cattlemen and produced by Beefmaster Breeders United.