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JHL - COW Talk For the COW Person

Herd Management Decisions
2. Forced Efficiency

IllusionThe United States' abundance of corn has been beneficial to providing low cost beef to the packers if not our retail customers. The downside is an abundance of inexpensive feed can often compensate for inadequacies in an animal.

One of the mixed blessings of the Sandhills is the limited feed available to cattle. The cows that stay in the JHL herd must be efficient at grass conversion. The resulting replacement females will have lower maintenance requirements. In a typical year, very little winter supplementation is provided to the mature cows beyond that of natural (8% protein) prairie hay.

The progeny that end up in the feedlot will also be more efficient at changing carbohydrates into protein.  Currently our rolling four year average of all (top to bottom through to the rail) steers from the ranch are gaining 3.85 lbs per day at a conversion rate of 6.1 lbs of feed per pound of gain.  Couple this with a less than aggressive approach to implants and it is evident that these cattle are efficient and able to perform in the feedlot.

We are in the process of testing RFI (Residual Feed Intake) data collected on some of the sires we are using.  This is data that has been collected through the Canadian based Grow-Safe system.  The Braunvieh Association of America has held national bull sales utilizing this image006.jpgcollection source.  With the amount of difference in feed costs shown between animals this is a very difficult trait to ignore for the serious breeder.

Soli Deo Gloria


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