Retool Your Herd

August 24, 2013 08:52 AM

Cheramie Viator Consultant and Beef Today columnist

As an independent consultant who works lockstep with cattle produ­cers, many of whom are in drought-ravaged areas, I am impressed with the resilience and resourcefulness that stretches across cattle country.

One of the things that I am most excited about is the opportunity we have to rebuild herds in areas that faced herd liquidation or down-sizing in the past few years. As you begin the process of investing in a new herd, my challenge to you is to ask yourself several questions and from the answers to those questions, decide your rebuilding or herd improve­ment strategy.

Profitable cattle producers are those who match their cows to their environment, feed resources and market end points. So before you buy, ask yourself where you will market calves. Will you retain replace­ment females? Should you consider a terminal production herd and purchase replacements? How much feed, hay and supplements can you afford, and what amount will it take to sustain a 1,100-lb., 1,200-lb., 1,300-lb. or even 1,500-lb. cow? What are your calving and labor resources? Could you wean more total pounds of calves if you run more 1,150-lb. cows that wean 50% of their body weight or 1,400-lb. cows that require more feed and likely wean less than 50% of their body weight?

All of these questions should play into the breed make-up, size and attributes of the cows you purchase. In today’s beef industry, we have more selection tools in our tool box than ever before.
Don’t miss this opportunity to utilize EPDs, indexes and genomics combined with phenotypic evaluation for your retooled cow herd.

New Beef Today DNA. This new look for Beef Today is just one small part of Farm Journal Media’s investment into serving cattle producers and the beef industry. I’m proud to be part of that new DNA—and the many oppor­tunities that we have to serve cattle producers. This print piece is just one way our Beef Today team reaches producers. Our boots are dirty, and we understand the challenges you face on a daily basis.

The new Beef Today Advisory Team is also part of the new DNA. We think it is vital to listen to what you as beef producers need and want to hear and learn about. On page 10 of this issue, you can meet the charter members of the Advisory Team. Beyond this leadership team, we’re inviting each of you to join our Beef Today Pulse text-survey panel. (See box above.) Periodically, we’ll check your pulse on industry issues.

Just like the anticipation and expectations that you have when calving season begins or a calf is born from a special mating, the expectations are high for us at Beef Today. I hope you will join us on this new journey of opportunities.

We’re here to serve you, so don’t be shy about speaking up or reaching out. Until next time … happy trails.

Make Your Voice Heard

You are invited to be part of the new Beef Today Pulse, a national cattleman panel that speaks up and speaks out. Participating is as easy as texting "BEEF" to 46786. When we receive your message, you’ll receive a reply confirming that you have volunteered to be a member of the exclusive Beef Today text survey panel. Being a member allows you to voice your opinion—and be the first to learn the results of the surveys.

Specializing in genetics and marketing, Cheramie takes a big-picture approach to herd management. A native of Louisiana, she has worked all across the country to help ranchers maximize opportunities.

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