Time to Change Directions

December 15, 2015 11:29 AM

By: Alan Newport, editor of Drovers/CattleNetwork

Growing piles of evidence show we’ve created an unsustainable and less-profitable or unprofitable cow herd in this nation.

Statistics from several states show calf weaning weights, on the average, haven’t gone up in more than 20 years, despite steady selection for bigger weaned calves. The Southwest Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) database for herds in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico shows this trend.

Database manager and Texas A&M economist Stan Bevers says the only significant changes in calf weights are traceable to wet and dry years. That is exaggerated by the huge dip in weights in the drought of 2011. Data in the accompanying chart from Southwest SPA, from Kansas farm management records and from North Dakota Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software shows this flat trend. All this is despite a steadily climbing genetic trend for yearling weights, which isn’t happening under range conditions.

Read more on CattleNetwork.com.

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