Data / Record
A brief explanation of the records we keep
and how they are helping us breed more profitable cattle
and most importantly taking away some of the risk and
guess work in the product you are buying.
Spring (The Harvest; the new genetics hit the ground
and the most data is recorded.)
· Birth Weight. We weigh all our calves at tagging,
which is usually at a day old. Our birth weights are
generally heavier than other parts of the country due
to our weather and how we have to feed cows. It is not
uncommon for us to have mostly 90-100 lbs calves. If
we get a spring blizzard or a bitter cold snap Mother
Nature will add another 10 lbs to those calves. We have
noticed that the bigger calves have a higher survival
rate, although if we get them too big that there is an
increased occurrence of dystocia.
ease is recorded on all cows and heifers. We don’t
hesitate to assist if a cow is taking too long. We don't want that cow in continued pain and we want to make sure that we get the calf out alive.
vigor. We still collect a calf vigor score which
tells us if the calf got up right away and nursed
like Mother Nature intended.
Ability. We score the cows on how much maternal instinct
they exhibit at calving and tagging.
score. We score every cow and heifer at calving.
It is important for a cow to have a good udder so it is easy for a calf to nurse on her without any extra assistance.
· Dam BCS. We collect body condition scores to
see how the cow faired the winter. It is also a good indicator of the cow's health and well-being.
weights. We will get YW on our entire calf crop, commercial and Hereford.
· Yearling Hip Ht. We will collect hip heights on
all bulls and heifers. We use frame scores to help us predict genetics.
circumference. We provide scrotal measurements and semen testing. We put a lot selection pressure on
large testicles on our bulls and will cull bulls
if they don’t
have enough scrotal circumference.
· Disposition. We place a high premium on a good disposition.
turnout. We weigh all the cows when we de-worm them and vaccinate them
in the spring. With the fall weights we can see how
much our cows gained or lost from spring to fall
and look at historical data from year to year.
· Breeding Season. We use mostly Bull power to breed
our cows and we watch breeding pastures very closely. We
observe our Herd bulls breeding to make sure that they
are “good breeders”. We feel bulls that are
clumsy are more likely to hurt themselves. We can’t
afford to be selling sons of these bulls to commercial
men that expect their cows to get bred.
· Pasture Yields. We try and measure the yields
of our pastures and since we know the number of head and
the time they were out there we can apply consumption per
head. We have used these records to compare the efficiencies
of lbs of calf weaned between different groups of cows
pastured at different farms. We use this data more to compare
different pasture types and uses of different fertilizer
then we do to compare genetics.
· Weaning weights. There is nothing like bringing
in big calves in the fall. We put a lot of emphasis on
lbs of calf weaned vs. lbs of cow. Since our main job is
to produce lbs of beef, we have to have genetics that put
on pounds as efficiently as possible. We usually wean our
calves at 6-7 months of age and they are not given any
· Cows Weights. We weight all our cows at weaning
time and this gives us the ability to generate an lbs weaned/lbs
of cow number.
· Cow BCS. Probably one of the most important measurements
in regard to efficiency we have. The better the body condition
score a cow has the better she can handle the winter, the
more likely she is bred, the better condition her calf
is in at weaning, and there is a higher chance she is going
to have a healthier calf in the spring. We cannot over
look fleshing ability.
records. We keep track of the amount of feed each
group gets during the winter so that we can apply
those cost to individual cows. We are continually
trying to determine what each one of our cows cost
us through the year. This way we hopefully can continue
to select for genetics that produce more from less.