Reproductive Management of the Cowherd
By: Shelby J. FIlley & Reinaldo F. Cooke, Oregon State University
The main goal of a cow-calf operation is to produce one calf per cow per year. Sound reproductive management of the cowherd, using proven methods, is required to accomplish this goal in a manner that is economically efficient and sustains the natural resources of the ranch. A cow that fails to produce a calf for even one year can represent a net loss to the ranch. It is especially important for young cows that have not returned revenue greater than their own cost of development to continue to produce a calf each year. In many operations, a cow does not have this return until she has weaned her 5th or 6th calf. Cows that fail to rebreed in a timely manner also have economic inefficiencies that threaten the viability of a ranch. This fact sheet reviews basic evaluation tools and management practices that impact the reproductive success of a cowherd. To make use of these materials it is best to complete an evaluation on your cowherd by calculating the various numbers (percentages and time periods) and review the management practices referred to in this fact sheet. As a follow-up, decide which areas need improvement, make a priority list, and then act accordingly.