Should We Keep a Cow That Fails to Do Her Job?

By : Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee


This week I’ve had several discussions about reproductive efficiency in cattle and the profitability implications of cows that do not breed and rolling those cows from a spring calving season to a fall calving season. It is understood that many producers that have multiple breeding seasons or that leave the bull with the cows 12 months of the year commonly give cows an extra opportunity to breed. Though it is common, it does not mean it is a best management practice.

First, most cattle producers understand a short controlled calving season (60 to 90 days) is easier to manage and less expensive than calving the entire year. Second, a cow that fails to breed will not be able to make up her maintenance costs for that one year in her lifetime. Lastly, there are too many good cows that will do their job to keep one that fails to do her job even one time.

Culling a cow can be difficult for many people, but replacing her with a better one will soften the blow.

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