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Reproduction

From the earliest genetic decisions to the final protocols for calving, discover the best information to improve your herd’s reproductive performance.

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It’s that time of year again when cattle are itching to graze fresh new pastures and young calves have a newfound freedom running through green grass.

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Selection used to be entirely phenotypic. Everybody was an expert in structural evaluation and based decisions off what was seen by the naked eye. Then came the performance movement of the 1960s and ’70s, and the industry shifted to modern evaluation systems and selection tools such as expected progeny differences (EPDs) as a large part of their selection.

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The young lactating heifer has and will continue to be a rancher’s biggest nutritional challenge in the beef herd. If the young cow’s mature bodyweight is between 1,200 and 1,300 pounds, she likely only weighs a little over 1,000 pounds the first month after calving.

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Spring showers bring flowers and a breeding season for most beef cattle producers across the U.S. Whether it is the sole season or the first of two, making sure the males responsible for 50 percent of a herd’s genetics are prepared for the mating marathons ahead of them is not something that should be overlooked.

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Rather than looking backward to see which cows lived the longest and had the most calves, you can use DNA tests on young heifers to better predict which females to keep.

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Is bigger always better? Maybe you've heard, "The larger the calf, the larger the profit." One factor producers consider is milk EPDs to secure a higher weaning weight. It may seem the more milk a cow produces, the bigger her calf, thus a larger profit. However, whether this is true depends on several factors.

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