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Follow practical information for the beef producer on essential topics including management, reproduction and calving, new technology, facilities improvement, beef quality, and feed and nutrition.

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The following is a fictional story based on real results from a three-year university study.*

Two neighboring ranchers met often at the local coffee shop to argue the merits of their different approaches to cow-calf management. Tom Tightfist was convinced that cutting feed expenses was the only way to improve profits, while his buddy, Sam Spendabuck, believed increasing inputs would net better returns. It was a friendly but passionate argument.

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The task of raising useful seedstock comes with many hurdles. Outfits must forge a path in a competitive industry where creating the right product in the 21st century is just half the battle.

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Dale Sauls was no stranger to “fixed-time” artificial insemination. The Florida native had used the reproductive management tool in his commercial dairy operation. So when he and his wife, Connie, moved with their daughters to Mountain Grove, Missouri three years ago, it was only natural for them to incorporate fixed-time AI into their beef herd.

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Calving difficulty (dystocia) is an important economic problem in the U.S. beef cattle industry. According to the USDA, the economic impact of calving difficulty is $350 million each year, and approximately 3 percent of all beef calves born in the U.S. will be lost due to calving difficulty.

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The cow’s first milk is crucial to the health and survival of her calf. It contains fat that provides energy (and generates body warmth in cold weather), acts as a laxative to help pass first bowel movements and provides important antibodies against disease.

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How do other cattle producers ensure a successful calving season? We’ve gathered their advice.

Every cowboy knows that the cardinal rule of calving is that calves need colostrum as soon as possible within their first few hours of life. That’s when they have the ability to absorb the colostrum’s immunity-boosting antibodies directly through the gut wall and into the bloodstream – the opportunity for that direct absorption ends after the calf is about 24 hours old.

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