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Prolonged winter weather always makes an impact on livestock

Prolonged winter weather always makes an impact  on livestock. The long effect of commingling plus the natural effect of harsh weather can take a toll into overall livestock health. Older cattle, cows with calves and young stock can suffer because they are at disadvantage and cannot compete with stronger, healthier cows. In reference to proper culling time, Dan Childs from the Samuel Noble foundation wrote: “Deciding when to cull cows from the herd and what time of the year to sell a cull cow can have a large impact on the profitability of your cow-calf enterprise. In many instances there just simply seems to be no good time to sell a cow. She either has a calf at side or she is just about to have another one. They are always right on the verge of making a little more money. Although every ranch has to cull and market in a way that will work best for them individually, there may be some common principles from which all of us can benefit. One principle is to cull a cow before the time when she can hardly load in the trailer and brings only a canner price at the market. Chances are the last calf or two she raised have been below the average weaning weight for the herd. Granted, it is not economical to sell a good older cow while she is producing top calves, but you should sell her before she is completely “down the hill”. In many herds cull cows and bulls can account for up to 15 to 20 percent of the annual income, so they have a big effect on the annual profitability. On today’s market a high dressing utility cow could bring in excess of 40 cents a pound whereas a low dressing cutter may only bring 30 cents. If she weighs 1000 pounds that is $100 difference per head or 33.3 percent. That is considerably more than the profit most cow-calf producers have been making the last couple of years. If you can increase cull cow weight and price by even a conservative 10 percent, it will reduce the price you need to break even on your calves. Another principle worth remembering is to sell cull cows early, like September, rather than waiting for the market to hit bottom later in the winter”.  The other consideration is the risk of those older or sick cows dying in your pastures.  Animals that die in your pasture either by natural dead or disease are a concern for you and our community so it is always better to sell those older cows at the right time. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected]



Author: KSST Webmaster

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