Drovers Cow/Calf Thinks So!

The Red Devon Cow. Fertility, fleshing ability, and the right amount of milk.  Photo by Linda.

The Red Devon Cow. Fertility, fleshing ability, and the right amount of milk. Photo by Linda.

The October 27 blog post, titled “Marketing Survey Says”, came from the Drovers Cow/Calf  which is part of www.cattlenetwork.com.  Today I’m going back to that source using the recent December 2015 issue and the editorial page written by Alan Newport.  In that article Mr. Newport concludes that the cows in the nation’s cowherd are on average too large and give too much milk.  This has had a negative impact on the overall performance of those cows.

Following are the key points made by Mr. Newport:

  • These large, heavy milking cows cannot maintain adequate body condition on native forages.
  • Mr. Newport also refers to data that states that poor udder conformation, balloon teats and pendulous udders, is “genetically linked to higher milk production”.
  • Also “data… has shown adding 100 pounds overall weight to a cow will add, at best, 6 pounds additional calf weight.”  In 2012 Damona Doye and Dave Lalman of OSU “calculated this added calf weight is worth $5 to $7, while the cost per cow for putting it on is $42 – a net loss of $35 per cow”.
  • Mr. Newport states that 3 other databases “show us real calf weaning weights haven’t gotten any bigger since 1991.”  Obviously this means cows that are bigger, more costly to maintain, without raising larger calves than 20 years ago.
  • This in turn is giving us finished cattle that are “too big for the slaughter plant” and cuts that are too big for the consumers.

To get the full details go to www.cattlenetwork.com , on the top menu click on Drovers Cow/Calf and on that page click on Latest Issue.

I think we already see a lot of commercial cattle people looking for the right genetics to get moderate frame, easy keeping, fertile, and low maintenance genetics.  Sounds like they are looking for good Red Devon genetics.

Submitted by Roy