Published on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 10:54am


 By Trudy Ohlde - Ohlde Cattle Co

 Truly focusing on the female. The livelihood of the commercial man or woman depends on their cowherd.

What is the best direction to take your cow herd in the near future? Decisions made this breeding season can affect your cow herd for the next 12-14 years. The initial impact of a bull used this year will not fully be realized for 3-5 years when those heifers born from these genetics start production and either fall out or stay in the herd. To compound this matter a bull may be used 3-5 years before you realize he does not fit your goals to produce replacement females. This can be an expensive process. The expense can be even more devastating if the genetics do not fit your environment and resources or have much longevity.

The recent trends and promotion to breed for maximum growth and prime carcasses does not coincide with the female counter parts that have to produce efficiently to fuel the total beef industry. There seems to be a real shortage of the right kind of females to return to the herds. Those that have true fleshing ability to thrive on forage with little to no supplement, have good feet, udders and continue to produce for 10-12 years. They need to be able to do this in all environments including drought, harsh winter conditions and all that mother nature throws at them. Calf vigor has also become a concern as the focus towards other traits has taken center stage. A live calf that gets up and nurses right away is vital to the commercial man’s bottom line.

Ohlde Cattle Co. has consistently been breeding and producing the LOW INPUT kind of female for over 40 years. We have focused on the females and produce the bulls that will sire progeny with these true maternal traits. The demand for extra females that work in all environments will bring a significant premium over steers day in and day out. Consistency of type of cattle is important in passing on of the desired traits no matter the breed you are using. We have used some maternal type Fleckvieh cattle at a low percentage to take advantage of heterosis while maintaining the desired female.

Something to consider if you are breeding solely for the premium carcass market is that the dairy industry has turned a dramatic corner in order to add value to their calves. They are using beef genetics on about 70% of their herds. This adds muscle and shape to the dairy calves and will allow them to influence the high-quality beef market as marbling is not an issue in dairy breeds. As this continues to increase, the extra premiums that are expected to pay for the added resources needed for the beef cow herds will be greatly affected. Will you be ready to take a double hit and remain profitable?