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The Midwest Cattleman · October 1, 2020 · P7

        Proper Cow Culling Is Important to Your Business

                                         By Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

                                         start to become less produc- the rebreeding performance  after cows were 10 years of
                                         tive?                              through about 8 years of age.  age.  A steeper decline in re-
                                            There is great variabili- A small decline was noted as  productive performance was
                                         ty in the longevity of beef  cows aged from 8 to 10 years  found as they became 12
                                         cows. Data from large ranch- of age. However, the most con- years of age. In other words,
                                         es in Florida would indicate  sistent decline in reproduc- start to watch for reasons to
                                         that cows are consistent in  tive  performance  was  noted                         continued on page 16

         Cull cows represent ap-
      proximately 20% of the gross
      income of any commercial
      cow operation. Cull beef cows
      represent 10% of the beef that
      is consumed in the United
      States. Therefore,  ranchers
      need to make certain that cow
      culling is done properly and
         Selling cull cows when
      they will return the most in-
      come to the rancher requires
      knowledge about cull cow
      health and body condition.
      Proper cow culling will reduce
      the chance that a cow carcass
      is condemned at the packing
      plant and becomes a money
      drain for the entire beef in-
         Cull open cows. Why feed
      a cow all winter that will not
      have a calf next spring? Call
      your veterinarian, schedule a
      time  for pregnancy  checking
      and find which cows have not
      bred back. Cull them while
      they are in good body condi-
      tion  after summer  pasture
      and before you spend $200 or
      more on the winter feed bill.
         Is she good for another
      year?  At cow culling time,
      producers often face some
      tough decisions.  If she is not
      pregnant, the decision is eas-
      ier.  However, what do you do
      when an older cow is re-bred?
      Optimum culling of the herd
      seems to require a sharp crys-
      tal ball that could see into the
      future. Will she keep enough
      body condition through the
      winter to deliver a healthy
      calf next spring?  How old is
      the cow?   Is her mouth sound
      so that she can harvest forage
      and  be nutritionally  strong
      enough to raise a big calf?
      At what age do cows usually
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