Profitable Cattle About More Than Genetics, Insight from Dr. CooverThu, 08 Oct 2015 14:59:09 CDT
Good cattle genetics are the core of every cattle herd. At the recent Heart of America Farm Show, Dr. Don Coover, a veterinarian from Southeastern Kansas that runs SEK Genetics, talked about how a profitable program is based on good genetics, but even more importantly is having cattle that fit a producer’s environment and management style.
"There’s probably more difference within breeds, than there is really between breeds and a lot of production parameters,” Coover said. “So the key for most producers, is to find an animal and the genetics within that animal’s breed that complement their environment, that work in their environment, that’s profitable in their environment.”
Instead of telling producers the kind of genetics they should get, Dr. Coover would rather help producers optimize the genetics that they have. By telling producers what actions they can take to help their cattle be more productive, he aims to keep producers away from abortion problems, pregnancy wastage and nutrition issues that limit production.
If producers are looking to upgrade their genetics, there are a lot of things producers can do. Dr. Coover said that can be done in buying new cattle or by breeding cattle that more accurately fit the environment.
One genetic prediction tool producers often use are Expected Progeny Difference data or EPD’s. While they are useful, Coover said you have to understand their limitations as well.
“EPD’s are real valuable, they can be misused, I mean if you are always trying to find the most productive animal based on somebody else’s environment, that might not work for you,” Coover said. “I mean, you really need to take a look at the genetics you are using and decide are you a high input-high output kind of environment, where feed availability is always abundant or are you in a high stress-low output kind of environment, where you need a more efficient cow that may not milk as well, may not have the same body size. You know it’s a lot more expensive to feed a 1,600 pound cow, than it is for a 1,200 pound cow, because she requires more. And so, a 1,600 pound cow would be probably better suited in a high input-high output environment, a 1,200 pound cow might be much more profitable in the low input-low output environment, a lot more profitable. So, you will see a lot of guys trying to decide what I am trying to do and how am I trying to do it.”
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Dr. Don Coover on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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