Higher profitability or higher bragging rights?

adapted genetics Jan 18, 2021

When we calculate whole ranch profits at the end of the year it is clear, that the number of pounds of weaned calves sold is more important than selling fewer pounds in the form of higher weight individuals like heavy weaning weights.

To achieve heavy individual weaning weights, we need to use high input genetics with high milk production and those genetics are usually larger frame animals.  We need to ask ourselves: do I want maximum profits while improving my soil and my life? Or do I prefer bragging rights?

A good comparison would be to consider a corn grower.  Does he/she select and manage for large corn ears, or for higher profitability? Is individual corn ear size the determinant of profitability? Or is total production less the total expenses more important?

The same happens when selecting for heavier weaning weights/higher milk producing cows.  They need a very different selection criteria and management than a maximum profitability ranch requires.

Too make matters worse, the heavier the calf is the less price per pound the cattleman gets.  Calves are paid per pound or hundred weight where the heavier they are the less price we get.

Total pounds of weaned calves sold per year determines profits much more than how much each calf weights at weaning.

Then we need to consider number of cows required to wean those calves.  The larger the cow is, frame size, the lower her body condition will be at the high stocking rates required for profitability under today’s economic conditions.  This larger frame animals are late maturing and I call them hormonally imbalanced to where their practical fertility will be lower than animals that have been selected for nutritional adaptation where they can be fat with low quality forages.

The high milk production required to wean heavier and heavier calves goes against body condition in the cow as energy consumed is first allocated for maintenance, next to milk production, next to weight gain and fattening and then for reproduction.  This means that the more milk a cow is genetically able to produce the lower her practical or on the ranch fertility she will have.

This is the reason we can sell much more pounds of weaned calves per ranch/farm per year with adapted, shorter but heavier, correctly selected cows.

Will explain all the nuances of how to create a herd of adapted animals that can help you achieve maximum profitability while improving your land the fastest.


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