Replacement heifers – Money, management, and momentum


Photo submitted by Brian Trueman

Do you raise your own heifers? Or do you prefer to purchase your replacements? Regardless of your choice, developing heifers costs money and requires careful management.

Ideally, replacement heifers will go on to become long-term producers in the herd sothoughtful selection is critical. “Each producer has different resources and goals when they make the decision of whether they want to buy or retain heifers,” said Kathy Larson, a University of Saskatchewan economist. “Part of that decision needs to involve cost of production,” she advised during a recent BCRC webinar.

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Economic and reproductive factors of replacement heifer development – Webinar October 3rd

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm



Join this webinar to discuss dollars, sense, and fertility – economic and reproductive management considerations for successful replacement heifer development. Learn about recommended practices, biological hurdles, and money matters that will aid you in your own heifer development strategies.

 

Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Wednesday, October 3 at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB and SK
  • 8:00pm in MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI

Interested but aren’t available that evening?
Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too. Continue reading

Tips to make the most of your vaccine protocol

Vaccines can seem costly, and it’s not easy to see how or to
economic loss from BVD example
what extent they pay off. But cost-of-production analyses show that low-cost/profitable operations don’t cut corners when it comes to herd health. For example, the cost of a whole herd vaccination program for bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus in a 150 head cow herd (includes 157 breeding stock and 150 calves) is estimated at $8.20 per cow (assuming $4 per vaccine dose). If that herd wasn’t vaccinated and ended up with a persistently infected (PI) calf and 5% decreased conception due to BVD, they would suffer a loss of $45 per cow across the herd.

Kathy Larson, Economist at the Western Beef Development Centre, crunched those numbers for us during a recent BCRC webinar, illustrating that effective vaccination protocols developed for your herd with your veterinarian pay off.

Following her demonstration of the economics of vaccination, Dr. Nathan Erickson, Veterinarian at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine reminded producers that vaccines don’t eliminate disease completely but are able to significantly reduce the number of animals that get sick. Essentially, vaccines control disease, not prevent it.

Vaccines won’t be cost effective if they aren’t handled, stored, and administered properly.

Here are some of Dr. Erickson’s tips to help you make the most of your vaccine program

  1. Don’t store vaccines in the door of the frid
    vaccine storage fridge
    ge
    (41:40)Vaccines are very temperature sensitive, especially modified live vaccines. When the door opens, items stored in the door fluctuate in temperature. The best place in the fridge to keep vaccines is on the middle shelves.

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Economical vaccine protocols: Webinar January 17

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm


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How much does it cost and save to vaccinate your cow herd? Are some vaccines more economical than others? Which vaccines are more effective? Join this webinar to discuss the economics of vaccination, as well as best practices for vaccinating your herd.

When
Tuesday January 17, at 7:00 pm MT Continue reading

Why use artificial insemination? Webinar January 28

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

Using artificial insemination (AI) on commercial cow-calf operations can be both practical and economical. Pregnancy rates using AI can be similar to those using natural service, and depending on the protocol used, can be more economical than using natural service.

Join this free webinar to help understand whether AI is a smart choice for your operation. We’ll cover both the economics of AI, as well as some of the basics of AI, heat detection, and heat synchronization.

When


Thursday January 28th at 7pm MST

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?

If you plan to join the webinar using your tablet or mobile device, you will need to download the appropriate receiver. We recommend that you join the webinar 15 minutes early as you will be prompted to download the receiver once you log in, which may take several minutes to complete. To download the receiver ahead of time, visit: http://www.citrix.com/go/receiver.html

Register now


clickheretoregister_BCS

 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8192514286389958402

Interested but aren’t available that evening?

Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live event, you’ll have Continue reading

Results of the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey: Production Benchmarks

This post was written in collaboration with Kathy Larson, MSc, PAg, Beef Economist with the Western Beef Development Centre.

Herd productivity is closely linked to herd profitability. The calculation for break-even price on calves clearly demonstrates this:



The break-even price can be lowered by decreasing total cow herd costs or by increasing the total pounds of calves weaned. Increasing the total weight (lbs) of weaned calves can be achieved by improving herd productivity, such as:

   a) INCREASING – conception rates, weaning rate, etc.
   b) DECREASING – calf death loss, calving span, etc.

While it is good management to track and calculate one’s herd production performance indicators on an annual basis, it can be helpful to have benchmarks to compare to. Benchmarks help a producer know if they are on the right track. They can help a producer identify if they excel in a certain area and/or could improve in another. They can also help to show what production and management practices other producers are following. Benchmark productivity measures for the cow-calf sector can also help guide research and extension efforts.

For these reasons, a group of individuals from British Columbia to Manitoba, representing provincial beef producer groups, provincial Ministry of Agriculture specialists, the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canfax and the Western Beef Development Centre have revived, expanded and conducted a survey last conducted in Alberta in 1998.

The Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS) was distributed to producers from November 2014 until the end of February 2015. A total of 411 survey responses were received (representing just over 76,000 cows). Response rates varied by province with the greatest percentage of respondents being from Continue reading

Cow-calf producers’ opportunity to compare their production levels

Cow-calf producers, do you wonder how your operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size range on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? A joint effort representing the cow-calf industry from BC to Manitoba is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.



By participating in the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, producers can choose to receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).

The survey takes about 35-45 minutes to complete and asks questions related to the 2014 calf crop, as well as typical management practices. Many of the questions are the quick check-box style. Any question a producer is unable to answer can be left blank.

The complementary report will help producers see the aspects of their operation that they’re doing exceptionally well in, and the areas that have the greatest room for improvement. For example, the report will show a producer whether the conception rates of his cows in 2013 was higher or lower than nearby herds and herds of a similar size. That way, he’ll know whether he should work with his veterinarian, nutritionist and/or regional extension specialist to have fewer of his cows come home from pasture open, or if other production goals are a higher priority for him to focus on to improve his productivity and profitability.

The findings of the survey will Continue reading

Vaccination: Can you afford not to?

This is a guest post written by Karin Schmid, Beef Production Specialist with the Alberta Beef Producers.



Vaccinating your cattle is a lot like having car insurance – when you’ve been in an accident, you’re very glad you’ve got it. Similarly, if a vaccine-preventable disease shows up in your area, you will be very glad you vaccinated your herd.

No one vaccine program is perfect for all operations, but vaccination is a critical component of any herd health plan. Protocols must be matched to an operation’s specific needs. They are best developed in collaboration with your veterinarian, who will know which vaccines will provide the greatest benefit for your herd.

Sometimes you’ll hear Continue reading

Cost of Production First Steps: Production Indicators

This is a guest post written by Kathy Larson, MSc, PAg, Beef Economist with the Western Beef Development Centre.

Last month’s announcement of the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) is welcome news. This spring, cow-calf producers will have the opportunity to lock in prices for their 2014 calves. When deciding which level of coverage to take, it would be useful to know what price a producer needs to break-even. The break-even price on weaned calves is also known as the cow-calf unit cost of production. Continue reading