Many factors contribute toward having a profitable cattle herd.
For instance, one has to have a good understanding of the amount of forages to feed throughout the year. If feeding too much, there will be waste. However, if feeding too little, it is likely to have animals that are underperforming.
To prevent animals from underperforming, you should check their Body Condition Score (BCS).
Beef cattle are given a BCS between 1 and 9. A BCS of 1 is considered "severely emaciated" with no fat cover over the spine, ribs and tail head.
In comparison, a score of 9 is considered "extremely fat." A BCS of 5 is considered "moderate or average." Being moderate means that there is just the right amount of fat cover over the shoulders, ribs, loin and tail head and only the last two ribs are visible.
Whether or not cattle are receiving enough forage is only a fraction of the feed equation resulting in a correct BCS.
It must be understood the quality of the forage that they are receiving.
Therefore, it is recommended to test hay properly and understand what the test results mean. Once there is an understanding of the quality of forages, a balanced feed ration to meet the needs of your animals can be developed.
Assuming individuals are able to meet the needs of their cattle in terms of food, water and shelter, then there is potential to profitably utilize artificial insemination (AI) on cattle.
It is important that if thinking about doing AI, you have a complete understanding of the process, the advantages it offers to the individual (such as wide selection of genetics and synchronized calving) and the requirements needed to have a successful AI program. If not aware of these, individuals may have reduced AI conception rates, and you could lose income.
To find out more about forage management, AI and synchronized calving, sign up for the two-night beef program offered by Purdue Extension in Monroe and Owen Counties.
The class will be Feb. 9, at the Owen County Fairgrounds, Spencer, and on Feb. 14, at the Monroe County Extension Office, Bloomington.
Both classes are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The two-night program costs $10 and will feature presentations from Greg Beavers (Select Sires), Karl Gillette (Genex), Brad Shelton (Feldun Purdue Ag Center Superintendent) and Jenna Smith (Purdue Extension, Clay and Owen Counties).
To sign up for the program, call 812-349-2575. The Extension office asks that participants come to both nights of the program, as different information will be provided each night.