Tips for culling cattle

This is the time of year to review your cow inventory and identify candidates for culling. The following are some culling tips:
Your list of candidates should start with open cows and heifers. Pregnancy checking and culling open cows has shown to return about $30 per cow exposed.
There is no justification for retaining and feeding open cows until the next breeding season. This is especially true with the current cow prices.
Cows with a history of health or structural problems, such as poor feet or udders, eye problems, and hard calvings, should be next on the removal list.
They put a drain on feed supplies, potentially increase your vet bills, and their health and value may decline rapidly during the winter.
Review your adjusted weaning weights for the past few years and identify cows that continually are producing below herd average.
Select the bottom 10 percent to be added to your list of culling candidates as they are not generating as many dollars as others in the herd and may not be working efficiently.
If your cow inventory is still too high for your winter feed inventory and purchasing feed is not economical, increase the number of below average producers to be culled.
Heifers represent large investments in labour, feed, and management. Reducing the number of replacement females to be maintained through the winter can increase fall cash flow and decrease winter feed costs.
Select heifers with strong performance from proven cow families and cull below average performers and heifers from inconsistent producers.
Remember, if you are downsizing your cow herd, you won’t need to keep as many replacement females as in previous years.
< *c>Dates to remember
•Oct. 27—Final fall cattle sale; Stratton sales barn.

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