The biggest mistake you can make during “herd build up”…….

If she doesn’t have a calf on her and in her, she isn’t a breeder!

The biggest mistake you can make is falling into the trap of keeping ALL your cows and hoping that she will give you are calf.  Your empty cows are your liquid assets that can most easily be converted into cold hard cash into your account.   We are now in the most critical time for maximising your breeders’ efficiency and increasing your herd numbers.

Beef Central published an article on 25 January 2017 with some very interesting figures about how long it is projected to take for the national herd to recover after the drought we have experienced in the past few years.  (We acknowledge that some places are still in drought and haven’t received the rain needed to kick start pasture regrowth which is the first step in the process).

The article stated that the national herd should recover by 2019 with Qld and Nth Territory herds not forecast to be at pre-drought numbers until 2021, assuming a 70% branding rate and “average” seasonal conditions.

Another way to look at that is that, on average 30% of the cows in the average producer’s herd are not bringing a calf into the yard every year.  What is your branding rate?  Can you afford to have 30% of your cows eating your grass & supplements, taking up your man power and not earning their keep?

It doesn’t matter how many breeders you have, 100 or 10,000 quickly do the sums on that 30% average (or use your own figure if you know it). 

How many of your breeders make up that 30%?  (Breeder numbers X 0.30 if you are using a calculator)

Now multiply that figure by the current record cattle prices and that is the value of empty cows out in the paddock right now.  

For the sake of the exercise, times the number of your empty cows by your $/hd/wk supplement or agistment bill and that is how much money you will save per year if you moved all your empty cows out of your operation.

What could you do with that money in the next 12 months?  Have a better supplement program for the cows on hand who you know are in calf and are worth the increased investment?  Pay off debt? Improve infrastructure?  You can put in a lot of fence lines or water upgrades with that money.  Maybe invest in some PTIC cows or heifers with the genetics that you would like in your herd?  Buy better quality bulls?

And now, the only question left to answer is ……. Which cows make up that 30%?  If you are not accurately pregnancy testing your breeders, at best you can only make rough stab in the dark. 

Ultrasound pregnancy testing gives you quick, easy reliable diagnosis of pregnant or empty breeders.  Your ability to make informed management decisions based on confirmed pregnant or empty diagnosis will directly impact your bottom line and shorten your own herd build up times.