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Weaning Weight: Misconstrued.

By   /  January 20, 2014  /  3 Comments

Is the highest weaning weight you best indicator of profit? Not necessarily!

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Misconstrue:  interpret erroneously I know you are wondering what I mean by misconstrued weight.
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About the author

Chip Hines was born and raised on a farm and ranch southwest of Burlington, Colorado. After moving to the Kit Carson, Colorado area and working on several large ranches Chip and his wife Judy began leasing land and buying cows in 1968. Unbeknownst to them this was the run-up to the big cattle break in 1974. Their first cattle cycle lesson. Chip has not forgotten! In 1989 he began planned grazing and concentrated even more on his low input philosophy. The years of learning have been published in three books on ranch management, available on his website, http://chiphines.com. Chip now lives in Yuma, Colorado and is still involved in supporting the cattle industry.


  1. Ben Berlinger says:

    Enjoyed your article Chip. I especially appreciated your statement as follows:
    “Once again, does it [weaning weight] validate profitability? Nope, just, “braggin rights”. How true…! Thanks Chip.

  2. Chip Hines says:

    I have a couple questions about your culling practice. What are your cow weights and the percent of calf weaned per mothers weight? Especially the cows you cull? Are your cow weights creeping up? It is admirable to keep weaning weights close to average, but it might not be the best tactic. There are other things that are tightly tied to profit that will show up when changing from production per animal to production per acre. The basis of our business is the land and our production and profit should be based on such. Production per animal can be misleading.


  3. Bill Beaman says:

    I was told years ago that the “truth to any debate always lies somewhere in the middle” I believe that most of the cattlemen here in the Midwest section of the US have learned that trying to grow big framed cows to produce heavy weaning weight calves is a recipe for disaster. Big cows mean poor conception and conception rate is the most important record that can be measured on a cattle operation.

    Having said that, I can tell you that we try to maintain a herd of cows running between 4 and 5 frame score that are easy fleshing. We select bulls with that goal in mind. Next spring, when we run the fall born calves through in preparation for weaning and weigh them, we’ll note that out of a 120, ten middle aged cows we’ll have weaning weights 50 pounds or more less then the average. If our records show that it’s the second or third year that these mature cows have done that, then they need to go. That’s where use of weaning weights becomes a tool, not a crutch.

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