Measuring Performance Per Animal vs Per Acre

For the last 50+ years, nearly all of the so-called “experts” in the beef industry have been focused on one thing – increasing individual animal performance – weaning weight, for the most part. This is why all of today’s status quo beef producers adhere to what I am going to call the “Increase Individual Animal Performance” paradigm. They have been led to believe that success in this business is dependent on measuring and increasing individual animal performance. By definition, the “Increase Individual Animal Performance” paradigm assumes bigger is always better. For example, it assumes a calf with a 500-pound weaning weight is superior to a calf with a 450-pound weaning weight – and a calf with a 600-pound weaning weight is superior to a calf with a 500-pound weaning weight – and so on and so on.   The bigger the weaning weight, the better. I know of a seedstock producer who brags about weaning weights in the 900 to 1000 pound range. The fact that they sell lots of bulls for lots of money tells me that there are lots of producers who are trapped

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3 thoughts on “Measuring Performance Per Animal vs Per Acre

  1. Grant, there is absolutely nothing in what I wrote to give you the impression that the heavier cow weaned 46% of her own weight, while the lighter cow weaned 41% of her own weight. With very few (if any) exceptions, smaller cows will wean a higher percent of their own weight than big cows. That is one of the reasons smaller cows are more profitable. No matter how much land you have, you can run substantially more smaller cows than big cows. The smaller cows will always produce more total pounds that are worth more per pound. That always equals MORE PROFIT!. There is ample evidence that says big cows cannot produce calves that are as big as those produced by smaller cows. Check this out… http://www.pharocattle.com/extrastuff/PCC_Program/BIG_Cows.pdf. The reason the big cows produced small calves is that they do not fit their environment. They are struggling to meet their maintenance requirements.

  2. I understand that the numbers that you used are probably just random numbers that you picked for example’s sake, but since I am very new to stock work, I was trying to make them come out as you’d stated they would. I could very well be missing something, like an obvious assumption that someone who is not new would pick up on, but when I worked out the example’s weaning weight percentages the heavier cow weaned at 46% of her weight, and the lighter cow weaned at 41%. This seems to contradict what you were trying to get across, and I would really like to understand what you were saying…did I miss something?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Grant,
      I think you may have misunderstood the example Kit was using. I don’t think he was comparing 1400# cows that wean 650# calves to 1100# cows that wean 450# calves. The cows and the calves were two separate examples.

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