Are High Milk Producing Beef Cows a Good Investment?

This article comes to us from Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems. Thanks, Travis! Listen to a discussion of the content in this article on this episode of the BeefWatch podcast. Subscribe to new episodes in iTunes or paste http://feeds.feedburner.com/unlbeefwatch into your podcast app.   In an effort to increase beef production, we sometimes overdo genetic selection based on the idea that “more is better” or “bigger is better” in efforts to increase production. In doing so, we tend to select for short-term traits such as growth and milk yield to increase calf weaning weight for the potential of increased profitability. But, are we actually getting the full benefit of that milk we’re paying for?  Benchmarking data  illustrate that calf weaning weight has been stagnant for the last 20 years or more.  But genetic potential for growth has increased in that same time period. Using maternal genetics, calf weaning weight can have as low as a 5% influence on ranch profitability, due to increasing cowherd production costs. That means when we select for high milk production, we are chasing a mere 5% influence on profitability. On the o

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