Heifer selection workshop set for Oct. 29 at MU Southwest Center

Not all heifers are created equal when it comes to making replacements for a beef cow herd. Some heifers make better cows than others.

Identifying the best in a herd boosts profit potential.

Two University of Missouri Extension specialists will teach how that happens on farms. They’ll hold a free workshop Oct. 29 at the MU Southwest Research Center, Mount Vernon.

Beef reproduction specialist Jordan Thomas and beef nutrition specialist Eric Bailey share breeding and feeding tips from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“We want farmers to think long-term on replacements,” Thomas says. Which heifer calves to save and how to develop them are big decisions.

Bailey starts with nutrition for heifers from weaning to breeding.

Pre-breeding feeding is important.

“We’ll discuss using fescue-based pastures to profitably develop heifers. Nutrition sets them up for success as brood cows,” Bailey says. “We’ll dispel some myths about heifer development.”

In his second session, Bailey tells of feeding from breeding to calving. “Remember, heifers first calve when they’re at 85 percent of mature weight,” he says.

MU scientists built heifer development protocols based on more than 20 years of research. The MU Extension Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program came from those studies.

Farmers enrolled in Show-Me-Select improve their herds while having extra heifers to sell at premium prices. They learn value in attention to details.

Big profits come from quality heifers.

Gains also come from smart selection decisions. Pre-breeding exams weed out heifers that can’t have a calf. This prevents loss of calves and heifers.

Stopping losses helps farm profits. Heifers that can’t calve are best sent to a feedlot. They make money instead of dying at calving.

Producers with solid heifer selection and development plans find that cows stay in the herd longer. That allows selling surplus heifers to other farmers. Those producers benefit.

Show-Me-Select shows ways to success.

Any beef producer can use the Show-Me-Select heifer protocols. They’re free to use. However, only heifers enrolled in the program carry the black-and-gold trademark ear tags of certification.

Farmers using Show-Me-Select also find the heifer steermates bring grid premium prices when fed out. Quality pays there as well.

Altogether, heifer protocols add to Missouri farm income.

The MU Southwest Research Center workshop includes lectures, but there’ll be live animal demonstrations using the center’s new beef herd. Beef heifer research and extension are part of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The outlying research farms play a part.

MU Southwest Research Center is at 14548 Highway H, Mount Vernon.

Source: Eric Bailey, 573-884-7873; Jordan Thomas, 573-882-1804


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