Achieving Reproductive Efficiency in Beef Cow Herds


  • W. Mark Hilton Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, West Lafayette, IN 47907



reproductive efficiency, beef herd, production, management, cost control


Excellent reproductive efficiency can be achieved in a beef herd by using a multifaceted approach focusing on herd production and management issues. Numbers that would define reproductive efficiency for most herds would include a 90-95% pregnancy rate, less than 2% abortion rate with 65, 88, and 100% of the calves born by days 21, 42, and 65 of the calving season, respectively. Heritability of reproductive traits tends to be low and disease causing reproductive failure in beef herds is uncommon in many parts of North America. Heifer selection and development, nutrition and utilizing heterosis are some of the keys to success. Efficiency is not synonymous with maximums, but rather is more closely aligned to ‘optimums’. Recent research with cost control as the core of heifer development shows that heifers can be developed more efficiently than previously thought.






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