Improving the Productivity of Beef Heifers in Florida

Figure 1. Illustration of proper hip height measurement.Beef replacement heifers are a necessary but costly part of every cow-calf operation. A decision needs to be made to either purchase replacement heifers or raise them on the ranch. This is a long-term decision that will affect the ranch for many years through the genetics of the replacement heifers and through equipment and management inputs. This 9-page fact sheet provides an analysis of considerations for raising replacements; factors to consider in selection; and recommendations for nutritional management. Written by Phillip Lancaster, Chris Prevatt, and John Arthington, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, March 2015. (Photo: Beef Improvement Federation)

Cull Cow Beef Quality Issues series

Figure 1. A cow that is thin and did not produce a calf is a candidate to enter the non-fed beef market as a cull cow. Credit: Matt Hersom, UF/IFASCull cattle are those that are sold from a herd for lack of performance, lack of resources, or genetic improvement The non-fed beef cattle market (cattle that are not managed through traditional feedlot finishing systems) is comprised primarily of cull cows and bulls. To address liability and food safety concerns, this series of articles discusses some quality defects identified in the non-fed beef market, how to prevent them, and how to address them when they appear in cattle.

Environmental Impact of Beef Cattle Production Systems

herd of beef cattle on a Florida ranchThis 6-page fact sheet discusses beef demand in the context of a growing population, beef production’s greenhouse gases and their effect on the environment, the great advantage of ruminants, generating accurate greenhouse gas emissions estimates, greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector, and mitigation strategies. Written by Nicolas DiLorenzo, G. Cliff Lamb, Jose Dubeux, John Arthington, Joao Vendramini, and Phillip Lancaster and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014. (UF/IFAS Photo by Thomas Wright)

Cow Math: Using Weaning Weight to Estimate Cowherd Productivity

North Florida beef cattle, pasture, field, calf. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.“You can’t get where you’re going unless you know where you are.”
The ability to measure performance is a key component in all beef cow operations, and measuring production efficiency is becoming increasingly important. Regardless of size, producers must be able to identify the current status of their operation in order to make adjustments toward improvement. Identifying and culling the cows within the herd that are less efficient at producing a weaned calf in the environment and management system used on the ranch can be a powerful tool to improve the herd. This 8-page fact sheet was written by Phillip Lancaster and John Arthington, and published by the UF Department of Animal Science, April 2014.

Cattle Fencing BMP Can Reduce Phosphorus Loads from Florida Ranches

Exclusion fencing on Piscola Creek, GABMPs are an important tool in helping the state and individual landowners protect and enhance state’s waters. Given the water quality issues facing Lake Okeechobee and other sensitive water bodies, the importance of BMP implementation has increased since their official establishment as part of the FWRA. In order to ensure that BMPs are reducing nutrient loadings, on-farm research is needed to verify BMP effectiveness. A four-year study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the cow/calf stream fencing BMP. The study concluded that the BMP did reduce the amount of P being discharged from the ranch. This BMP should continue to be included in the cow/calf BMP manual, and, hopefully, its widespread implementation will help the state in meeting its TMDLs. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Sanjay Shukla, Wendy D. Graham, Alan Hodges, and James M. Knowles, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, May 2014.

Effect of Age at Castration on Beef Calf Performance (AN289)

Baby calf seen basking in the early morning sunA study in Florida was conducted to examine the issue of age at castration to determine if castration timing resulted in significant differences in growth rate and weaning weight in nursing calves. In addition, the study included a comparison between Angus and Brangus calves in the treatment groups to determine if there was a breed by castration effect. No differences in calf growth rates were observed in early compared to late castration. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Amie Imler, Todd Thrift, Matt Hersom, and Joel Yelich, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, March 2013.

Preconditioning Calves Using Co-products (AN260)

Preconditioning cattle is a way to add value to a calf crop. It involves weaning, vaccination, and acclimating cattle to eating from feed bunks. This publication will focus on the nutrition, feedstuff considerations, and performance potential for different co-product options in preconditioning management. This 8-page fact sheet was written by Matt Hersom, Todd Thrift, and Joel Yelich , and published by the UF Department of Animal Science, May 2011.

AN233 Managing Beef Cow Efficiency

AN233, a 6-page illustrated fact sheet by Travis D. Maddock and G. Cliff Lamb, discusses three key points for managing beef cow efficiency — cow weight, milking potential, and body condition score.
Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, February 2010.

AN131/AN131 Early Weaning: a Management Alternative for Florida Beef Cattle Producers

Revised! AN-131, a 9-page illustrated fact sheet by John Arthington, describes this management practice involving the permanent separation of the cow and calf when the calf is 70 to 90 days of age. Published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, May 2008.

VM-167/VM117 Emergency Considerations for Beef Cattle

VM-167, a 5-page illustrated guide by Max Irsik and Todd Thrift, provides a general overview of beef cattle handling, care, and health concerns which may be associated with a natural disaster such as a hurricane. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Veterinary Medicine-Large Animal Clinical Sciences, May 2008.