What Is the Economic Impact of Infertility in Beef Cattle?

Cattle at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida.

Producers cannot completely control infertility in their cow herds. However, understanding and addressing the factors that affect infertility will help producers implement management practices that can improve fertility and reduce the negative impacts of infertility on the profitability of beef cow-calf operations. This 4-page fact sheet discusses reasons why beef cows fail to become pregnant or wean a calf, identification of infertile beef cows, and economic impacts of reduced fertility and infertility in beef cattle. Written by Chris Prevatt, G. Cliff Lamb, Carl Dahlen, Vitor R. G. Mercadante, and Kalyn Waters, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, revised September 2018.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an208

The Florida Bull Test 2016-2017

Closeup of a bull.

The 17th annual Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 21, 2017 at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 Florida Bull Test. The test evaluated the performance potential and breeding soundness of bulls consigned to the program at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC). This new 9-page fact sheet discusses test procedures, assessment of feed efficiency, test rules and regulations, health requirements, and test results. Written by Luara B. Canal, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, February 2018.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an341

The Florida Bull Test 2015-2016

Closeup of a bull.

The 16th annual Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 16, 2016 at the conclusion of the 2015–2016 Florida Bull Test. The test evaluated the performance potential and breeding soundness of bulls consigned to the program at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC). This 10-page fact sheet covers the test procedures, assessment of feed efficiency, general policies and procedures, health requirements, test results, and sale summary. Written by Carla D. Sanford, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2016.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an328

Pre-Breeding Considerations for the Development of Replacement Beef Heifers

Young heifers at the Range Cattle Research Station. These beef cows are all at least 3/4 Angus. They are part of an attempt to create a white Angus breed. During the summer the white cows, coined "white Angus" by the researchers in Ona, have a body temperature that is one degree cooler than the traditional black Angus. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.The efficiency of post-weaning development of heifers has a major impact on the overall profitability of cow-calf operations. To ensure satisfactory performance during the first breeding season, replacement heifers must be subjected to an adequate development program. This 3-page fact sheet covers age at puberty, nutrition, target body weight gain, pelvic area measurements, reproductive tract score, and herd health. Written by Pedro L. P. Fontes, Nicky Oosthuizen, Carla D. Sanford, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2016.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an329

The Florida Bull Test 2014/2015

Closeup of a bull.

The 2014-2015 Florida Bull Test concluded with the evaluation of 103 bulls. The test assessed the performance potential and breeding soundness of bulls consigned to the program at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC). This 9-page fact sheet covers the test procedures, feed efficiency assessment, test rules and regulations, health requirements, test results, and sale summary. Written by Carla D. Sanford, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, June 2016.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an325

Estrous Synchronization and Fixed-Time Artificial Insemination

Beef cows, field. UF/IFAS: Photos Thomas WrightThe economic success of beef cow-calf operations depends on the production of one healthy calf per cow per year. To achieve this goal, cow-calf producers need to overcome several obstacles related to the cow, bull, and offspring. Over the last four decades, several advances in reproductive biotechnologies, such as artificial insemination (AI), synchronization of estrus, and fixed-time AI (TAI), have allowed producers to improve the genetic traits of their cattle and shorten the lengths of both the breeding season and subsequent calving season, which can lead to increased overall profitability of cow-calf production systems. This 5-page fact sheet discusses benefits of synchronization and TAI use, obstacles that hinder adoption of reproductive biotechnologies, objectives of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, and factors that can affect the success of TAI programs. Written by Vitor R. G. Mercadante, Darren D. Henry, Francine M. Ciriaco, Pedro L. P. Fontes, Nicky Oosthuizen, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, January 2016.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an324

The Economic Impact of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle

Beef cattle feeding in pasture.A well-run, profitable business is usually more efficient than its competitors. In the case of the beef cattle industry, competition can come from two sources: other producers who sell similar classes of cattle, and other protein-producing species, such as pork and poultry. Measuring efficiency across the entire integrated beef system can be difficult due to the differing classes of cattle, breed differences, and ways in which the biological systems interact. There are a multitude of measures of efficiency in beef production, with feed efficiency being one of the most economic. This 3-page fact sheet is a major revision that covers feed to gain ratio and residual feed intake in beef cattle. Written by Travis D. Maddock, Darren D. Henry, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences. Original publication date: May 2009. Revised October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an217

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)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an302

Potential Bull Buyers Perceive Increased Value to their Operations When Purchasing Bulls from the Florida Bull Test

Florida Bull Test logoSince its beginning in 2000, the Florida Bull Test has been under constant evolution to achieve its goal of helping producers select high-quality sires, thereby improving production and profitability of beef cattle producers in Florida and the Southeast United States. A survey of potential buyers before the 2014 sale succeeded in identifying which characteristics of bulls are most important to buyers purchasing bulls: purchasing bulls from the Florida Bull Test increases the value of calves sired by improving performance, genetics, and feed efficiency of their herds. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Vitor R. G. Mercadante, Darren D. Henry, Francine M. Ciriaco, Paula M. Mercadante, Tessa Schulmeister, Nicolas DiLorenzo, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an313

Understanding Pregnancy Diagnosis in Beef Cattle

examples of ultrasound imagesBecause 55 to 70 percent of the input costs associated with a beef cattle operation are related to nutrition, culling open (non-pregnant) cows after the breeding season can save as much as $200 per head that can be diverted to the purchase or development of replacement females, sire selection, increased nutritional management, and other management-related costs. Pregnancy diagnosis can be performed simply during vaccination or at the time of weaning. There are three practical methods: rectal palpation, transrectal ultrasonography, or blood test. This 5-page fact sheet was written by G. Cliff Lamb, Darren D. Henry, Vitor R. G. Mercadante, and Doug E. Mayo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an314

Targeting ADG of Developing Replacement Heifers Using Age and Body Weight

North Florida beef cattle, pasture, field, calf. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.Heifer development continues to be one of the largest expenses to cow-calf operations, primarily due to cost of feed. Replacement heifers should be bred to calve at 24 months of age in order to maximize lifetime productivity of breeding females. Therefore, heifers should conceive at 15 months of age and achieve puberty at 13–14 months of age because heifers are infertile on the pubertal estrous cycle. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Phillip Lancaster and Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, September 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an305

The Florida Bull Test, 2013-2014

Florida Bull Test logoThe 2013-2014 Florida Bull Test was a 112-day performance test and a breeding soundness evaluation of each bull that qualified for the auction. Table 1 summarizes feed efficiency data; Table 2 individual feed intake and feed efficiency; and Table 3 individual animal performance. This 10-page fact sheet was written by Vitor R. G. Mercadante, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, May 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an301

The Florida Bull Test 2012-2013

Florida Bull Test logoThe North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida annually hosts the Florida Bull Test. By controlling the environmental factors and taking Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s) into account, the data clearly emphasizes the dual importance of genetics and environment in all cattle types. This 9-page fact sheet presents the procedures, rules, and results of the 2012-2013 test. Written by G. Cliff Lamb and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, October 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an290

Understanding the Effects of Forage Composition and Structure in Ruminant Nutrition (AN288)

Cattle grazing in a pastureApproximately 68% of the 16 million square miles of agricultural land worldwide is used for permanent pastures for livestock production. Fortunately, ruminants can convert plant matter that is inedible or of low nutritional value for monogastrics (i.e., swine or poultry) into calorically dense products of high nutritional value. However, the process of converting poor quality plant matter into useful nutrients for ruminants is complex. This 3-page fact sheet provides an overview and understanding of how forage composition and structure affect the nutritive value and nutrient availability to ruminants. Written by Kalyn M. Waters, Nicolas DiLorenzo, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, March 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an288

The Florida Bull Test 2011-2012 (AN284)

Florida Bull Test logoThe North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida annually hosts the Florida Bull Test. By controlling the environmental factors and taking Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s) into account, the data clearly emphasizes the dual importance of genetics and environment in all cattle types. This 5-page fact sheet presents the procedures, rules, and results of the 2011-2012 test. Written by G. Cliff Lamb and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, December 2012.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an284

Management of Postpartum Anestrus in Beef Cows (AN277)

nsion Calendar 2002-September-Campuswide Engagement--Cattle, cow, agriculture, poppies, flowers, spring. Photo by Eric ZamoraIt is estimated that in Florida alone the cost of infertility of beef cows exceeds $86 million annually. Infertility occurs when cows become pregnant but fail to calve, become pregnant late in the breeding season and fall out of the annual production cycle or fail to become pregnant during the breeding season. The latter two causes of infertility are a direct result of the length of the post-partum interval. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Kalyn Bischoff, Vitor Mercadante, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Science, March 2012.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an277

Environmental and Economic Benefits of Selecting Beef Cattle for Feed Efficiency (AN276/AN276)

Effect of feed efficiency measured as Residual Feed Intake (RFI) on nutrient excretion by suckled Angus beef cows. A positive RFI indicates a less efficient cow, while a negative RFI indicates a more efficient cow. Both cows are evaluated under the same diet and environmental conditions. (ADG = Average Daily Gain; DMI = Dry Matter Intake).Selecting for feed efficiency based on residual food intake can significantly impact the amount of nutrients consumed and excreted per cow without compromising animal performance. Fresh manure output and excretions of phosphorous and nitrogen could be reduced by 29%, while methane emissions can be reduced by as much as 28% when selecting more feed-efficient animals. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Nicolas DiLorenzo and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Science, February 2012.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an276

The Florida Bull Test 2010-2011 (AN273)

Angus bull, beef cattle. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas WrightThe North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida annually hosts the Florida Bull Test. By controlling environmental factors and taking Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s) into account, the data emphasizes the dual importance of genetics and environment in all cattle types. Beef cattle producers can use this information to select superior cattle for the best possible herd. This 5-page fact sheet provides the results of the 2010-11 Florida bull test. Written by G. Cliff Lamb and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Science, November 2011. (UF/IFAS photo by Thomas Wright)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an273

AN251 The Florida Bull Test 2009-2010

AN251, a 6-page fact sheet by G. Cliff Lamb, reports on this performance test and breeding soundness evaluation conducted in 2009-2010 — procedures, rules and regulations, results, and sale summary. Includes 2010-2011 test dates and a table of individual animal performance. Published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, October 2010.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an251

AN231 Assessing Efficiency for the Beef Cow

AN231, a 4-page illustrated fact sheet by Travis D. Maddock and G. Cliff Lamb, helps beef producers better understand what drives efficiency for the beef breeding herd. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, February 2010.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an231