Cull open replacement heifers early after the first breeding season

  • Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

“As the breeding season is winding down decisions need to be made about what to do with open replacement heifers,” says Patrick Davis MU Extension Regional Livestock Field Specialist.  Davis will discuss suggestion on how to manage these heifers to promote optimum cattle operation reproductive and economic efficiency. 

“Replacement heifers that are open after the first breeding season should be culled in order to maintain optimum herd reproductive efficiency,” says Davis.  A University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Bulletin reported that research has shown that heifers that fail to breed in the first breeding season and are held over have a 55% average lifetime calf crop compared to 86% for herd mates that become pregnant the first year.  Davis urges cattle producer to consider culling those replacement heifers that don’t become pregnant in the first breeding season in order to improve herd efficiency and profitability. 

“Pregnancy checking and culling those replacement heifers early is important to receive optimum salvage value for those replacement heifers,” says Davis.  Heifers that enter their first breeding season at approximately 14 month and determined open at approximately 18 months can still be marketed and fed to meet the choice grade.  However, if there is a delay in marketing those open heifers, they may have reduced value because of their inability to be fed to meet the choice grade.  Davis urges cattle producers to pregnancy check those heifers approximately 60 days after the breeding season and cull open heifers to receive optimum salvage value resulting in optimum cattle operation profitability.

For more information related to early pregnancy checking replacement heifers and culling those open heifers contact your local MU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.           


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Patrick Davis

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