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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

MU Thompson Farm field day, Sept. 21, looks at profitable beef cow herds

by Duane Dailey

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Making profits from beef herds will be taught Sept. 21 at the University of Missouri Thompson Farm field day near Spickard, Mo.
Genetics, breeding, feeding and selling improve profits, say MU Extension specialists.
“For a change, the program will be in the evening,” says Rod Geisert, superintendent, Columbia. Sign-in opens at 3:30 p.m. and is followed by farm tours. “We hope farmers with off-farm jobs can attend,” Geisert says.
Talks begin at 6:15 p.m., with dinner at 7:15. Speakers won’t talk just profits. They look at the big picture of beef production.
Jared Decker, MU Extension geneticist, has a message for herd owners. “Profits are the most important trait for beef cows.”
Calving ease, weaning weight, carcass merit and other traits improve a herd. “Dollars count most at the end of the year,” says the beef specialist.
In the past, herd owners needed many EPDs (expected progeny differences) to guide breeding. Now one selection index, such as dollar beef ($B), blends many traits into one number.
Genetic guides get simpler, Decker says.
Eric Bailey, MU Extension beef nutritionist, says full genetic potential takes good feeding. “Often herd owners worry about one part of feeding, such as minerals,” Bailey says. “All must be taken in adequate amounts.”
In fact, Bailey says to look first at total feed intake. Some cows will benefit from more feed. But feeding too much expensive feed wastes dollars. That hurts profits.
In the end, economics—the dollars left for owners—count, says Scott Brown, MU livestock economist. He sums up the evening with a look at selling calves.
Cow herd economics change as demand grows for quality beef. Calf prices are volatile this year, but one constant is increasing prime beef prices. Choice beef prices jump up and down while prime stays steadier.
“Breeding for quality becomes a risk management tool,” Brown says.
Research from the MU Thompson Farm cows shows how a commercial herd can provide USDA prime. In the last calf crop, all but one graded choice or prime. The prime calves drew premiums of $36.40 per hundredweight. Carcasses weighed 800 pounds.
With top sires used for artificial insemination, the calves show that proven genetics bring premium prices.
The MU calves show that genetics, not long-term feeding, makes that high USDA grade.
Brown tells the value of premiums, especially in times of low beef prices.
There will be new lessons on breeding from the Thompson herd. Jordan Thomas, MU researcher, will tell advances in the use of sex-sorted semen. With fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) and sorted semen, herd owners can choose gender of calves. They can breed for all heifers or all steers.
A new line of research studies hair shedding. Some cattle grazing toxic fescue grass don’t shed winter coats quickly. That brings heat stress and slow gains. Harly Durbin, MU researcher, will tell of study results so far.
Research from MU Thompson Farm led to the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program. Protocols for heifer management and genetics allow owners to apply the science.
The MU research farm is 7 miles west of Spickard at the end of Highway C off U.S. Highway 65.
Farm supply and genetic companies will set up exhibits for the evening.
Thompson Research Center, part of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, is in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.

For more than 100 years, University of Missouri Extension has extended university-based knowledge beyond the campus into all counties of the state. In doing so, extension has strengthened families, businesses and communities.


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