Change the Cow… Not the Environment –


Cows must fit their environment to stay in production.   Common sense tells us it is much easier, as well as much more profitable, to produce cows that fit the environment than it is to artificially change the environment to fit the cows.

Your environment can only support so much size, growth and milk.   Once you go beyond that point, you will have to reduce stocking rates and/or use expensive inputs to artificially change the environment.   That may have worked when calf prices were ridiculously high a few years ago – but it won’t work now.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that nearly all purebred operations have spent the last 50 years focused on maximizing production per cow (bragging rights) – instead of production per acre (profit).   As a result, they have big (5 to 7-frame), high-milking cows that no longer fit any real-world ranch environment.   The trouble with big, high-milking cows is they require a tremendous amount of feed just to meet their maintenance requirements (survival).   Maintenance requirements must be met before any weight gain or reproduction can take place.

Ironically, the beef industry reached the point where there has been no significant increase in weaning weights many years ago.   The cows keep getting bigger and bigger, but weaning weights have leveled off.   The only way to make those big, high-maintenance cows produce bigger calves is to pour the feed to them.   That is a surefire recipe for failure!   Contrary to what the mainstream beef industry continues to tell us, all attempts to increase production per cow, will have a negative effect on production and profit per acre.

A cow ought to be supporting the ranch – instead of being supported by the ranch!   Who is working for who?   The only cows that can effectively support the ranch are moderate-sized, low-maintenance cows that fit their environment.   The only way to produce cows that fit their environment is to use bulls that were produced by moderate-sized, low-maintenance cows that fit their environment.   Like begets like!   As long as you continue to use bulls that were produced by high-maintenance, 5 to 7-frame cows that must be pampered to stay in production, you will NEVER produce cows that fit your environment.

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