Cows must fit their environment to stay in production. Common sense tells us it is much easier, as well as much more profitable, to change the cow to fit the environment than it is to artificially change the environment to fit the cow.
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. 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 weight 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! As you attempt to increase production per cow, your production and profit per acre will decrease. Is that what you want?
Pharo Cattle Company has spent the last 30+ years producing low-maintenance cattle that can increase pounds and profit per acre in every environment they have been placed. We have cooperative herds from Minnesota to hot, humid fescue country in Missouri and Mississippi and all the way to the high-plains desert. We also have cooperative herds from the southern plains of Texas all the way to the northern plains of Montana and North Dakota. We have sold bulls into 44 of the 50 states – including Hawaii. We have also sold bulls to customers in Canada, Mexico and Australia.
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.
I am in the process of reducing my cow frame sizes and i am very interested in cattle genetics and low maintenance cows. I have been noticing my cows for the last couple months and a few of my larger frame cows are in better condition than my smaller frame ones. Is this possibly because some of the smaller ones are heavy milkers? Just trying to pick the easy keepers.
Kevin, I suspect you right about the smaller cows having too much milk. Maintenance requirement is a factor of frame, growth and milk.
Thanks for your information on this blog, very interesting topic.
Interesting article, makes a lot of sense. Saves a lot of time, otherwise nature would take much longer and the end product would be less desirable. When all else fails common sense is usually the best answer.
“Select your cows for your country and the bulls for your market”. I have never forgotten this dictum from a successful old rough country cattleman. The MOST low maintenance cow we have ever encountered is the Longhorn who when bred to a traditional beef bull will raise the fattest calf under bad conditions, which can be sold straight off her as a good vealer. She never seems to need worming, if she gets some lice she seems to get rid of them, her hooded eyes mean no eye troubles and her small highset udder means no udder troubles. If she leans off under bad conditions while feeding her calf she fattens up quicker than any other cow we have dealt with when things improve. She is also equipped mentally and physically to ward off predators. A wonderful cow, but definitely not considered as such among the general run of cattle breeders.
My ranch is 40 miles east of wichita falls TX 12 miles north of Nocona TX. I’m done I’m changing I’m tired of feeding and paying tot the bank. I’m going to start with my commercial Angus cows besides age size months pregnant. New bulls. Staying black angus. What are would you look at in culling my cows. When would you preg check my cows I’m guessing as soon as it cools off. What you just recital palpate ultrasound or blood test anything calving fall not many but lots dec jan feb March April. Any thing open short bred needs to go correct. Go ahead and pull boys decide when optimum calving season will be for us. Anything calve fall through first April keep and since pulling bulls won’t cows that flour sep octane down won’t they ok to keep and they’ll rebreed correctly when turn bulls back in. Can you think of a better way. What else would you for beside bag and teats age older than short and solid ok or need culled too. Or is there are a better way than preg checking and soon as it cools a bit best time. Anything else to check current body condition. Then what would do with culls bulls I sell to maximize profits on them. I’m guessing separate and keep culls put in with bulls so many get bred then when sell to maximize their sale.do you recommend a better to do it. If palmate they need to be good please recommend if you agree with me on process or recommend different approach to cull figure any fall calbvers if fit criteria just hold them to breed and best plan on culls bulls to maximum return where and when to sell them then depending how many how many as long as teeth are good not short broken or bad be ok when and how do this very important please advise. Any of your cooperators have mod size black angus smaller thicker bulls low input be available what age producing the right replacement females size fertility disposition on bulls want really gentle bulls and produce calves that at 205?day weaning completely weaned vaccinated be big enough then old enough to start either in grass finishing but probably grass started grain finished at 1000 maybe more in 100-120 days on feed be ready to processed goodbmarbling And calves not put on fat calf program turned out on winter pasture just wondering if 205 day weaning of middle feb born March through midfle Apriland out of low input smaller framed cows andbyalld bulls if those calves weaned at 205 days. Weaned maybe for 45 days had second vaccinations wormed would be able to go into butcher calf program after 45 days weaning gout into finishing pen bulk feeders and fed for about 100 days and be finisghred enough for processing. Also what do you best kind trap design size with bard wire cedar stavesvn between with two pens staggering pen where you’d piull more calves into finishing pen as needed or do think has to be pipe and succor rods. Which good nbut get pretty pricey. Didn’t know if the wire maybe 2 inch pipe every so far would be stout enough keep everything in you may know a better more low input mater stouter easier to build be cheaper and strong. Then if need few replacements that are moderate size low input types black angus commercial cows that will adapt to my environment here. How would you best recommend find those cows if not from pcc herd and best chance getting right type cows or only by replacements from pcc herd which I’m sure is hard at id like best chance to get those kinda replacement. I know plan keep your own heifers. But may halfvto buy a few and what would be your aged cow to purchase if you had to buy some replacements. If way to sell culls not half to winter sell sometime fall may not be best time. Any yalls black angus bulls be absilable in Tx or ok or only Colorado. How old of bulls do you have private beauty. Hoping some texas ok or kansas. But if not ok. All bulls selected for logivity of females too I’m guessing. Just want to know your thoughts were on how to. Pick through my cows keep best right kindbgood solid mouth. I can see buying bred right kindsbcow to one of y’all’s. Bulls maybe hard to find next best alternative. Sorry so long. Had much to know getting to move make stuff happen. Just needed some advice. You can find smaller black cows but imn most cases you know nothing them not bull bred to very important. But a guy needs angus cows best acclimated to our environment climate. And buying the right cow at a manageable price. Might be solo meg pod young bred angus tutor cows come up for sale drought. I just don’t want to have to truck a longways. Freight way to high it low input in anyway. I appreciate advice respect it. I can see if buying young replacements cows might be hardestbitem but with drought might be oppurtunities not normally be available. Or what you think. Thanks. Matt Brown.