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Is it time to try something different in the cow herd?

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The 2013 Ohio Beef Cattle School has examined important management issues impacting profit potential. Strategies for the use of genetics in the cow herd and efficient forage management practices have been the primary issues discussed in the school to this point. Producers are constantly searching for any new or proven methods to improve the bottom line. While there is always room for improvement in an existing enterprise, the producer must often think “outside of the box” and consider less traditional enterprises in order to improve total profitability.

Many cattlemen are conservative by nature and deliberate in their decision-making. Regardless, if the enterprise is cow-calf production, stocker cattle, or finishing cattle, any changes in an operation are usually slow and incremental. However, economic volatility and weather extremes will require the producer to analyze evolving opportunities and make unconventional decisions to carve out their niche in the beef industry.

The old motto of, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” may no longer apply. Don’t be afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Consider these questions:

“Is spring the most profitable time of year to calve?”

“Where can I find additional buyers for my feeder calves?”

“Should I raise or purchase my replacement heifers?”

“Should I own brood cows or graze feeder calves?”

“Can backgrounding feeder calves add value to my calf crop?”

“Can I raise cattle for a specific market such as all-natural or grass-fed?”

The final installment of the Ohio Beef Cattle School will be held on Mar. 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. and will focus on “Enterprises to Remain Competitive in the Beef Industry.” John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator, Jeff McCutcheon, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension-Morrow County, and a variety of producers will present options such as backgrounding, stockering, targeting branded programs, raising replacement heifers, and raising embryo calves as unique marketing options.

The School is being broadcast via an internet link to 18 different locations around Ohio. A listing of the host locations can also be found in the December 19, issue #815 of this newsletter at the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team’s web site.

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