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Cull open replacement heifers early after the breeding season

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“As the breeding season ends, decisions need to be made about open replacement heifers,” University of Missouri Extension Regional Livestock Field Specialist Patrick Davis said.  

According to Davis, culling open heifers early after the breeding season is beneficial to operation reproductive and economic efficiency. 

“Open replacement heifers should be culled after the breeding season to maintain optimum herd reproductive efficiency,” Davis said.  

A University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Bulletin reported that heifers that fail to become pregnant in their first breeding season and are held over have an 55% average lifetime calf crop. Furthermore, heifer herd mates that became pregnant in their first breeding season have an 86% average lifetime calf crop.  

Davis suggests culling open heifers after the first breeding season to promote optimum herd reproductive efficiency.

“Culling open replacement heifers early after the breeding season is important to receive optimum salvage value,” Davis said.  

Heifers that enter their first breeding season at approximately 14 month and determined open at approximately 18 months can still be fed and marketed to meet the choice grade.  

However, if there is delay in marketing those open heifers, value may be reduced due to their inability to be fed to meet the choice grade.  

Davis suggests pregnancy checking replacement heifers approximately 60 days after the breeding season and culling open heifers to receive optimum salvage value and promote optimum operation profitability.

For more information related to early pregnancy checking and culling open replacement heifers, contact a local MU Extension Regional Livestock field specialist. 

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