Opportunity To Invest In Genetics Is Key As Cattle Numbers Increase; Learn More In Springfield At March 27 Event, Sale

   The nation’s beef cow inventory indicates the cow herd is still growing. Indications are this expansion could extend into the end of this decade according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
   “There is concern that the larger numbers will cause a drop in cattle prices. This is possible, so extension specialists, agricultural lenders and others who advise farmers are cautioning beef cow owners to tighten-their-belts and take a hard look at their expenses,” said Cole.
   University of Missouri Extension budgets for southern Missouri beef cow enterprises show the annual total operating costs for the spring, 2017 calf crop is $834 per cow.
   “As farmers try to figure out how to reduce costs, use caution that cutting corners on genetics is not a good area to trim,” said Cole.
   Investing wisely in quality genetics, whether as artificial insemination expense or buying bulls that have outstanding potential based on expected progeny difference (EPD) makes sense. Most bull sales now provide at least four or five important EPD’s that can guide buyers on calving ease, growth, daughters’ milk potential and beef quality. A few offer dollar value indexes for weaning and overall feedlot and carcass merit.
   “The index is becoming the more valuable tool to use as it incorporates several EPD traits into one, easy-to-understand dollar and cents value,” said Cole.
   The March 27 sale of 46 bulls from members of the Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association will have those important     EPDs and indexes on them. Also, several bulls will have genomic test information available. That DNA-type test, when joined with the EPD’s, improves the accuracy of the data.
   The sale on March 27 begins at 7 p.m. at the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center, Springfield.
   The Southwest Missouri BCIA began these tested bulls sales in 1973, and the sale on the 27th will be their 89th. Prospective buyers should study the stats on the bulls ahead of time.
   On sale day, attendees may attend a 30-minute program at 5:30 p.m. in the sale ring to hear from MU Extension livestock specialists on the interpretation of the numbers.
   Catalogs are now on-line at or check at your nearest extension office.
   The sale manager, Pam Naylor, Buffalo may be contacted at 417-345-8330 or 417-880-6039 for sale details. ∆
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