Thinking about getting a jersey for beef

jhm47

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With the advent of "sexed" semen, the dairies are able to breed their best 40% of cows to heifer semen and then breed the rest to beef semen. This allows them to have replacements from their best cows, and to have more valuable calves from their lower producing cows.
 

SheepGirl

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Is that the normal replacement rate with cattle, 40%? Interesting. With sheep, replacement rates are usually 15-20%.
 

koop

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Calving rates for AI are 70%, for sexed semen it's even lower. Or it was about ten years ago.
 

jhm47

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The dairies use around 30 - 40% as a rate because dairy cows are notoriously short lived. Many cows fail to calve more than 3 - 4 times before needing to be replaced. As for conception rate for dairy cows, it's much lower than in beef cows. I have heard that the dairy rate is often less than 30%, while in beef it's around 60 - 70%.
 

WildRoseBeef

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@SheepGirl, in beef herds the normal replacement rate is a bit lower, more like ~20%. As JHM said, the replacement rate is higher because dairy cows are short-lived or rather, the dairy has a more higher cull rate for various issues from temperament to mastitis. Reproduction and lameness issues also rank high in the list of reasons to cull. Thin cows are not as prolific and fertile as the more "fatter" beef cows, and fertility doesn't seem to be that high on the list of priorities for a dairy herd, even if fertility has low heritability and is mostly affected by plane of nutrition. Priority selection is for more milk, the rest come second. Some dairies are more proactive in selection than others, of course, so I don't want to paint with such a broad brush over all dairies.

@koop it's a different story when talking calving rates and comparing that to conception rates: it's an apples to oranges comparison, really. When concerned with breeding dairy cows (it also applies to beef, but to a lesser extent), the reproductive rates are more concerned with conception rates, pregnancy rates, and heat detection rates. Calving rates come after the fact, and more closely coincide with pregnancy rates. The risk of AI in what JHM was talking about is the conception rate, or whether a cow will settle and become pregnant after being AI'd. This is the measure of a cow's fertility at service. A good dairy herd should have a CR of 50 to 55%, or at least half the herd that has been AI'd should have settled into pregnancy, but it's not uncommon for dairy herds to have rates less than that. JHM, I too have heard and seen records of dairy operations with a CR of around 30 to 40%.

Pregnancy rate is the percentage that is achieved with the number of cows that have been successfully detected to be in heat times the conception rate. In dairy herds it is almost impossible to achieve a PR of 35% or higher. PR is also an indicator of how long it takes, on average, a state/provincial or even national herd to become pregnant. I think here in Alberta the current average PR rate for dairy cattle is only around 18%.

Then there's the issue with calving rate. Cows can become pregnant, but there's the possibility that some cows will reabsorb the embryos or even abort. But, in dairy operations calving rate usually isn't calculated, but I'll have to check my past notes on that and get back to you.

http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/fieldservice/Dairy/REPRO/REPPROG/EVALREPR.htm
http://www.aps.uoguelph.ca/~gking/Ag_2350/measures.htm
 

Robert Shon

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I'm fairly new to all of this & have only taken a couple Jersey steers to butcher so far. I finished them both out together in a small paddock so there was no competition for feed from the other livestock.
Ferdinand was 18 months old & pastured on clover/timothy May thru Oct & finished off during Oct & Nov on Oat baleage & about 5 lbs of grain daily. He tipped the scales at 870 & his hanging weight was 520 lbs. The other one that rode to freezer camp with him was a yearling that had been bottle & bucket fed for three months to get him started prior to slowly introducing him into the pasture with the rest of the herd. My book say his weight was 400lbs with a hanging weight of 240 lbs. He was rescued @ three month of age from a guy that kept him & two other calves in waste up past their knees & had a case of scours that just about killed him. At three months old none of them weighed even 50 lbs & were all bone ! Two of his brothers are still out in the pasture & come June will be headed to Freezer Camp .
In hind sight I'd have to say that wintering them over isn't worth the expense unless you have the grain & hay on hand or access to it cheaply enough. I carried eight head over this winter. As of right now I've used 34000 lbs of wrapped hay baleage & 5200 lbs of corn silage along with about 150 lbs of minerals. I ran out of round bales so I'm now slinging six or seven 50 lb hay bales out daily & everyone seems to be content. Definitely NOT cheap beef
 
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