Robert Wells, Livestock Consultant with the Noble Research Institute offers his idea of 8 characteristics successful, intentional producers share.
For the full article go to: Do You Possess the 8 Characteristics of an Intentional Beef Producer? as published in the January 2020 issue of Noble News and Views.
To keep me focused, i like to reduce the lengthy description of characteristics to 8 bullet points.
- Understand the importance of recordkeeping. The key is to keep records that are meaningful and that you will use to make management decisions. Identify key production and economic metrics you can use to monitor your operation.
- Know animal nutrition management can make or break an operation. The feeding program can account for 40% to 60% of the total annual cost of maintaining a cow in most operations. Match the cow’s time of highest nutrient requirements – early lactation or around 2 months of calf age – to the time of year when the pastures supply the highest-quality and quantity forage of the year.
- Know when and how to market calves. Determine the type of animal you will sell and when you will sell it. No matter how large your outfit is, it can still benefit from selling in a market that has more cattle similar to yours.
- Have a defined outcome for the ranch breeding program. Make sure the calving season is as tight as possible, ideally 60 days or less. If you are a commercial producer, consider the value of heterosis and the advantages built into a well-defined and thought-out crossbreeding program. Identify which individuals which will help reach your goals.
- Have a comprehensive herd health program. Work with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive vaccination and herd health program. If you do not have documentation, you cannot prove how your cattle were immunized.
- Optimize stocking rate and pasture management. Forages in various paddocks need appropriate rest periods. A cost effective grazing principle is to use standing dormant forages instead of hay during the dormant season.
- Develop a ranch management calendar. The management calendar should include the following dates: bull turn-in and pickup (hence subsequent calving dates), weaning and marketing dates, when to work calves for vaccinations, when to conduct breeding soundness evaluations (for bulls, cows, and heifers). Evaluate and plan the grazing program, knowing that changes will be necessary as the year progresses.
- Remain flexible. Above all else, an intentional producer will learn to be flexible, since so many variables are out of one’s control. Having a plan, working the plan, but pivoting as needed.