Options when considering restocking
By Blair Fannin
WACO -- With the cattle market at all-time highs and drought having decimated herds across Texas, some might consider restocking, but are questioning if it’s the right time to buy.
The answer: It depends, says one expert.
Dr. Stephen Hammack, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist in Stephenville, walked through the different metrics of buying replacement cattle at the Blackland Income Growth Conference in Waco.
“They’re closer to 1,300 pounds and we are feeding practically everything we produce that is not retained for heifers. We’ve got better genetics to produce more pounds; we also have growth promotants and better nutrition.”
Hammack said if you are thinking about restocking, “there are different alternatives and factors involved.”
•Calving difficulty/death loss.
First, Hammack recommended producers visit http://beef.tamu.edu/rebuilding for background information and resources to help with decision-making. Next, Hammack discussed the different options producers have when considering rebuilding their herds such as retaining heifers, purchasing heifers, buying cow-calf pairs, or three-in-ones (a single cow that is bred and has a calf by its side).
For retained heifers, Hammack said the obvious challenge is not having a calf for two years and the animal’s nutritional needs. The “pluses” are availability, marketing flexibility, genetic potential, and longevity.
For purchased heifers less than 700 pounds, the pluses are availability, marketing flexibility, and initial investment. The minuses include the development phase, rebreeding potential, dystocia/death loss, above-average nutritional needs, and high cull rate.
For purchased heifers greater than 700 pounds, bred heifers, and first calf pairs, Hammack said the pluses are longevity, while the minuses include initial investment, rebreeding potential, nutritional needs, and cull rate.
Blair Fannin is a media relations specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Communications, serving both Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.