Things to consider prior to implementing a beef on dairy program

Written by Mandy Schmidt for Progressive Dairy

Maximizing sexed semen with top-genetic females to create the best replacements, and breeding low-genetic females to beef, is trendy right now. Ultra-trendy does not equal ultra-profitable for everyone.

To capture real benefit, consider your operation efficiencies and inefficiencies. Leverage data to uncover strengths and weaknesses. Also, acknowledge approaching changes from regulation and technology aspects.

Everything cycles except technology. It continues to improve. Sexed semen technology is not going away. It will likely never be as lucrative as it used to be, selling excess heifers. It is too easy to make too many mouths to feed.

Additionally, calf rearing has never been better. The industry has made great advances in preventing youngstock losses. You can more easily predict the number of heifers needed, barring a disaster, to enter your milking herd and replace culls. This allows for more beef use on older or genetically inferior animals.

This breeding approach may sound similar to many fellow producers’ plans in concept. However, in theory and in practice are not twins. Designing a plan needs to be based on your own operation, not a neighbor’s.

Consider these key management decisions prior to implementing a beef-on-dairy program:

  • What are your herd size or expansion goals?
  • Where is the point of diminishing returns for number of sexed semen services?
  • How is fertility performance annually, and can sexed semen be used for cows?
  • Does heat stress in the summer affect continuous sexed semen use?
  • Will using embryos to eliminate low-profit genetics create a significant economic impact?
  • What is the correct beef breed to optimize fertility with each breeding, calving ease, harvest results and capture a calf buyer premium?
  • Do you have adequate facility and feed resources for potentially retaining ownership of beef-cross calves?

Is beef on dairy breeding a fit for your herd? Connect with an ABS Representative to create a custom plan for your herd.

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Originally published on Progressive Dairy

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