Benefits of Early Culling Open Breeding Heifers


Oklahoma Farm Report

20 Sep 2022


Mark Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist, offers herd health advice as part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel, Mark Johnson, and Paul Beck. Today, Johnson is talking about the benefits of culling open breeding heifers early.


Early culling of open breeding heifers has several benefits to your cow-calf operations bottomline. Pregnancy can be diagnosed by palpation at 60 days and by ultrasound as early as 30 days, so now is the now is the time to take action and cull the open heifers. In addition to reducing grazing pressure on drought stressed pastures there are several other long-term benefits. Typically we should expect well developed yearling heifers, at 65% of their mature weight, going into their first breeding season to conceive in a fairly short (45- 60 days) breeding season. The easiest time in a beef breeding females life to get bred, should be as a well-developed yearling heifer. Because of this, culling open heifers as soon as possible leads to:


- Improving the long-term reproductive performance of your cow-herd. Reproductive traits are low in heritability; nevertheless, culling open heifers will improve the genetic potential for reproductive performance in your cow-herd by eliminating the sub-fertile heifers. From business standpoint, reproductive success (percent calf crop weaned) is of critical economic importance in the cow-calf sector...