Management Strategies for Adding Value to Replacement Beef Heifers: A Working Model - The Missouri Show-Me-SelectTM Replacement Heifer Program

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 4:15 PM
2101 (Kansas City Convention Center)
D. J. Patterson , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
J. M. Thomas , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
D. S. Brown , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
J. E. Decker , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
W. J. Sexten , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
S. E. Poock , University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO
Abstract Text: Utilization of existing and emerging management technologies enable beef producers to improve breeding performance of heifers during the first breeding season and during subsequent calving and rebreeding periods as 2-year-olds.  These practices ensure that heifers that enter herds as raised or purchased replacements contribute to the general performance and productivity of an entire cowherd immediately, and cumulatively long-term. In 1996 extension specialists, veterinarians, beef producers and allied industry in Missouri linked arms to develop and implement a plan that would impact long-term sustainability of beef herds across the state.  This plan was focused on the cyclical reproductive process in beef cattle and involves five basic steps: 1) Create an understanding of the importance of heifer development based on reproductive outcomes; 2) Implement changes in heifer development that eventually spill over into the cow herd; 3) Emphasize the importance of reproductive management which becomes apparent as changes are implemented; 4) Expand producer focus to genetic improvement; and 5) Emphasize to participating herds that creation of a value-added product requires a re-evaluation of marketing strategies.  These five steps have built equity in herds that embraced the plan, and 17 years later the Missouri Show-Me-SelectTM Replacement Heifer Program has impacted the cattle industry state wide. The program objectives include: 1) A total quality management approach for health and management of heifers from weaning to late gestation; 2) Increased marketing opportunities for and added value from Missouri raised heifers; and 3) Creation of reliable sources of quality commercial and purebred replacement heifers. The program incorporates all available tools to support long-term health, reproduction, and genetic improvement of replacement beef heifers and includes provisions for ownership; health and vaccination schedules; parasite control; implant use; weight, pelvic measurement and reproductive tract score; estrous synchronization and artificial insemination; service-sire requirements for BW- or CE-EPD; early pregnancy diagnosis, fetal aging, fetal sexing, and body condition score. In a state that ranks second in total numbers of beef cows in production, the Missouri Show-Me-SelectTM Replacement Heifer Program is a working model that integrates improvements in selection, management, health, and genetics into a total development, management, and marketing program through emphasis on reproductive outcomes.  Impact in Missouri stemming from the Show-Me-SelectTM program and the proof of concept it demonstrates, raises the question as to whether it is time to standardize requirements used in the program to broaden its scope to other major beef cattle producing states.

Keywords: Missouri, Show-Me-SelectTM, Replacement beef heifer