It's nearly that time of year again: time to sell last year's calves and start thinking about the next breeding season. Maybe you're thinking about selling the cull cows while prices are high and replacing them with some of your heifers.

Have you ever considered the total cost of developing a heifer properly, taking into account not only money but also time and effort? The Upper Coastal Plain Beef Heifer Development Program (UCPHDP) can provide an economical and management solution to the challenge of raising replacement heifers.

This program allows producers to leave the raising of replacement heifers to UCPHDP experts. The producer retains ownership of the heifers and pays a daily fee to cover the cost of feed, medicine, reproductive procedures, and other associated expenses, including labor. Consignors can choose to breed heifers using artificial insemination (AI) or natural service. The AI option gives producers access to some of the top genetics in the industry, allowing easy improvement of herd genetics. The natural service option also introduces new genetics to the herd. Either way, producers will see broader herd genetics without the bother or the expense of keeping a bull.

Here are four great reasons to be involved in the Upper Coastal Plain Beef Heifer Development Program:

1)      You will save TIME. By registering your heifers in the UCPHDP, you will eliminate the time spent on tedious tasks related to developing the animals properly. You will not have to take hay and feed to your animals on those cold, rainy winter mornings. You will not have to organize a nutritional plan. Plus, since your heifers will all be calving within a short season (See #4.), you will not have to spend all of fall and winter checking to see if they have calved or are having trouble delivering.

2)      You will save MONEY. You do not have to find a heifer bull. You will not have to feed the heifers through the winter or crank up the tractor and use diesel fuel to go out in the cold to feed. Since your heifers are being developed elsewhere (and you saved all that time from #1), you can devote time to cull problem cows that are not producing but are consuming valuable resources. The UCPHDP includes a reproductive soundness exam and pelvic measurements, which allow you to determine if your heifer is reproductively sound and mature enough to be bred. You can decide early which heifers to breed rather than encountering problems during pregnancy and potential losing of calves due to avoidable complications.

3)      You will save LAND. You do not need a separate pasture for your heifers. You also do not have to worry about keeping the heifers and the bull apart.

4)      You will have a CALVING SEASON. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the UCPHDP is the 75-day calving season. All of your heifers will calve within this short period, which allows you to better monitor calving heifers. You will be able to give more attentive care and better nutrition and also address their needs quickly and efficiently. Since they will all be at the same stage, their needs will, for the most part, be the same. You will be able to care for them as a group during calving and also better market the calves as a uniform group.

For more information about the heifer development program, including rules and regulations and a consignment form, visit our website or contact Ilana Kell by phone at 205.221.3392 or 205.442.1743 or by e-mail at

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