Breeding idea / question

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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milkmaid
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Re: Breeding idea / question

Postby milkmaid » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:54 pm

zendog wrote:I am missing something here. If every dairy cow calves once a year, and have of the calves are female, and all females are replacement, that would mean that 1/2 of all dairy cows are replaced every year and the the average age of a dairy cow is 1 year??? Aren't dairy cows productive for 6 or 8 years?


National average lifespan of a dairy cow is 1.6 lactations. Average lactation is usually about 11.5 months.

As far as how much heifers are worth... I have paid $550/hd for 2 week old holstein heifer calves (not including a 2 hour drive across the state line) and would do it again in a heartbeat.
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Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

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GMN
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Re: Breeding idea / question

Postby GMN » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:13 am

milkmaid wrote:
zendog wrote:I am missing something here. If every dairy cow calves once a year, and have of the calves are female, and all females are replacement, that would mean that 1/2 of all dairy cows are replaced every year and the the average age of a dairy cow is 1 year??? Aren't dairy cows productive for 6 or 8 years?


National average lifespan of a dairy cow is 1.6 lactations. Average lactation is usually about 11.5 months.

That National average seems ridiculusly low, maybe thats what it is in CA with the milking factories, but I think the family farms averages would be much higher.

GMN
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auctionboy
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Re: Breeding idea / question

Postby auctionboy » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:31 am

Holsteins are huge, you should go to a beef farmer and get them to ai a few calves for you and tell them you will buy the calves for what there other calves go for. You could also buy open beef cows or even a heifer because your calf will be small and have your own animal id. I would go the buying a cheap open beef auction heifer for $500 and have her ai bred to a miniature. You should be able to find a half minature at a reseonable price.
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zendog
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Re: Breeding idea / question

Postby zendog » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:37 am

Thanks a lot. Everyone has been very helpful.

Since posting I have found a dairy farmer who will cross with an AI lowline Angus. In person, it is not difficult to get agreement when you can guarantee the dairyman he will not lose money. However – as several have suggested – I would probably be better off crossing with a beef breed. It will not cost much more and I will probably have a better beef calf as a product.

FYI – Internet research convinces me that, for a serious cattleman, there is a LOT more money in raising lowline Angus for seed stock than any other kind of ranching – at least for the next 10 years or so. I will post my observation on another thread for your comment.

However, that is not the business I want to be in. I am a hobby farmer, I do not care about making money, and at 66 years old, I am not going to be in this long enough to get any real benefit from it. I just want to raise some beef animals I can be proud of.
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TexasBred
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Re: Breeding idea / question

Postby TexasBred » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:40 am

GMN wrote:
milkmaid wrote:
zendog wrote:I am missing something here. If every dairy cow calves once a year, and have of the calves are female, and all females are replacement, that would mean that 1/2 of all dairy cows are replaced every year and the the average age of a dairy cow is 1 year??? Aren't dairy cows productive for 6 or 8 years?


National average lifespan of a dairy cow is 1.6 lactations. Average lactation is usually about 11.5 months.

That National average seems ridiculusly low, maybe thats what it is in CA with the milking factories, but I think the family farms averages would be much higher.

GMN


Gail down here most dairies might get 2 full lactations from a cow...you'll always have the exception.. Cull rates always seem to run 35% to 40% and even higher in the big freestall operations. Not quite that high where cattle are actually pastured. Foot problems, failure to breed back, mastitis, heat and humidity etc really takes a high toll on the ladies.
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