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Pregnancy Checking

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Cowpuncher

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We just finished preg checking our cows. We had about 55 open out of 750 checked. Some of the opens were broken mouth cows kept over from prior years. We had 5 open heifers out of 90 head.

Hard to understand - our neighbors did much worse. The had about 33% open on heifers like ours. Another neighbor had over 100 open out of 375 cows.

One neighbor explains his poor showing to less than good water. Said they had 3800 mg/l of sulfates and the recommended maximum is 700. We border them, but pump our water several miles from a creek. Their well is about where our pipeline ends.

The other suspects that feeding Loomix to his cattle in the winter caused some of his bulls to be shooting blanks. Never heard of this before, but some others seem to agree.

We know that part of our problem is that we have some Limousin cross cows in the herd. They are not very fertile and don't want to have a calf every year. We use Limousin bulls, but don't keep heifers as they seem to be a terminal cross. Also, if you run Limousin cows, you have to get faster horses.

Grass was good this spring and summer, can't blame that.

Appreciate and comments you might have.
 
A

Anonymous

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I look at a lot of cattle in the fall from producers that run Limie bulls so they can qualify for some of the branded beef programs ( Lauras Lean, the old Future Beef, etc)....Very few keep their own calves as replacements anymore after a few years of wrecks-- some are even going away from the bulls entirely because of not only bad breeding percentages, but so many bulls that come back testing bad the second or third year.....The old Good Butts- but no Nutts......
 

PPRM

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Cowpunchr,

I'm not sure where you are from, so it is hard to say. This is just a hunch from personal experience. Sounds like the Feed was there, meaning protien and calories....I had similar problems, I attribute my fix to changing my mineral program. One thing is to get a baseline of the mineral levels in the cows. Have a vet test. Can't remember the cost, our vet wanted to test them all, it was too much money. This vet cllinic tensd to not think in terms of cost, but thaty is another story, LOL. So I decided to test soem of the poorest, some of the average and some of the best.....


We had too little Selenium and Copper, maybe a little low on Zinc. Cows looked good, but were deficient. The Vet of course had some $16.00 a bag premix mineral that he sold. If that was the only option, it would have been worth it. It had to be pre-mix to get the Selenium levels up. Our mineral is 120ppm Selenium. I sourced it from our local Purina Dealer at $11.49/bag. I also hit the Cows with Multi-Min to boost them more. It has Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and Magnesium???? Long story, but end result is so many problems have disappeared.


Ok, the point of my reply IS NOT go buy the same mineral as I have. point is find out where you are and then find the right mix,

PPRM
 

Faster horses

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I'm sure everyone knows what I think...

But I'm gonna suprise you!!!!!!!!

What kind of pastures are you in at breeding time, how long is your breeding season? I don't think your percentages are all that bad. 7% on your cows, 5% on your heifers. Of course if you have a 60 day breeding season, that isn't good enough. 30-45 days, that's pretty good.

The reason I ask about what kind of pastures you are in during breeding is that too much protein during breeding can cause you problems. Don't breed in a pasture with sweet clover or alfalfa or cereal grains. Too much protein. People think you can flush your cows with protein to help them breed, but research is indicating the EXACT opposite. A diet during the winter that is low in energy can affect conception rates as well. Lots of things enter into it.

And of course, you need to be feeding a good mineral year round.
 

Soapweed

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Faster horses said:
What kind of pastures are you in at breeding time, how long is your breeding season? I don't think your percentages are all that bad. 7% on your cows, 5% on your heifers. Of course if you have a 60 day breeding season, that isn't good enough. 30-45 days, that's pretty good.

Our percentage has turned out to be 3.75 %, which is our best ever but we do have a ninety day breeding season. I never could understand why some ranchers go for such a short breeding season, as in 30-45 days. What is the big emergency to "get the bulls out"? Aren't we in the business to raise cattle? I'd certainly rather have a late calf than no calf. Besides, the neighbor's bulls always have devious methods of getting in the wrong pastures and screwing up the whole high-falutin' management plan anyway.
 

cowsense

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Soapweed: I definately hear you on the neighbours bulls:we try to run a 60 day breeding cycle and get the bulls pulled; you'd be amazed at the different colours of late calves we'd get.Same thing in the spring,we have backed our calving up to April and it seems to take electric fence to turn back unwanted bulls before my turnout time!
 

Denny

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I dont preg check at all the bulls stay with the cows from turn out till I haul them home in the middle of feb for calveing our last 7 cows calved the end of may first week of june (perfect if your kit Pharo)anyhow those 400# calves brought 1.50 average for $600 a head my big group of calves averaged $691 a head.I have all my payments set up that I need $500 a head to pay all the bills and have money for living expense.I have 1 cow that just calved she calves this time every year her last years calf weighed 880#s and sold for 1.10=$968 the cow weighs 1100#s she's only worth $500 to kill it may be considered poor management but that's okay money spend's no matter when I get it..
 

sw

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Cowpuncher,
your preg rates are acceptable especially if you have alot of broken mouthed cows, your neighbors had a wreck. FH is right about the pasture that your in. High protein feed during breeding causes high levels of urea in the urine which is deadly to the little sailors swimming for the egg. Flush the cows prior to breeding season and then get them in a pasture with grasses and little legumes. Also, what was the condition score of the cows during breeding season? And was the condition going up or coming down? A 5% open rate on the heifers in a 60 day season is probably average, too many heifers are not capable of carrying a fetus to full term so many of them actually do get pregnant but they lose the embryo early on. The sulfates probably had something to do with the open cows too, there has been alot of that in this country the last few years in the drought.
 
A

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Soapweed said:
Faster horses said:
What kind of pastures are you in at breeding time, how long is your breeding season? I don't think your percentages are all that bad. 7% on your cows, 5% on your heifers. Of course if you have a 60 day breeding season, that isn't good enough. 30-45 days, that's pretty good.

I'd certainly rather have a late calf than no calf.

That especially can be seen this year when even June or July calves were worth $700.... :)
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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We have a world class purebred charolais operation just across the way from us here and they say the complete opposite. They always end up with a good conception rate and always end up with a lot of twin calves. They say this is due to the fact they feed a lot of alfalfa during breeding season. Personally I think they are playing with mother nature and this is the reason they are getting alot of twins. We are switching away from Limo bulls and starting to run more Black Angus bulls. Would even like ot try some some of Randys Bulls on our black cows. One breed I wouldnt consider using is Semi's. There are a few neighbors that have them around this area and they are always having calving troubles.
 

Faster horses

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I must say that I believe twining to be the result of a couple of things. One is genetics and the other is good nutrition. If cows aren't on a good plane of nurtrition, the incidence of twins is lessened. And of course, we all know that different breeds of cattle tend to have more incidence of twins.

Case in point, I was at the veterinarians a couple of calving seasons ago and I noticed a list on the wall of folks with calves for sale because of a lot of twins.
Everyone on the list was one of our mineral customers.

Made me think about this and the conclusion I came to is again: Genetics and Nutrition go hand in hand.
 

Cowpuncher

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Your comments are interesting and I should have added some more info.

Our heifers were on the young side. They were probably 12 or 13 months old when exposed to bulls. The five opens weighed 950# and brought a dollar a pound when sold.

We feed our cows mineral - Vigortone 34S which seems to be tailor made for our country - Southeastern Colorado.
We usually mix salt with it go get better consumption. I am not sure that either of the neighbors even feed mineral.

I am sure that we have some cows that don't consume mineral, for whatever reason. We have a lot of broken-mouth cows which are not all that old. We suspect that they don't eat mineral or that their genetics are not too swift, but no real pattern.

We are in short-grass country where most native range is buffalo grass or blue gramma. If it is dry in the spring, we have more open cows.

As we phase the limo cross cows out of the head, our open rate is getting better, Can't do that all at once with $1400 cows and about 300 of those old limo crosses left.

We let the bulls with the cows May 20th for a March 1st calving start. We do use pastures with legumes - sweet clover and ladak alfalfa. But we don't put them on these pasture until the alfalfa has been in bloom for a couple of weeks. Never had a single bloat. Cows will generally not pig out on alfalfa if it has bloomed and there is grass available.

Again, thanks for the comments.
 

Faster horses

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I would suspect that your breeding pastures are too high in protein. It would be okay to go into them prebreeding, then move the cows during breeding. I posted an interesting article some time back from Dr. Price regarding this very thing. The added protein upsets the PH in the uterus and keeps the eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. The cows breed, but they don't settle. I will try to find that article again.

Your example should show how feeding mineral pays...even with all other things being even. And yes, your heifers are perhaps a bit young, but with that all said, the ones that are too young are probably your drop outs. That's what is fun in this business right now, you can be wrong and still do things right. ($950 open heifers.) At any rate, you are culling the ones that are less fertile for whatever reason, and that's a good thing.

In the early 80's we used Limo bulls and we really liked them. We got a real shock on keeping the replacements trying to get them bred. We were not on a good mineral program at the time, which added to the problem I am sure. If we got those cows to 4 years old, they were there for a long time, but the drop out rate to 4 was something we couldn't live with.

One thing I DON'T understand, how does adding salt to the 34SPL help cosumption? 34SPL is for areas where consumption is a problem or for people who like to feed salt with their mineral. Salt is a LIMITER and adding it would keep the cattle from eating the mineral. So next question, how much mineral do you think you are getting in these cattle in a years time? 3-4 oz. per head per day is the recommendation and in our country, we get that done. If your cows aren't eating that much in a year's time, perhaps increasing the consumption by eliminating the added salt to the mineral would help your conception rates a percent or two.

We don't run the amount of cows that Soapweed does, by any means, so in our bunch we have a short calving period so the calves are uniform to make up even loads. We breed the heifers for 30 days and the cows for 45. We get 85% of our calves born in the first heat cycle. Makes for very even calves. When you have more cattle to work with as Soapweed does, he can even up the loads as he goes. We don't have that luxury.
 
A

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I couldn't stay out of this conversation. I think when you start talking about wrecks, there is a bigger problem than meets the eye. I can see sulfates, or copper tieups causing a big problem, but just mineral alone (or lack of it), is probably not the problem here. As I have stated before, we feed NO mineral to cows 4 and up, and don't have these problems. I also think that high protein would not cause a wreck. It MAY :???: lower conception, but not cause a wreck. I do think it is possible for overfat cows to not rebreed as well, but that is different. We feed as little as anyone around here in the winter, and just make sure our cows look good, but calve later than some here. I think that acually helps our breedback as the cows are breeding when our grass is strongest and the cow is gaining. And this is also hard grass country.

I would look at a bull problem, or something to that effect, or even a lepto or other disease on the herds that have had wrecks before I changed anyting else.

Just my two bits. Oh and we have a 49 day breeding season because we don't want to be still calving in june, and besides there is nothing wrong with putting a little pressure on your cows once in a while. I don't know all about Kit Pharoh, but he seems to be my kind of thinker. Another thing I think about is those folks that say to sort off thinner cows in the winter to feed them a little better, but I think that letting them go open eventually helps you have a thriftier cow herd in the end. If we had very severe weather than that would be different. I better quit now before I get on my high horse. :wink:
 

cert

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Faster horses said:
I would suspect that your breeding pastures are too high in protein. It would be okay to go into them prebreeding, then move the cows during breeding. I posted an interesting article some time back from Dr. Price regarding this very thing. The added protein upsets the PH in the uterus and keeps the eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. The cows breed, but they don't settle. I will try to find that article again.

Up till a few years ago I drylotted the heifers before and during breeding. Kept them close to the house for easy heat detection and acess to the chute to AI.

I'd AI based on a synced standing heat. Waited one cycle then turned them out in the "heifer" pasture. The pasture that year had more ladino clover in it than normal due to sucessful frost seeding. They all came in heat on the next cycle. Vet's explaination was similar to the quoted section of Faster Horses' post.
Since then I breed while they are on that pasture already. Hard lesson learned.
 

TSR

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Cowpuncher said:
We just finished preg checking our cows. We had about 55 open out of 750 checked. Some of the opens were broken mouth cows kept over from prior years. We had 5 open heifers out of 90 head.

Hard to understand - our neighbors did much worse. The had about 33% open on heifers like ours. Another neighbor had over 100 open out of 375 cows.

One neighbor explains his poor showing to less than good water. Said they had 3800 mg/l of sulfates and the recommended maximum is 700. We border them, but pump our water several miles from a creek. Their well is about where our pipeline ends.

The other suspects that feeding Loomix to his cattle in the winter caused some of his bulls to be shooting blanks. Never heard of this before, but some others seem to agree.

We know that part of our problem is that we have some Limousin cross cows in the herd. They are not very fertile and don't want to have a calf every year. We use Limousin bulls, but don't keep heifers as they seem to be a terminal cross. Also, if you run Limousin cows, you have to get faster horses.

Grass was good this spring and summer, can't blame that.

Appreciate and comments you might have.

We have always had more trouble with limousin and limousin cross cows getting pregnant. I really lik the Limi/angus cross but when you start retaining heifers you will see the fertility rates go down. Continentals, especially limousin, were bred for muscle, primarily at the expense of fertility. If you breed them for fertility and maternal traits you will lose some of the muscle they are most noted for. JMHO
 

George

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I also can't understand how adding salt would increse mineral consumption.

I put out salt for the first time in several years as the girls started eating to much mineral. I feel they are on hay now and are going after the mineral more out of boredom than need. They can get their gut full of hay very quickly and then need something else to do so they hit the mineral. I try to keep them at about 4oz per head per day. Last week they almost ate 1 lb per day.

Yes mineral do pay. Yes I have Charolis and with the good nutrition and older cows I have a great twin rate - - - - I would love to have 100% twins and believe that in areas where the conditions are not to rough it could be possible in the near future.
 

robby

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I'm currently raising a couple of bulls on 16% creep feed. I also give the cows 2 pounds/day of the same feed. With all the talk of protein having an adverse effect on reproduction should I change their diet? The bulls are getting 1 1/2 to 2% of their body weight plus all the hay they'll eat.
 

PPRM

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robby,

Cattle eat pounds, not percentages, one thing really drilled hard into my head at college. How many pounds of protien are they getting and how many pounds do they need? I think that you will find the cases of reproduction problems come when they are a ways over the limit....To steal a line from our GOG ( Grand Ole' Guy) here, everything in moderation........

I think in most cases people tend to balance rations based on protien. in actuality, if you balance it for energy, you will almost always have enough Protien....Something that has been my fairly quiet soapbox....protien is so drilled into peoples heads it isn't worth the effort to drill it out, LOL....


Hope you enjoy a great Prime Rib tommorrow,

PPRM
 

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