There are a couple of UNL research studies that I think ranchers will be interested in. The studies suggest that two of the most important pieces of information you need to identify heifers most likely to make successful cows are known the day the heifers are born.
The date in a calving season when a heifer is born and the age of her dam significantly influence her success in becoming pregnant as a yearling heifer and then again as a two-year-old.
The researchers found that heifer calves born early in the calving season and retained as replacements were more likely to conceive as yearlings and also had an advantage in conceiving as two-year-old heifers.
They also found that heifer calves whose mothers were three-years-old or older, had a significant advantage in conceiving in their second breeding season when compared to heifers born to first-calf-heifers.
In the research herd, two of the major indicators of the likelihood of a heifer becoming pregnant as a yearling and also as a two-year-old heifer were the heifers own birth date and the age of her dam when she was born.
These results suggest that ranchers aren’t doing themselves any favors if they keep heifers out of 1st calf heifers or those born later than day 42 of the calving season.
You can find out more about these two studies by reading an article in the April UNL BeefWatch electronic newsletter, or in the research summaries contained in the 2012 and 2016 Nebraska Beef Reports.
As always, you can call the extension office at 402-376-1850 for more information.