The question about cow size comes up frequently, according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “In the last few years it is because cowherd owners all-of-a-sudden realized they had some cows that weighed 1,600 to 2,000 pounds when they sold them. That began a trend toward moderating cow size,” Cole says.
“The downsizing of beef cow weights and frame is viewed as a way to improve cow efficiency. However, some feed studies using the Grow Safe system raise questions,” Cole says. “The bottom line seems that there are very efficient large cows and some inefficient small cows. Researchers will continue to study that important trait and incorporate it into genetic predictions via genomics and expected progeny differences.”
Cow size has been equated to the desired steer market weight at slaughter. If the packer did not discount and seemed to want an 875-pound carcass (which would be a 1,400-pound live animal), then producers would try to have a mature cow weighing around 1,400 pounds, reports the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.
“Optimum cow size has been and will continue to be an elusive target. Each geographical region will vary in what size is favored. Each cattle raiser needs to do some record keeping to determine what optimum for their operation is,” Cole says.
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