Commercial cattlemen are looking hard at milk EPDs these days. Nearly every breed continues to show a relatively strong upward trend in milk EPDs, but the drought has caused producers to look long and hard at the level of milk production from a maintenance requirement standpoint. Numerous industry research papers show that cows with higher genetic levels for milk not only have increased maintenance requirements while nursing, but increased maintenance requirements when they’re dry.
The drought has forced many producers to adopt early-weaning strategies, and many will continue to early-wean their calves because milk is an inefficient delivery system for weight gain of a calf. And, in an era of higher feed costs, putting weight on cattle in the most efficient manner equates to more profitability.
The dilemma that producers are struggling with is finding the optimum level for their environment. They try to determine a range based off the sires of the females they have in production that raise a good calf, and yet get bred early in the breeding season.
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