heifer program in ohio

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Feb 10, 2007
If this has already been posted please forgive me. I'm pretty fussy about what my calves eat and how they are handled. I'm retaining only 4 from last year's crop. 2-4 is average for me. I don't think i'd ship my replacements off to be fed by someone else. It might cost me more to do it myself but I don't make a living running cattle. They have to at least pay the farm taxes each year.

Ohio initiates heifer-development program

By Stan Smith, Ohio State University Cooperative Extension

Goal is to create the first two development locations in close proximity to large numbers of Ohio cow-calf operations and also in areas that provide easy access to educational opportunities.

Profitability of cow-calf operations in Ohio and throughout the U.S. is influenced largely by pounds of calf weaned per cow exposed for breeding. Thus, selection and management decisions involving replacement beef heifers greatly affect future productivity of the entire herd.

In Ohio, the most recent cattle inventory indicates the state maintains 297,000 mature cows with an average of less than 16 cows/herd. Using a replacement rate of 20% of the cow herd annually, this suggests each year nearly 60,000 replacement heifers are needed in Ohio, yet this amounts to only about three heifers/average herd.

Individually, efficiently developing only a few heifers each year can prove to be a difficult task for Ohio cow-calf producers given the small numbers and lack of proper facilities. Thus, it's easy to see why effective female replacement strategies may not only be expensive, but also have as great a long-term effect on profitability within a cowherd as any other management decision.

In an effort to address issues surrounding heifer development and further enhance the profitability of Ohio's beef cattle industry, the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Beef Team and Ohio Cattlemen's Association are cooperating to explore the establishment of beef-heifer development programs in Ohio.

John Grimes, OSU Extension Educator in Highland County, recently spearheaded an effort that secured grant funding from the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation to initiate the establishment of an on-farm beef-heifer development program in Ohio. Initially, two Ohio farm cooperators will be identified, who will allow their operations to serve as beef heifer development educational centers. Hopefully, this will, in turn, lead to new marketing opportunities for Ohio's beef producers.

The basic Ohio heifer-development model will be to establish locations where Ohio cattlemen can send heifer calves to be developed from approximately one year of age until they’re confirmed as bred. The cooperators would follow a set of criteria established by the OSU Animal Science Department and OSU Extension Beef Team for optimum heifer development.

Management techniques, including proper nutrition, heat synchronization, calving-ease genetics, and modern identification systems, will be emphasized. After females are confirmed bred, they can be returned to the consignors' herd as replacement females, or offered for sale to the public as replacement females for other herds. The grant funds are being used to support these activities, serving largely as start-up funds.

The goal is to create the first two development locations in close proximity to large numbers of Ohio cow-calf operations and also in areas that provide easy access to educational opportunities. Ultimately, the hope is to demonstrate an economic advantage for the cow-calf producer by utilizing custom heifer development, while creating a new marketing opportunity for individuals looking to buy or sell replacement heifers.

The Ohio On-Farm Beef Heifer Development project is still in the early planning stages and more details will be available later this fall. For more information, contact Bill Doig, Beef Program Specialist 614-873-6736 or [email protected] or John Grimes 937-393-1918 or [email protected].


Well-known member
Jan 20, 2007
LaRue, Ohio
I think it's an OK oppurtunity if you want some really good records kept Cert. i'm like you though, I want a hands on approch w/ my heifers. Since they're the foundation of my herd, I want to make sure they're well careed for. It's probably an OK program for some though.