University Demonstration Program for Developing Beef Replacement Heifers on Cool-season Forages in Alabama
Volume 15, Issue 2 - December 2022
Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott
Beef replacement heifer development programs offer a tool to Extension educators to demonstrate best management practices associated with nutrition and reproductive management of beef females. Using high-quality, regionally adapted forage species may help support animal growth and performance during the development phase and model an economical method of providing the nutritional base for heifers when these practices are adopted on-farm. An Extension demonstration program was developed at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center in Crossville, AL to demonstrate management techniques necessary for replacement heifers to reach target weights and breed successfully. Producers consign yearling heifers to the program for development on cool-season forage systems. Heifers are screened prior to arrival for temperament, body weight, and structural correctness. Beef heifers undergo estrous synchronization, artificial insemination (AI), and are exposed to a clean-up bull for a 60-day period 10 days post-AI. Heifers are diagnosed for pregnancy by a licensed veterinarian utilizing transrectal ultrasonography and returned to the consigner in late June. Consigners receive performance reports after each data collection, at the conclusion of the development period, and an evaluation sheet for each heifer consigned to collect annual data and return to the program administrator once the heifer is culled from the herd. Conducting university demonstration-based educational programs related to heifer development improved consignor understanding, application, and use of best management practices on-farm following participation in the program.
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