Just How Big Are Our Beef Cows?


Answering this question requires that we take a journey back in time; back to what I like to refer to as the beginning of the “genetic revolution” in the U.S. cattle business.

In 1975 a calf that weaned and went to market weighing 400 pounds was considered a good calf.  Today a 400-pound calf would not generate a positive net return in most operations.  With the increasing costs of production it now takes calves weighing nearer 600 pounds to generate a positive net return.  Over the last thirty years the cow/calf segment of our industry has improved weaning weights to near 600 pounds.  We have accomplished this by incorporating a number of improvements in technology.

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