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Beef Cow-calf Management Practices

USDA report provides insights as part of the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS).


Beef 2017 is NAHMS fourth study of the U.S. cow-calf industry. The study was conducted in 24 of the nation’s major cow-calf states and represents 78.9 percent of U.S. cow-calf operations and 86.6 percent of U.S. beef cows.


Here are a few highlights from the first Beef 2017 descriptive report:


• Only 7.8 percent of calves born in 2017 had horns, indicating the widespread use of polled breeds. For horned calves that were dehorned, the average age at dehorning was 107.0 days.


• Overall, 77.3 percent of operations raised commercial cattle (cattle primarily marketed for consumption); 5.9 percent raised seedstock cattle only (cattle primarily marketed for breeding purposes); and 16.9 percent raised a combination of commercial and seedstock cattle.


• Of heifers bred to calve in 2017, 76.8 percent were bred only by bulls, and 15.1 percent were bred by a combination of artificial insemination and bull breeding.


• Of cows bred for calving in 2017, 92.9 percent were bred only by bulls, and 5.5 percent were bred by a combination of artificial insemination and bull breeding.


• Most producers (83.9 percent) were very likely to get information from a private veterinarian in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak (or an outbreak of another foreign animal disease) in the United States. In addition, most producers (93.8 percent) would contact a private veterinarian if they had an animal on their operation they suspected of having foot-and-mouth disease (or another foreign animal disease). By knowing who producers will turn to for information during an emergency, responders are able to target the dissemination routes of information critical to the emergency response effort.


Beef Cow-calf Management Practices in the United States, 2017, is available at the NAHMS website: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/nahms.

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