Cow-Calf Management and Marketing
The heifer development project took place the past four years on the site of the former Jackson County Farm north of Andrew, Iowa. Heifers arrived around December 1 with 38 heifers delivered for 1992, 44 for 1993, 46 for 1994, and 47 for 1995. After a 30+ day warm-up period, the heifers were put on a 112-day test from early January to late April. They were fed a shelled corn and legume-grass hay ration consisting of between 13% and 14% crude protein and .48, .58, .44, and .54 megacal/pound of NEg respectively for the years 1992 - 1995. During the 112-day test heifers gained 1.86, 1.78, 1.5, and 1.63 pounds per day respectively for years 1992 through 1995. The 1995 heifers averaged 853 pounds at breeding (22 pounds under target weight). This compares with previous years in which the breeding weight was less than target weight in two years by 5 and 12 pounds and exceeded the target weight in one year by 17 pounds. Estrus synchronization used a combination of MGA feeding and Lutalyse injection. Heifers were heatdetected and bred 12 hours later for a three-day period. On the fourth day, all heifers not bred were mass inseminated. Heifers then ran with the cleanup bull for 58 days. The synchronization response rate in 1995 was 83%, which compares with the three year previous average of 77%. The overall pregnancy rates based on September pregnancy exams were 94.6% in 1992, 93% in 1993, 91% in 1994, and 91.5% in 1995. Development costs for the 326 days in 1995 totaled $269.14 per heifer. This compares with the average of $286. 92 for the three previous years. The four-year average total cost per head for heifer development was $282.48, or about $.84 per day. Feed and pasture costs represented 58% of the total costs, or $.49 per day.
Iowa State University
Harvey, Tony, "Jackson County Heifer Development Project Update" (1997). Beef Research Report, 1996. 17.