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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Pasture Management

Empirical Analysis of Weaning and Pasture Rotation Frequency with Implications for Retained Ownership


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 99 No. 3, p. 747-754
    Received: Dec 19, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mpopp@uark.edu
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  1. Michael Popp *a,
  2. K. Coffeyb,
  3. W. Coblentzc,
  4. Z. Johnsonb,
  5. D. Scarbroughd,
  6. J. Humphrye,
  7. T. Smithf,
  8. D. Hubbellf and
  9. J. Turnerg
  1. a Dep. of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, 217 Agriculture Building, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701
    b Dep. of Animal Sci., AFLS B106, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701
    c USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Univ. of Wisconsin, Marshfield Agricultural Research Station, 8396 Yellowstone Dr., Marshfield, WI 54449
    d 126 Jessie Dunn, Northwestern Oklahoma State Univ., Alva, OK 73717
    e Humphry Environmental, Inc., Fayetteville, AR 72702
    f Univ. of Arkansas Livestock and Forestry Branch Stn., 70 Experiment Station Dr., Batesville, AR 72501
    g North Carolina State Univ. Mountain Research Stn., Waynesville, NC 28786


The economic impact of rotation frequency (twice weekly vs. twice monthly until time of weaning) and time of weaning (early April vs. 56 d later) was examined for fall-calving cows using a modified put and take grazing strategy implemented to maintain equal grazing pressure across production systems. Cow and/or calf death losses resulted in replacements with either bred cows or cow–calf pairs. While the analysis on heifer calves was limited to sale at time of weaning, steer calves were tracked through the feedlot stage to determine if the time of sale would alter production system recommendations. For the conditions presented in this study, cow–calf producers may be advised that (i) relative to late weaning, early weaned calves did not regain their weight disadvantage observed at time of weaning; (ii) more intensive pasture management (rotating twice weekly rather than twice monthly) was not worth the effort because partial return results for late-weaned steer and heifer calves did not differ statistically by rotation frequency, regardless of sale time; (iii) partial returns were highest for steer calves retained through the finishing stage at the feedlot (regardless of production system) compared with sale at the time of weaning or at the time of placement in the feedlot; (iv) the range of returns or financial risk exposure increased with length of calf ownership. However, use of long-term average prices excluded input price risk from the analysis and output price risk was only partially addressed.

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