The Beef Center has as its goal to produce one calf per cow per year. We select bulls for birthweight so the cows can calve unassisted. Our average birth weight is 78 lbs and our adjusted weaning weights for 2008 were 595 lb. The average calving interval for 2007-2008 was 366d with very little variation observed. Our mature cows average 1400 lbs and our goal is to reduce this weight to 1250 to 1300 lbs with breeding and selective culling. Feedback from the feeders of our cattle is that they grade choice and are not overfat but rib eye area can be improved. Our goal is to select bulls to increase rib eye area without losing performance in other areas.
Feed and pasture resources are carefully managed to provide appropriate nutrition and minimize the need for stored forages and grains. To that end, a management intensive grazing system is in place at the Center and rotational grazing system is used on the river pastures. We also utilize wheat pastures that surround the barn after harvest. Over the past two years we have harvested about 65 acres of hay (yield is about 2T/acre) to effectively use the forage during rapid growing season and provide a small amount of the hay needed for the winter.
The Beef Center’s goal is to be financially self-sufficient with an adequate number of cattle to support teaching, research, and extension activities. The cow-calf unit aims to be integrative of the other centers in the department, productive and managed for mutual benefit of the entire animal sciences farm unit. The Beef Center is heavily integrated into our curriculum starting at the 100 level and continuing through upper division courses. The manager of the facility assists in the conduct of many labs and extension programs, gives tours to the general public, and facilitates research that is conducted both on and off campus.