Weekly genetics review: Are our mature cows becoming too big?

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October 29, 2019

here are a number of causes for this trend to develop. Firstly the on-going impact of poor to desperate seasons across Australia has focussed many producers on the nutritional challenges in maintaining larger cows.

As reported in Beef Central

At the same time, the increased selection of bulls for growth and carcase weight has seen industry question the size of cattle being produced. As reported in Beef Central following this year’s Angus forum in Albury, keynote speakers highlighted the challenges for processors and retailers from increasing carcase size.

At the same conference, attendees heard from New Zealand’s Professor Dorian Garrick of the increase of mature cow sizes over the past 30 years. Professor Garrick, from Massey University, suggested mature cow weights had increase by 100 to 150kg since the 1970s.

As reported earlier by Beef Central, Professor Garrick told the Angus Conference the increase in cow size comes with additional costs for producers. He told the conference, “The cost of feeding the average Angus daughter in 2017 was $57/head more than the average Angus daughter in 1980.”

Increasing mature cow size is one of the outcomes for many producers continuing selection for growth. While increasing growth rate is an important contributor to producing cattle that can potentially achieve higher carcase weights at earlier ages, there are other outcomes to impact on the herd. The most obvious has been increased birth weights and larger mature cows.

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