Developing a registered cattle herd
If your objective is to raise registered cattle and supply breeding animals to
other cattle producers, it may be necessary to make large capital investments in purebred stock. Development of a
registered herd means that both the sire and dam must be purebred and registered with the same national breed
association. You must keep accurate records and register the desirable purebred calves to be retained for breeding
If you raise bulls for the beef
industry, you must develop a selection program based on characteristics of economic importance, such as fertility,
mothering ability, ease of calving, growth rate, and carcass merit. Also, use great care in the selection of
breeding females, as considerable time and expense are involved.
Competition is keen with already-established herds. However, there are successful
registered herds with only 30 to 50 cattle. As in most all enterprises this one is no exception and the breeder who
pays closest attention to details and customer needs will always be the most successful.
Sale of breeding stock is the main source of income from registered cattle. Care and
management of registered cattle is more intensive than for commercial cattle. Establishing a breeding herd is a
long-range program. It also requires more land than a simple steer or heifer feeding program. Consider how your
available resources match your long-term objectives. There must be adequate feed, water, and fences to accommodate
a year-round operation.
There are many sources of good cattle, both registered and commercial. Usually it's best
to purchase from a successful and reputable breeder. They usually sell only sound cattle as breeding animals and
they are helpful in giving advice to less experienced producers.
If you are inexperienced, it might be best to buy good, young, bred cows that have
calved at least once. This reduces problems associated with calving heifers. If you purchase open heifers, you
should breed them to a bull that has the genetics for easy calving.
The major concern of cattle producers is profit. Because your entire program depends on
the fitness of the breeding animals, it is essential to maintain good herd health by not allowing the cattle to
become too fat or too thin. Cows do not milk as well and may have problems calving or getting bred if they are
overweight or underweight. Bulls that are not in good condition may perform poorly during the breeding season.