Bovine Engineering and Consulting
Gearld Fry 193 Fry Rd. -  Rose Bud, AR   72137


As I travel around the country I hear my customers talk of depopulation of their herds in times of good prices (height of the cycle). The intent is to reestablish (buying other cattle) the herd at the bottom of the cattle cycle. I understand this management decision and practice. However if all cattle were as they should be (genetically & phenotypic) there would not be a high and low of the infrastructure pricing. If parity were in place as it should be the prices would not move as much as they do. In all other industries the producer’s establishes the price of their product (tractor, auto, grocery, feed, ect.). That being the truth in the cattle industry there would be no need for depopulation.

Threw are a few cows in every herd that should never be sold except in cases of dispersions. In those cases the neighbors should be informed of the value of those cows.
These few cows in every herd have a calf each 12 months. She calves in the first 21 days of the breeding period. She is never sick and never causes trouble or expense of any kind. She survives on grass and hay. She produces 55-65% (or more) of her body weight each year. She looses very little weight if any. She sheds her hairs at the first lengthen of days in spring. She has a sleek shiny feminine hair coat. Insects (internal or external) are not a bother to her. She is adapted to the environment. She makes money every year. She produces heifers that can rebuild the herd. Her daughters perform the same as mother and grandmothers. Her gland system (endocrine’s) functions with perfection. Her gene pool is her strength and should be the desire of every beef or dairy producer. Her gene pool can only be stopped by death. Your pasture should be full of these kinds of cows! These cows are the ones with tender palatable meat and reproduce the same. These cows are the only ones that can produce great bulls (when mated to great sires) that can sire the desired progeny. Sadly there is only about 1% of our cattle herd that fits this category.

It disturbs me greatly when I hear producer speak of depopulation. These cows should never be destroyed. They should not leave the farm. They cannot be replaced. She should be sought for as a precious stone. She is the one with no recessive genes. Prepotency is her strength. Grass and production are her only need and desires.  She is the standard in your pastures. Most depopulation of herds goes to the slaughterhouse for burger. She is not the cow the industry has wanted the past 30 years. However she is the cow that will rebuild the cattle industry. She is smaller in frame seize, much wider in the rump area, balanced from back to front with a deep wide chest. She will perform the same each year regardless of the weather or grass conditions.

Physical definition of the highly productive cow

I cannot define the ideal cow without defining femininity and fertility. Femininity and fertility is totally defined beginning with the rump area of the cow. The rump width of the cow will be two and a half inches or more wider than the length of her rump. Looking from behind only the stomach is wider than the rump. The flank will be very deep exhibiting high maternal traits. Fertility is directly linked to the width and depth of the rump. Without the wide, deep rump, fertility is low and will suffer with slow calving through the life of the cow.

 The cow with a narrow rump cannot be feminine or reproductively sound because of low hormones production. The narrow rump is an absence of red meat and a higher maintenance cow. The ideal cows rump will be almost half as wide as she is tall at the hip. The higher the hormone production (estrogen) in the cow, the more meat on the carcass also the more productive the cow.

The ideal cow will not be a long bodied cow. She will be moderate in weight with lots of balance from front to back. The grass that grows will support her. The cow will have a top line and heart girth that match in length and circumference or the girth larger. The size of the heart girth determines if the reproductive qualities of the cow are supported. With the heart girth circumference equal to the top line length the shoulders will be wide and deep enough and the cow will be a low maintenance cow. She will have an adequate seize loin muscle.

 Her shoulders will be the same width as the length of the rump. She will have enough width between the front legs for a well-developed and wide, deep chest for easy maintenance.

The highly productive cow will have a neck that is half of the length of her body. If the neck is longer than half the body length, her body is to long and she will be a high maintenance cow. Femininity is not a long slender feather neck on the cow. The long slender neck will get more milk (dairy look), however energy requirements go up. The long slender neck and a tight heart girth are always associated together (high maintenance).

The above remarks are applicable to both dairy and beef breeds of cattle. For the grazer in the dairy industry the standard would be for not quite as much meat on the carcass. However the dairyman must maintain the same balance for good reproduction and low maintenance.

Gearld Fry
193 Fry Rd.
Rose Bud, AR   72137
Telephone - 501-454-5232



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