Ge­or­gia HERD Pro­gram re­minders

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

pro­gram con­clud­ing in May.

Dur­ing the process, heifers are de­vel­oped and eval­u­ated on nu­mer­ous re­pro­duc­tive traits with a goal of a con­firmed bred heifer in the spring. A pro­ducer has the op­tion of tak­ing his heifer con­sign­ments back home or hav­ing them sold in our an­nual sale. To­day, I will be giv­ing more de­tails on this es­tab­lished pro­gram in Ge­or­gia.

First, this is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort. The pro­gram is spon­sored by the Ge­or­gia Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion, UGA Ex­ten­sion, UGA An­i­mal and Dairy Science De­part­ment and the UGA Col­lege of Vet­eri­nary Medicine. County agents are ac­tive par­tic­i­pants by be­ing mem­bers of the HERD team and work­ing hands on at work days at the Floyd County farm. In Ge­or­gia, we have two heifer de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

The one in our area is the Cal­houn HERD pro­gram and is for heifers born from De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary, while the heifers for the Tifton HERD eval­u­a­tion are born from Septem­ber to Novem­ber. To clear up any con­fu­sion on heifer age, to be el­i­gi­ble for the next Cal­houn HERD pro­gram, a heifer must have been born from De­cem­ber 1, 2016 to Fe­bru­ary 28, 2017.

Heifers that are of­fi­cially con­signed will be dropped off at the farm on the last day of Novem­ber. A com­plete cal­en­dar of events for our lo­cal HERD pro­gram can be found by go­ing to the UGA Beef Pro­grams site. You can also find an en­try form. You can also visit with me or with our North Ge­or­gia Beef Spe­cial­ist, Ja­son Dug­gin. Ja­son is housed at the Gor­don County Agri­cul­tural Ser­vice Cen­ter.

Why should a cat­tle pro­ducer con­sider en­ter­ing heifers to the HERD pro­gram? First, it is a great way to gather data on heifers you are rais­ing in an eval­u­a­tion process. You can take the data and com­pare it to heifers that other cat­tle pro­duc­ers are rais­ing. Sec­ond, in­stead of you tak­ing the time to raise your own heifers on your farm, you can let some­one else han­dle that for you for ap­prox­i­mately six months. The fee you will be charged for this ser­vice can be cheaper than you can do it on your own farm. Note, we will be us­ing the UGA Vet School to come and do re­pro­duc­tive sound­ness eval­u­a­tion and for ul­tra­sound preg­nancy con­fir­ma­tion. The heifers will be given the chance to con­ceive breed ar­ti­fi­cially to a na­tion­ally known calv­ing ease An­gus sire and then a chance to breed nat­u­rally to calv­ing ease bulls. A third rea­son is due to the op­por­tu­nity to mar­ket your bred heifers through our an­nual sale which will on May 30, 2018 at the North­west Ge­or­gia Live­stock Pav­il­ion here in Cal­houn.

How do you en­ter cat­tle for the HERD pro­gram? There is a fee for the pro­gram. There is a $50 per head con­sign­ment fee plus your cost for feed, hay, vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams and sale fees which is nor­mally in the $ 400 range per heifer. Last year, our sale av­er­age was more than $2000 per heifer. You can en­ter reg­is­tered and also com­mer­cial heifers in this eval­u­a­tion. Please note that pro­gram el­i­gi­ble heifers must be home­grown fe­males and meet the age el­i­gi­bil­ity for that pro­gram site. At de­liv­ery, heifers must weigh a min­i­mum of 1.75 pounds per day of age. There is a vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram sug­gested prior to de­liv­ery and heifers need to have per­ma­nent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion such as a tat­too or brand upon de­liv­ery.

Please note that un­ruly heifers may be ex­cused from the pro­gram since dis­po­si­tion is part of our eval­u­a­tion process. To con­tinue in the pro­gram heifers must pass the breed­ing sound­ness exam in Jan­uary plus must be con­firmed as bred to be sale el­i­gi­ble. The en­try dead­line for the Cal­houn HERD pro­gram for 2017- 2018 cy­cle is Novem­ber 1, 2017. We have space for ap­prox­i­mately 170 heifers at the farm.

Fi­nally, we have many cat­tle pro­duc­ers that have taken ad­van­tage of this pro­gram for years, but we may have po­ten­tial new con­sign­ers in the area. You can con­tact Ja­son Dug­gin or my­self and we will be happy to an­swer all ques­tions and even con­duct a site visit to look at heifers. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact UGA Ex­ten­sionGor­don County or email gbow­man@uga.edu.

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