Saturday, October 5, 2013

Culling the Cows

One thing that is often neglected by smaller cattlemen is the systematic culling of their herd.  Improvement comes by removing those which are unproductive or inferior and keeping the best, most productive animals.  The task can be difficult in older, well-established herds. 

The first thing necessary to making good culling decisions is good record-keeping.  It is important to be able to identify the progeny of specific cows and to track their performance.  There are plenty of experts who have written at length of the specifics of selection criteria.  But, without records, applying them to your herd is difficult.

My herd is young.  All of my cows are 4 to 6 years of age.  They should have a number of productive years ahead of them.  It is important that they have a good calf each year in order to pay their own way.  After all, they must pay for their own groceries and upkeep, that of their calf, and pay for themselves over time.  Hopefully, they will do so in only 3 or 4 years at most.  Obviously, the more quickly they pay for themselves, the more profitable they become.

This year my culling decision was easy.  I do not have good comparative data for the cows this first year since they all had a calf whose sire was unknown.  Next year I will have better data since I now control both sides of the genetic makeup of the progeny.  However, there is one very simple criteria that does apply; those cows which are not pregnant have no way of contributing toward their feed or upkeep, let alone pay for themselves.  Fortunately for me only one is "open" this Fall.  She will be going to town on Monday.

The calf which a cow bears is her fruit.  We each should be fruitful as well.  Fruit can be measured in many ways.  In the workplace it can be the product of your labor.  For a Christian, fruit is a measure of our Spiritual productivity. 

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.  Genesis 1:11

9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”  Luke 13:9

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  John 15:8

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  Romans 7:4

Go be fruitful.

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