What is in this article?:
- Boosting Kentucky beef industry one farm at a time
- Increased value of the calf
• Thanks to education through the Master Cattleman program, a one-on-one Kentucky Cooperative Extension partnership, Mike Wilson may be on the way to being a full-time cattleman.
• Wilson is in the fifth year of a management and genetics improvement program.
MIKE WILSON on his farm in Anderson County, Ky.
Increased value of the calf
“We really wanted to attack the benefits of AI and estrus synchronization,” he said. “The first level was just to demonstrate the immediate impact — the increase in weaning weight that increases the value of the feeder calf and that led to the new program MAG-60, where we are able to demonstrate through a large number of cattle harvest data that we can produce a more valuable end product.”
MAG-60 a new program through the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board and Kentucky Beef Network. MAG-60 stands for Management and Genetics, 60 days post weaning. They fund the cost for the semen and the technician; producers pay for synchronization medications and related labor. It ends up being about a 50-50 match.
“We work with all the AI studs in the state and agreed to just use four bulls from each group that are genetically similar and then produce a large number of genetically superior and similar calves and market them cooperatively,” Anderson said.
“Our goal is to capture $10-15 per hundredweight more. We know through studies that our cattle are worth about $150 per head more than non-selected calves.”
Yankey said he looked to Wilson to help reach other beef producers in the county. “We were looking for a good demonstration farm so we could teach other farmers some of the principals we are promoting,” Yankey said. “Mike is a progressive farmer and a great joy to work with. He is always willing to learn; we are making a difference in his livelihood..”
The program is spreading across Kentucky. Anderson said he’s got about 15 cooperators in northern Kentucky. Yankey said other producers are using the program principals, but not selling their calves through MAG-60 and are seeing similar results.
“Any producer can implement the basic principles of the program,” Anderson said. “It does take a good five to 10-year commitment to really see the long-term effectiveness. With Mike, he will see even more benefits as his cows enter their most productive years (5- to 10-years old).”
Anderson explained that most of the bulls in the MAG-60 program are oriented strictly to feedlot and carcass performance. Because many producers were looking to retain the AI-sired heifers in their herds, some of the bulls in the MAG-60 program are more oriented toward maternal performance. Saving these heifers will help Mike create a better cow, he said.
Wilson’s goal is to eventually spend more time on the farm and with his family. He’s planning to sell the garage and only work there in the mornings so he can focus more on the cattle. With the success he’s seen in just a few years, Yankey and Anderson said Wilson is well on the way to realizing his dream.
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