Iowa Beef Center Heifer Series Addresses Challenges of Rebuilding Beef Cow Herd

AMES, Iowa – One of the biggest challenges facing cattlemen today is maintaining young cows in their herd long term. The Iowa Beef Center, in partnership with the Iowa Cattleman’s Association, is offering a program series focusing specifically on management practices to keep young cows in the herd to improve longterm profitability.  

The Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment series of programs is a follow-up to the 2012 series on yearling heifers, Heifer Development – Rebuilding our Future. The goal of the 2014 series is to pick up where the 2012 series left off, and looks at the nutrition, health, calving and reproductive management of bred heifers through their second breeding season.

Denise Schwab, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist, said there are a couple of reasons for increased numbers of heifers in cow herds and producer interest in better management of these animals. “Throughout the drought the last two years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of heifers retained for the cow herd, despite the high rate of cow culling,” Schwab said. “This resulted in one of the smallest beef cow herds in the last 60 years, but also one of the youngest and most productive herds ever. Maintaining all of these young cows in the herd long term is a big challenge to cattlemen.”

Schwab points to the research conducted by the National Animal Health Monitoring System in 2007-08 that reported 33 percent of all culled cows left the herd because they did not conceive during the breeding season, and nearly 16 percent of all culled cows left the herd before five years of age.

“If the national beef cow herd is to grow, it will require better management of the replacement heifer and young cows to improve conception and retention,” said Schwab. “This conference will give producers information they can apply to their herd management.”

All sessions include a meal for those preregistered at least two days prior to the event. The $20 fee is payable at the door. Walk-in registrations are $25 per person and a meal is not guaranteed.

Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment locations and dates

  • Jan. 16, Maquoketa – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Centerstone Inn/Suites, 1910 Nairn Drive. To preregister, call 319-472-4739.
  • Jan. 21, Nashua – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Borlaug Learning Center, ISU Research Farm, 3327 290th Street. To preregister, call 641-394-2174.
  • Jan. 21, Postville – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Postville Vet Clinic, 110 Hyman Dr.  To preregister, call 319-472-4739.
  • Jan. 23, Anita – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Anita Community Center, 805 Main Street. To preregister, call 712-769-2600.
  • Jan. 28, Spencer – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Spencer School Administration Bldg, 23 E 7th Street. To preregister, call 712-262-2264x10 or email
  • Jan. 29, Holstein – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lohff-Schuman Community Center, 301 Lohff Schuman Dr. To preregister, call 712-225-6196 or email
  • Feb. 4, Humboldt – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ox Bow Park, Izaak Walton League, 7 Park Rd. To preregister, call 515-332-2201.
  • Feb. 5, Mount Pleasant – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Henry County Extension Office, 127 N. Main St. To preregister, call 319-385-8126.
  • Feb. 5, Albia – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Monroe County Extension Office, 219 B Ave West. To preregister, call 641-932-5612.
  • Feb. 6, Winterset – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Madison County Fairgrounds, Jackson Bldg., W. Summit St. To preregister, call 515-462-1001.
  • Feb. 6, Osceola – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Clarke County Fairgrounds Event Center, Hwy 34 W. To preregister, call 641-342-331.
  • Feb. 19, Ames – 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Hansen Ag Student Learning Center, 2816 Mortensen Rd. To preregister, call 641-774-2016.

For more information contact a beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach or the Iowa Beef Center website at: