Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1991. 69:4710-4721. Copyright © 1991 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


A stochastic dynamic model of reproduction and a deterministic cow-herd economic simulation model were used to evaluate how management decisions and reproductive performance interact to influence net income in a cow-calf operation (1,000 cows) for 1 yr of production. The stochastic model was used to determine herd performance when length of breeding season (45, 70, or 120 d) interacted with three postpartum intervals of an estrus (48, 65, or 90 d) and three conception rates at first service (60, 70, or 80%). Short, moderate, and long postpartum intervals were used to reflect differences in reproductive performance. In addition, replacement heifers were bred beginning either 3 wk ahead of the cow herd or at the same time as the cow herd. Fifty-four simulations were generated. Inputs into the economic model were herd performance, livestock and feed prices, nonfeed costs, and feed requirements for 1 yr of production. Feed requirements were calculated separately for each postpartum interval to reflect three different body condition scores, thin, moderate, and good, to correspond with long, moderate, and short postpartum intervals. Net income was greatest with 704 breeding seasons when the postpartum interval was short or moderate. When the postpartum interval was long, net income was greatest with 1204 breeding seasons because pregnancy rates, as a result of the long breeding season, were highest and feed costs were lowest for thin cows. Overall, net income was greatest when cows were managed to have postpartum intervals of moderate length. Breeding heifers 3 wk before the cows provided the most economic benefit with long postpartum intervals.