U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report (1985) No. 2: 33-35


Resources used by cow herds for beef production vary greatly. To optimize reproduction and other production characteristics in the cow herd, breeding and management should be matched with the feed resources available for production. One management decision is whether to develop replacement females to calve first as 2-year-olds or as 3-year-olds. When feed resources are limited or expensive relative to other costs and value of output, it may be economical to delay the first calving until 3 years of age. When feed resources are adequate to support rapid growth and development of heifers and thus to reduce age at puberty to 14 months of age or less, then calving at 2 years of age may be optimum. another management decision is whether or not cows should be culled the first time they are open, or held over for another opportunity to breed (in lieu of keeping an additional replacement heifer). This study was conducted to evaluate effects of 2-year-old vs 3-year-old first calf management on longevity and lifetime production of cows and on current economics of beef production.