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The beef cattle industry is experiencing changes in the way it does business. Some have suggested that there is more change occurring now than in any other period of the industry’s history. Among these changes are indications, driven by real incentives, that more uniformity of production is evolving. Alliances and coordinated supply systems are developing that suggest - even specify - certain genetic and production parameters for those who supply calves into their production programs.
Establishing and maintaining a logical, economical, practical and effective system for replenishing the cowherd is a necessary (some would say a necessary evil) component of producing calves. Several alternatives exist for accomplishing this objective. In general, such alternatives revolve around either raising females from within the herd or purchasing replacement females from an outside source. This paper will address considerations when evaluating these alternatives.