Texas A&M study to develop management strategies, stocking density guidelines
Space and exercise could be almost as important as food and water to the successful development of beef heifers raised in drylots, and quantifying that importance is the aim of a planned study by a Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science researcher in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Reproductive development of replacement heifers dictates the overall efficiency of cow-calf operations. In order to maximize efficiency and minimize resource use, beef industry replacement heifers are increasingly being housed in drylots. While the practice is less common in Texas than in other areas of the country, land-use trends suggest it may become more prevalent, said Texas A&M’s Reinaldo Cooke, Ph.D., beef cattle production associate professor.
As an example, Houston, Navasota and College Station will soon become one big metropolitan area,” Cooke said. “We are going to have less grass resources for cattle, competing with urban development and crop production. I don’t believe the whole industry will change to confined operations, but we need to find management systems to make sure we are maintaining or promoting production efficiency and fostering animal welfare.”