Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cattle Record keeping

Today was quite busy here at the ranch.  The guys brought the yearling heifers and bulls home from the feedlot.  After dinner, the ultrasound man (UM) came.  We had our registered Hereford heifers (about 50 head) and our 9 sale bulls (yearlings) all scanned.  My guys & one hired guy (with UM) got each calf into the squeeze chute.  UM gently squeezed the animal snug so he could clip an area of hair (about a 10 X 10 inch area just off of the spine & front shoulder area).  He clips the hair so he gets a better image/reading.  It was my job to help get data entered into UM's computer.  This was the identification of each animal and the scanned images that UM took.  He has a special curved tube-like instrument that scans a small area of the animal.  This image is then saved to his computer.   Why do we scan?  The images are read by professionals to give us data about back fat and ribeye area.  As ranchers, we use this information to help learn how well muscled each animal is - which is what tells us about the quality of meat produced.  The images look very much like the ultrasound images pregnant women get.

After all of this, UM & his hired guy left.  My crew brought each of the heifers through the working facility in our barn so we could weigh each one.  We do this as part of the Hereford registration program.  The more data we share with the American Hereford Association (AHA) the better.  It all helps when we want to sell registered animals. 

Tomorrow we will run all of the sale bulls through to weigh them and to get scrotal measurements.  This too will be sent to AHA.   We submit birth weights, weaning weights (when weaned from the cow), and yearling weights (at about one year of age) to AHA.  Doing all of this is important in herd management even if you don't raise registerd cattle. 

Sorry I don't have any photos of this.  I had the camera with me but no time (or coordination) to take any pictures.  I guess I need to learn how to multi-task better!!

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