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Robert Wells, Ph.D. Articles

This Is What Your Feed Tag Is Telling You

Producers can ensure they are choosing the best feed for their livestock by understanding the information on a feed tag.

Beef Quality Assurance improves consumer experience

Beef Quality Assurance was developed over 25 years ago to help producers increase the quality of beef they produce by educating ranchers and their employees on the importance of proper management and adhering to industry-accepted guidelines.

Hay Quality After Rainfall

Haying has been a real challenge with the frequent rains we've experienced. The consensus among the Agricultural Division's consulting teams is that most of the hay put up so far this summer has had at least one rain fall on it before baling.

How to Properly Manage Your Bulls for a Successful Breeding Season

Proper off-season management of bulls can ensure longevity within the herd and a subsequent successful breeding season.

DNA Technology for the Commercial Cow-Calf Producer

DNA testing has become an economically viable tool that should be used when making selection decisions for commercial cattle producers.

Using Bermudagrass Pastures to Meet Cow Nutrient Requirements

Winter supplementation for a cow can account for anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of the annual cost of maintaining the cow. Therefore, producers should plan their winter supplementation strategies during the growing season to allow for more options and to reduce winter feed costs when utilizing bermudagrass pastures.

Integrity Beef Alliance Takes Bold Steps to Further Program Development

In 2017, the Integrity Beef Alliance voted to include more bull breeds, modified requirements for breed composition for eligible calves, offered additional marketing avenues and a changed sale format, and continued developing the Integrity Beef Premier Replacement Female Program.

How to Compare EPDs Across Breeds

Commercial cow-calf producers can use across-breed expected progeny differences (AB-EPDs) to compare bulls of different breeds and select the right one for their goals.

How to Evaluate Property for Raising Cattle

When buying land with the goal of producing cattle, consider stocking rate, forage quality and type, soil type and fertility, terrain and slope of the land, water sources in each pasture, number of pastures and traps, working pen availability and condition, fence condition and type, and other infrastructure.

10 Tips for a Successful Weaning and Preconditioning Season

Research demonstrates the advantages of preconditioning calves. The following tips are designed to help producers be more successful during the preconditioning phase of calf development.

Early Weaning Benefits First-Calf Cows, Calves

Weaning calves from first-calf cows early offers benefits to the animals and operation. Robert Wells, Ph.D., livestock consultant, shares the advantages and tips.

Integrity Beef Alliance: Using Best Management Practices to Improve Profit

The Integrity Beef Alliance is a value-added calf program that utilizes high-quality bull genetics coupled with best cow-calf management practices to produce a quality value-added commercial calf....

Top 10 Ways to Make Cow Herds More Profitable

It has been well-documented in popular press and repeatedly confirmed at sale barns and coffee shops that the current calf market is about one-half of where it was just 2 ½ years ago. The short-term...

Proper bull selection can increase return on investment

The past few years have seen a dramatic downturn in calf prices from historic highs to the lowest prices in four or five years. Unfortunately, some input prices are slow to come down while other...

Teeth condition can reveal cow age, aid culling decisions

Cows with poor teeth will have a difficult time maintaining body condition.

Alliance starts premium replacement female program

The program is designed to help producers identify and select the right animal to become a profitable cow on their ranch.

'Employee' analogy aids replacement heifer selection

Replacement heifers are the hot topic at most rancher gatherings these days.

Integrity Beef pays dividends in high cattle markets

Large and small ranches benefit equally from participating in Integrity Beef Alliance.

Feeding nitrate-containing forage requires caution

Horses have a higher tolerance to nitrates than cattle, but extreme caution should be exercised when feeding it.

Management strategies ease calving season

As we strive to improve the beef operation over time, it's never too early to be thinking about the next calving season.

Artificial insemination increases profits

Estrus synchronization and timed artificial insemination are an economically viable alternative to owning a bull if the producer has multiple bulls.

EPDs benefit terminal production systems

Surprisingly, I still find that many producers do not use expected progeny differences (EPDs) as a primary selection tool for their bull.

Off-season bull management aids breeding success

Most ranchers in Texas and Oklahoma will have already turned their bulls out to the cow herd for the breeding season or will be preparing to do so. With this in mind, we should be looking ahead to managing the bulls once the breeding season is over.

Needle management contributes to beef quality

How many times do you reuse needles when doctoring calves? Properly managing needle use is a key component of ensuring that the beef we produce is safe and wholesome.

Hay Feeder Design Can Reduce Hay Waste and Cost

The cost of hay doubled between the spring and late summer. With these increased prices, have you considered the cost of the hay wasted due to the type of hay feeder you use?

Manure scoring determines supplementation needs

By October, winter is just a few pages away on the calendar. With the change in season and forages entering dormancy comes the need to pay closer attention to your supplementation strategy to ensure cows do not lose body condition.

New animal identification rules aid disease traceability

The USDA has initiated the Animal Disease Traceability Program to track interstate livestock movement. The new rule replaces the previous unpopular version of the National Animal Identification System and pertains to all livestock, including cattle, horses, sheep and goats.

Online calculators help make management decisions

Noble Research Institute consultants have developed a series of online decision support calculators to help farmers and ranchers. The latest allows producers to determine the feasibility of purchasing an overhead feed bin and truck-mounted feeder.

Making More With Fewer Cows

Cattle producers in the Southern Great Plains had to reduce cow numbers in 2011 due to the most severe drought in decades. Replacement cow prices are at an all-time high in 2012, and most pastures are still in poor condition, making it difficult for many producers to restock to former levels.

You Cannot Starve a Profit Into a Cow

Most producers are trying to survive the winter by stretching forage and feed resources. This can be accomplished with careful thought and consultation with a nutritionist to ensure that each cow's nutrient requirements are still being met for the stage of production it is in. If corners are cut to save money now, it can have long lasting repercussions.

Determining the Value of Weathered Hay

The drought of 2011 is set to go down in the record books as one of the most severe in history. Most livestock producers in the Southern Great Plains have not been able to put up enough hay to meet their requirements in a normal growing season, let alone during a drought when they will have to start feeding hay earlier in the year.

Early Weaning During Drought Makes Sense

The drought of 2011 is turning out to be one of the worst on record. Most Texas and Oklahoma producers are looking for things that they can do to save what little forage they have and to conserve the amount of hay and feed they will need until green-up next spring.

Planning Your Winter Feeding Program for Profitability

How would you like to save $15 per cow on your winter feeding bill? What if I told you it could easily be done by making one timely change in what you are feeding your cows grazing on native grass pasture?

Take Care of Your Heifers and They Will Take Care of You

About the end of every year, beef producers have sold the last calf crop and have a few weeks or months of relative calm before calving season starts. It is easy to become complacent about the cow herd and the replacement heifers, but if you don't take care of them now, they will not be able to take care of you in the future.

Goats and Weed Control

With costs on the rise, many landowners are seeking less expensive alternatives to mechanical or chemical weed control in pastures. One natural method to achieve this goal is to stock goats to consume unwanted brush and weeds.

It's Time to Consider Winter Feeding Strategies

The National Drought Monitor Web site indicates the area is in either extreme or exceptional drought. As if not having adequate good-quality water for cow herds isn't bad enough, there is little to no available standing forage going into winter at a time of record-high hay prices.

Why Test for Cattle Persistently Infected With Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus?

By now, most cattle producers have at least heard the "buzz words" PI and BVDV. If you've picked up just about any trade publication, been to an industry meeting or talked to a Noble Research Institute livestock specialist, you've probably seen or heard the terms before - persistently infected (PI) bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). Yet, there are still some who have not received, or don't fully comprehend, the message.

Heterosis... Hype or Legit?

Now, it seems every publication you read or every expert you hear is talking about heterosis. So, you ask, "What's this fancy word 'heterosis,' and can I capitalize on it in my herd?" Well, simply put, heterosis is hybrid vigor.