For cow-calf producers, survival and operational profitability are reliant upon efficiently producing uniform calves for target markets in an economical fashion. Doing so requires a clear management plan, goal setting for the cow herd, proper bull selection and a concise marketing strategy. Collectively, those things reduce risk and generate greater returns to the bottom line.

“Breeding cattle isn’t rocket science, although it does require common sense and a certain degree of business savvy,” said Mike Horvath, director of commercial marketing for the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF). “Simply put, there are three basic markets available: mainstream, lean and premium-Choice. The majority of commercial producers shoot for the mainstream commodity market, with a handful of managers gearing their enterprises towards the lean or premium-Choice markets.”

For the latter two options, he explained, producers must be comfortable accepting greater risk. For example, if a calf destined for a natural program gets sick and requires an antibiotic, its destiny changes.

Despite the target market, true success starts in the cow herd.

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