One management area that has received a lot of attention over the last three or four years has been cull-cow management and marketing. Some of the common statements made include: 1) The sale of cull cows from the herd represent a significant portion of annual beef herd returns, estimated to be as high as 15-20% of herd receipts; 2) Producers should consider alternative management and marketing options, as seasonal low prices occur in the fall, namely late October, November and December; 3) Properly managed cull cows can achieve efficient gains and therefore have the potential to be profitable feeding enterprises.

All these statements appear to be true: Cull cows can be a source of improved revenue for the operation, but as with everything, general statements don't always fit every situation. Understanding how cull cows are categorized and marketed is an important part of effectively marketing and managing the cows that you own. While the earlier points can all be true, it is equally correct to say that: 1) Not all cows are efficient gainers; 2) Not all cull cows have the same potential for increased returns. Before determining your exact plan, consider the weight gain and marketing potential of the group of cows.

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