The Roundup -

Bovine Connection Returns to Benefit Farmers and Ranchers


Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants, Inc. shares his tips on increasing ranching profits at the Bovine Connection seminar on Nov. 29 in Culbertson. Pratt teaches ranching for profit across the nation and has even presented in Australia. (Photo by Cheyenne Wiley)

The blowing snow and icy roads did not hinder the Bovine Connection's turnout in Culbertson on Nov. 29. After a five-year hiatus, the Bovine Connection returned to the area thanks to ag agents of Montana State University and North Dakota State University and several sponsors.

More than 40 farmers and ranchers showed up to the Culbertson Saddle Club Barn, where five presenters from Montana and North Dakota shared information about the current cattle industry.

"People are scared of getting out of a bad situation because they're afraid of the dark, the unknown – what's in the dark," said Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants.

The "unknown" involves the low market prices that have recently affected farmers and ranchers.

Pratt spent the afternoon providing tips to ranchers to increase their profit, as well as how to successfully transfer a ranch on to the next generation.

"Ninety-five percent of ranchers in the United States do not make a profit," he said. "Of people who want to pass their ranches on to the next generation, only one-third is successful."

To learn Pratt's secrets, visit and subscribe to Profit Tips at the bottom of the page.

Speakers Lisa Pederson, Extension beef quality specialist, and Dr. Gerald Stokka, livestock stewardship specialist, both of North Dakota State University, were unable to attend due to inclement weather but engaged with the audience via Skype.

Pederson spoke about strategic culling, in which the farmer removes poorly performing cows or bulls from the herd to manage profitability and productivity. Reasons for culling a cow may include low reproductive success, old age, or poor teeth and genetics.

Stokka discussed in his presentation a new rule that farmers must abide by: the veterinary feed directive. VFD feed drugs are antibiotics used for animal medicine and will require a prescription from a veterinarian starting Jan. 1, 2017. VFD orders will be needed to purchase medicated feed.

Wendy Becker of the Montana State University Extension showcased new cuts of beef on the market.

Dr. Andrew Roberts of the USDA Agricultural Research Services Range and Livestock Experiment Station shared his research regarding production efficiency in beef cattle.

"The less the dam is fed, the heavier the heifer will be after five years," Roberts said. "Feeding cows a bunch of hay now may not benefit heifers down the road."

The Culbertson Saddle Club catered a steak lunch to all attendees.

For more information on the Bovine Connection seminar, contact your local Montana State University or North Dakota State University ag agent.


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