Each year we keep our entire heifer crop. Bulls are put in with the heifers July 24th for 30 days. This allows only the most fertile heifers to breed, typically around 50%. The heifers that do not breed are finished and sold through our retail business @farmandtable. Everyone seems to think they can pick out the best heifers just by looking at them in the corral, but we let fertile genetics pick themselves.
The hardest animal to get bred is a three-year-old second calf heifer. This should be the first question that you ask a breeder before you buy any seedstock from them, “what is the breed back percentage of your second calf heifers?” If the answer is less than 80%, find a different breeder. The next question that should be asked is “do you keep the cows that don’t breed every year?” Keeping cows that do not breed every year only produces heifers that will do the same. No genetic improvement is made by giving cows a second chance. A cow’s ability to breed back is directly related to her body condition when she calves.