For fall calving herds, breeding season is upon us. Successful reproduction is the forefront of a cow/calf operation and heavily impacts an operations profitability. Investing time and resources into ensuring breeding season success will prove to be profitable.

Fall calving operations share similar general breeding practices as spring herds.

As with all markets, there is fluctuation in the price of cull cows. In general, market lows occur during times of highest supply. Since most Illinois producers cull cows in the fall after weaning, the prices in fall are typically lower than other times of the year. Price is also affected by body condition of the cow. The following are USDA cull scores:

Cooler temperatures and fall leaf foliage are reminders that winter is just around the corner. For cattle producers, this reminder also brings fewer grazing days and the need to focus on winter rations for beef cows. The foundation of a least-cost, balanced winter ration starts with a forage test. For those buying or selling hay, forage testing can play an even bigger role in pricing and purchasing value. Fall is an ideal time to test, as it will allow enough time to price and plan for winter feeding.