From the Winter 2003 issue of the Isa Informer
Tom Lasater is justly famous for developing the Six Essentials—Disposition, Fertility, Weight, Conformation, Hardiness and Milk Production. It is well-understood that fertility is “first among equals in importance.” Many people in the cattle business do not understand the genetic, performance and economic implications of true management of a cow herd for fertility.If Dad were operating today, he’d probably agree that a fertile cow is one that has an acceptable calf at 24 months of age and every 365 days thereafter, in a low-cost production scheme. A 365-day calving interval means one breeding season of fewer than 90 days.
We wean our heifers at about 7 months old, weighing some 550 pounds, and we keep about 90% of them. They are developed post-weaning in a low-cost, cake-on-grass regime and exposed to our newest herd bulls for 60 days beginning the same day as their mothers- every cow is in the same calving slot as her mother, grandmother, and so on. This competitive environment gives us a cost-effective, high-turnover operation with a young herd in which every female generates income every year.
There are hidden benefits to this program. During the last 10 years, we’ve seen our cattle improve dramatically due to natural selection by drought. We run a high-powered performance operation in a hostile environment. Our herd is a unique combination of Lasater, Casey, Musser, Newsome, Sanders and Broussard genetics. We use performance as our main criteria in bull selection and demand productivity in our females. We run a low-cost operation on leased land, which means these cattle hustle for a living. It is important to understand that fertility, as defined above, also impacts feedlot and carcass performance. Tom Lasater began weighing his bull calves in 1936 and adopted his famous “calf-a-year” program in 1948. We can thank him for the outstanding performance of Beefmasters at the feedlot and carcass level, as exemplified by L Bar 5502.
We consider nature as an ally in natural selection. When you buy L Bar genetics, you’re buying a genetic and management legacy that dates back more than 125 years.
Laurence M. Lasater,
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