The USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) collected data on management practices and cow-calf herds as a source of family income from a representative sample of cow-calf producers from 23 of the leading cow-calf states. Overall, 2,713 producers with one or more beef cows participated in the NAHMS Beef '97 Study, representing 85.7 percent of the beef cows and 77.6 percent of the beef cow operations in the United States as of January 1997. Producers whose cow-calf herds were the primary source of family income were more productive than those whose herds were a supplemental source of income. Cow-calf herds were the primary source of income for 14 percent of the producers and provided supplemental income for 69 percent of the producers. While average herd size was larger for primary income herds, nearly half of the herds with 100 or more cows were non-primary income herds. Producers whose herds were a primary source of income were more likely to dehorn cattle, castrate bull calves, and practice artificial insemination and semen testing than producers whose herds were not a primary source of income. Primary income producers were also more likely to vaccinate preweaned calves. Due to greater weaning rates and a higher weaning percentage, primary income producers produced more pounds of weaned calf per exposed cow than did non-primary income producers (440 vs. 400 pounds). Contact for this paper: Stephen Ott


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