Holiday Ranch
Breeder of South Poll Grass Cattle

Rating System for Replacement Heifer Evaluation

Ever wonder how to decide which heifers to keep in the herd?  There are so many things to consider.  We have been evaluating our herd for the past several weeks in order to keep only the best of the best South Poll females.

Calves and their dams are evaluated

Here is what we do at Holiday Ranch to make our tough decisions:

On our Missouri herd, our partner Bruce Shanks evaluates each calf and its dam.

Bruce scores each calf according to the following scale he devised:

Thickness

1 = thin

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = thick

Frame

1 = too big or extremely small

2 = a little tall

3 = moderate

4 = very moderate

Disposition

1 = charging

2 = nervous, agitated

3 = OK or uncaring

4 = curious or extremely gentle

Hair

1 = rough hair, not slicked off, long

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = appropriate to season; slick/oily

Performance

1 = slow growth

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = fast growth

Each calf’s score for each of the above traits is added together to determine a total calf score.  The total ratings could be 5 for the worst or 20 for the best.

Then, each dam is given a similar evaluation based on the following criteria:

Longevity

1 = 1, 2, or 3 years old

2 = 4, 5, or 6 years old

3 = 7, 8, or 9 years old

4 = 10+ years old

Udder Quality

1 = poor, large

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = great, small, tight

Condition

1 = emaciated, very thin

2 = thin, can see all ribs

3 = moderate, can see 2-3 ribs

4 = very good (smooth, etc.)

Frame

1 = too big, extremely small

2 = a little tall

3 = moderate

4 = very moderate

Disposition

1 = charging

2 = nervous, agitated

3 = OK, uncaring

4 = curious, extremely gentle

Hair

1 = rough hair, not slicked-off, long

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = appropriate to season, slick/oily

Girth

1 = narrow

2 = below average

3 = above average

4 = wide

Cow scores for each of the above traits are added together to determine a total cow score.  Possible scores are 7 to 28

After each calf and her dam are evaluated, their total scores are added together to obtain a combined total for each cow and her calf.  Based on this scoring we use the resulting number as a tool to select which heifers to keep.

Our toolbox is not limited to the above described rating system but this is one very helpful tool to select heifers to keep in the herd.

Visit our partner, Bruce Shanks, of Sassafras Valley Ranch.

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