Cattle producers should prioritize cows selectively to improve feed conversion rate. And some already are, such as Hayse Farms in Redding, Iowa. Producer Pete Hayes says cows are getting smaller due to the ongoing selection of bulls and heifers that are more efficient converters of feed into weight gain. Replacement heifers for his 1,000-head herd are tested for feed efficiency at a nearby feedlot.

Twenty minutes north, Joe Werner prioritizes feed conversion on his purebred cowherd and feedlot in Diagonal, Iowa. He says one animal eats at a time for feed conversion testing. Werner tests sale bulls and identifies them with an ear chip. He says they’ve seen feed efficiency scores as low as 3.5:1, with an average of around 6:1.

Read more about cattle feed conversion and more producers taking measures to capitalize on this aspect here.