There’s no weather guarantee for 2014, but cattle producers can’t wait until next spring to make herd rebuilding plans so the time to decipher a plan for your operation is now.

Fall is the time to plan beef herd expansionTexas A&M Extension agents are preparing a training program for beef herd rebuilding and emphasize the fall season as the time to recognize opportunities and execute.

“Those with serious intent to enter, rebuild or expand their beef operation can’t wait until rains come and pastures are completely healed to develop a plan,” said Dr. Ron Gill, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist. “A plan must be in place when opportunity presents itself.”

With cattle inventories at record low levels, there are financial benefits to expanding the herd, however the high cost of replacement cows and uncertainty about next year’s weather patterns should also be considered.

“Those same factors mean market prices are charting record highs,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist. “The smaller cow inventory combined with high input costs, competing uses for land, prices of competing meats and radical changes — both domestic and export — in grain use are reshaping the beef business.”

Extension agents say pasture management, allowing warm-season forages to rebound after a drought, and selecting the right cow for a changing environment are also important factors to consider for 2014.

“What type of cow best fits the new production paradigms?” Gill asked. “In this review of critical considerations like mature size, environmental adaptability and market acceptance, cattlemen may find answers to questions such as: ‘What might I buy? Can I find them?’ and ‘How concerned should I be about health issues?’”