• Evaluating Management Alternatives with a Beef Production Systems Model

      Kothmann, M. M.; Smith, G. M. (Society for Range Management, 1983-11-01)
      Simulation techniques were utilized to study alternative management practices for cow-calf operations in the Coastal Prairie of Texas. Data obtained over a 6-year period from a cooperating ranch were used to validate a beef production model successfully. Management practices evaluated with the model included fall, winter, spring, and split (fall-spring) calving seasons, July 1 and October 1 weaning dates, and two levels of nutrition. Eight combinations of these practices were simulated. Winter calving increased death losses of calves compared to fall and spring at the base nutritional level. Fall calving increased weaning weights, whereas spring calving increased the present calf crop. Fall calving with improved nutrition resulted in the highest level of calf production. Resource limitations frequently prevent screening many management combinations by field research techniques. Simulation can be a valuable aid for integrating and extending experimental data and for selecting the most promising combinations of practices for field testing.