Jun 1, 1991

A Markovian decision model for beef cattle replacement that considers spring and fall calving

Journal of Animal Science
S M Azzam, A M Azzam


In certain production environments, beef cows are mated during a breeding season that starts in early summer. Cows found not to be pregnant at the end of the breeding season could either be culled or retained and remated the following summer. Alternatively, nonpregnant cows could be mated in the winter. This option would result in having both a spring and a fall calving herd. The purpose of our study was to determine the optimal replacement policy (maximizing long-run average net returns) for a specific production environment by determining for each age of cow, reproductive status (nonpregnant or pregnant), and season of pregnancy checking (spring or fall) whether the cow should be retained to the next breeding season (summer or winter) or be replaced by a pregnant heifer. The problem was formulated as a Markovian decision process and the optimal policy was found by linear programming. The optimal policy was one in which nonpregnant cows were always culled and replaced by heifers in the summer breeding herd, resulting in spring calving only.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cattle for beef production
Bos taurus
Seasonal Variation
Pregnant Women
Two-Parameter Models

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