ACES Publications

Author: Diego Gimenez
PubID: ANR-1323
Title: Alabama Beef Cattle Producers Pocket Guide
Pages: 158     Balance: 0
ANR-1323 Beef Cattle Pocket Guide

Beef Cattle Pocket Guide

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Officers

Max Bozeman
5802 Hwy 141
Elba, AL 36323

Orland Britnell
30794 Hwy 24
Russellville, AL 35654

Vice President
Steve McDonald
1373 State Lake Rd
Lineville, AL 36266

Ned Ellis
P.O. Box 81
Ft. Deposit, AL 36032

Executive Vice President
William E. Powell
P.O. Box 2499
Montgomery, AL 36102


Beef cattle represent one of the largest segments of Alabama’s agriculture industry, providing a great source of income for the state. This pocket guide explains basic beef cattle practices and is intended to aid beef cattle producers in today’s business. The recommendations and guidelines suggested in this guide address common questions and concerns about running a profitable beef cattle business.

The authors do not assume any responsibility, make any guarantees, or offer any warranties in regard to the results obtained from the use of any management practices or suggestions made in this guide.

The following contributed to this guide:

Don Ball, Extension Specialist, Professor, Agronomy and Soils

Diego M. Gimenez, Extension Specialist, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences

Chris Kerth, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences

Lisa Kriese-Anderson, Extension Specialist, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences

W. F. “Frank” Owsley, Extension Specialist, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences

Walter Prevatt, Extension Specialist, Professor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Darrell L. Rankins, Junior Extension Specialist, Professor, Animal Sciences

Soren Rodning, Extension Specialist, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences

Acknowledgment: The contributing authors wish to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this pocket guide:

  • The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Executive Vice President, William E. Powell
  • Glenda Freeman, Communications Editor
  • Anna Weinstein, Part-time Extension Editor
  • D. Ross Heck, Part-time Extension Art Designer, Professor, Industrial Design
  • Richard L. Hambley, Extension Specialist, Visual Resources

This publication was made possible by funding from Alabama cattle producers and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association through their State 50˘ Beef Checkoff program.


Forage Management

  • Planting and Seed Information for Forage Grasses in Alabama

  • Planting and Seed Information for Forage Legumes in Alabama

  • The Nitrogen Fixation Process

  • Definitions of Selected Grazing Terms

  • Major Benefits of Improved Grazing Management

  • Key Concepts Regarding Hay Storage

  • Sampling Forage for Laboratory Nutritive Analysis

  • Key Facts About Soil pH and Lime 26

Nutrition Management and Feeding

  • Use of Intake Limiters

  • What to Look for in a Mineral Supplement

  • Predicting Intake

  • Typical Weaning and Preconditioning Diets

  • Feeder Space

  • Commodity Sheds

  • Body Condition Scores

  • Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle

Herd Health

  • Health Management

  • Bovine Immunization Guidelines

  • Understanding Protection Claims on Vaccine Labels

  • Cattle Parasites

  • Growth-Stimulating Implants

  • Annual Cow Evaluation: “Seven Quality Checks”

  • Determining the Age of Cattle

  • Biosecurity (Biological Risk Management)

  • Your Veterinarian’s Role in Herd Health

  • Understanding, Storing, and Administering Drugs

  • Livestock Carcass Disposal

Animal Identification, Performance Records, and Genetics

  • Beef Cattle Breeds

  • Beef Cattle Identification

  • Conformation of Beef Cattle

  • Measures of Performance

  • Frame Scores of Cattle

Reproductive Management

  • Control of Reproduction

  • Normal Estrous Cycle

  • Developing Replacement Heifers From Weaning to Breeding

  • Estrus Synchronization Programs

  • Timing of Artificial Insemination for Maximum Conception

  • Parturition (Calving)

  • Reproductive Tract Prolapses

  • Retained Placenta

  • Reproductive Measurements

  • General Causes of Poor Reproductive Performance

  • Fundamental Ingredients for Improving the Reproductive Performance of Your Beef Herd

  • Breeding Soundness Evaluation

Management and Marketing Economics

  • Beef Cattle Economics

  • Beef Enterprise Investment Cost

  • Cow-Calf Budget, Raised Replacements

  • Potential Beef Cattle Market Products for a Commercial Cow-Calf Operation

  • Feeder Cattle Market Alternatives

  • Seasonal Feeder Steer Price Indices

  • Price Distribution of Feeder Steers

  • Annual Payments (Principal and Interest) Required to Amortize a $1,000 Loan

  • Beef Enterprise Financial Strength/Weakness Measures

Meat Yield, Quality, and Value

  • Requirements Prior to Slaughter

  • Dressing and Dressing Percentage

  • USDA Quality and Yield Grading

  • Basic Fabrication of a Beef Carcass

  • Value-Based Pricing of Meat

Environmental Stewardship

  • Environmental Stewardship in Beef Cattle Production


  • Appendix A. Livestock Markets

  • Appendix B. State of Alabama Resources

  • Appendix C. Beef Cattle Breeds

  • Appendix D. Comparison of Common Fences

  • Appendix E. Fence Post Characteristics

  • Appendix F. Life Expectancy of Wood Posts

  • Appendix G. Recommended Post Spacings

  • Appendix H. Suggested Wire Spacing for Permanent or Temporary Electric Fences

  • Appendix I. Size and Space Requirements for Cattle Handling and Working Facilities

  • Appendix J. Minimum Trailer Space Requirement for Hauling Cattle

  • Appendix K. Reducing Stress During Handling

  • Appendix L. Tips for Managing Shrink

  • Appendix M. Cause of Shrink During Processing and Transporting

  • Appendix N. Standard Measurements

  • Appendix O. Fahrenheit/Celsius Conversions

  • Appendix P. 283-Day Gestation Table

New, January 2008. For more information, call your county Extension office. Look in your telephone directory under your county’s name to find the number.

Trade names are used only to give specific information. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System does not endorse or guarantee any product and does not recommend one product instead of another that might be similar.
Trade and brand names used in this publication are given for information purposes only. No guarantee, endorsement, or discrimination among comparable products is intended or implied by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

For more information, contact your county Extension office. Visit or look in your telephone directory under your county's name to find contact information.

Published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), an equal opportunity educator and employer.

If you have problems loading this document, please email for assistance.

Publications Homepage | ACES Homepage