The 2018 CHAPS Data (Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software) was recently released by North Dakota State University Extension.

This software package provides benchmark performance measures to the producers enrolled in the program, representing approximately 88,000 cows.

In 2018 the herds participating averaged 261 cows exposed, had a 93.7% conception rate, a 93.1% calving rate and a 91% wean rate.

Other notable information from the 2018 report include: 63.2% of the cows calving in the 1st 21 days, 87.6% in 1st 42 days and 96.1% in the 1st 63 days of the calving season. Additionally, the calves were weaned at 193 days of age and averaged 502 pounds per cow exposed.

The cows averaged 5.6 years of age, and the operations had a 14.9% replacement percentage and a 13.2% culling percentage. The table below provides a summary of the NDSU Extension CHAPS numbers.

Manage What You Measure

So what do these numbers mean to you? The adage of “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” comes to mind. These producers know not only what their production numbers are, but can compare them to similar operations to determine if they need to improve on some area of their operation.

Get Started

“There’s no time like the present” is another adage that fits today’s situation. While some cattlemen may have already weaned, many more herds will be weaning in the next 60 days.

The first step is to count the numbers of calves weaned and weigh them. If individual weights cannot be attained, load weights can help determine an average.

A look through 2018 calving data and 2017 breeding data will provide information on the number of cows exposed, calved and weaned.

From there a little bit of math will determine the percentages and weights.

While these numbers alone will not tell a lot, an accumulation of numbers over time will help you look at trends within your herd. The trends provide an opportunity to evaluate areas for improvement that could lead to improvement in the profitability of your operation.

What Kind of Changes?

Changes to the operation can then be evaluated. Are the numbers leading to a profitable business operation? Are the production and financial goals of the operation being met? The change an operation makes depend on the answers to these questions.

Examples of change may include: changes in the number of bulls utilized or synchronization protocols to improve pregnancy percentages or shorten the calving season, maybe a different vaccination or mineral program improve calving percentages, and looking at facilities, labor, date of calving, dystocia occurrences and reasons for summer death loss can all be considered to make improvements to weaning percentages.

Work on your numbers. Compare to known benchmarks. Make changes that improve your profitability.

2018 CHAPS
Production Benchmarks
Number exposed 261 cows
Average cow age 5.6 years
Pregnancy percentage 93.7%
Calving percentage 93.1%
Weaning percentage 91.0%
Calving 1st 21 days 63.2%
Calving 1st 42 days 87.6%
Calving 1st 63 days 96.1%
Average weaning age 193 days
Average weaning weight 557 lbs.
Average frame score 5.2
Weight gain per day 2.9 lbs.
Pounds weaned per cow exposed 502 lbs.
Replacement percentage 14.9%
Culling percentage 13.2%

Source: South Dakota State University iGrow