Sand Mountain Elite Heifer Development Program

AUBURN, Ala. —The Sand Mountain Elite Heifer Development Program is an educational program designed for northeast Alabama cattle producers who are interested in growth and development of replacement heifers for their operations. The heifers are developed at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center in Crossville, Alabama.

The Goal

Alabama Cooperative Regional Animal Science and Forages Extension agent, Landon Marks, and specialist, Kent Stanford, created the program to demonstrate a heifer development program that showcases the best management practices suggested for Alabama cow/calf producers.

“The goal of the Sand Mountain Elite Heifer Development Program is to develop replacement heifers in a forage-based system, utilizing proper animal husbandry and current technologies,” said Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson, Alabama Cooperative Regional Animal Science and Forages Extension specialist.

The program demonstrates management techniques that are necessary for replacement heifers to reach target weights and to be bred successfully, as well as proper development on Alabama forages.

How the Program Works

Northeast Alabama beef producers can bring three or more quality replacement heifers to the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center for development said Kriese-Anderson.

Heifers arrive in early January and must have been born before February 15th the year before. They will be returned to their owner in June weighing at least 65 percent of their mature weight and have been bred.

Each April the heifers are bred to a low birth weight proven AI sire using AI once. A clean-up bull is placed with the heifers 14 days after AI breeding.

Monthly reports are sent to the producers to keep the updated on their heifers.

The heifers are developed on cool-season grasses and winter foragesannualsforages and are supplemented with grass hay, commodity feed blend and mineral program when needed to maintain a minimum of 1.5 pounds per day gain.

Program preference is given to Nnortheast Alabama beef cow/calf producers.

“A maximum of 65 heifers can be consigned,” said Kriese-Anderson. “If 65 heifers are not consigned by Nnortheast producers, the program is opened up statewide.”

For more information on the rules and regulations of the program can be found here.

Looking to the Future

“We have not reached capacity yetare continuing to build the program,” said Kriese-Anderson. “We would like to have a few more heifers.”

Program developers would also like to grow winter annual forages when there is not a drought or abnormal winter weather. The weather the past two years have created challenges for forages.

The Sand Mountain Elite Heifer Development Program is a program developed for Nnortheast Alabama beef cow/calf producers to aide in the growth and development of the elite heifers from their herds.

For more information about the program contact Landon Marks, mlm0013@aces.edu, or Kent Stanford, stanfmk@aces.edu.

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