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Make Progress By Culling Mares



Do you have trouble parting with anything? If so, your attic and garage probably show it.

Some broodmare owners also fit this category. It is difficult for them to cull broodmares.

Currently, horse prices are good. So, you may be complacent and keep mares that are not good producers. The results could be some mares are producing lower-quality, non-profitable foals.

Culling broodmares should not be viewed as a negative management decision. In fact, it is the opposite. It has a positive and lasting affect on the genetic value of the herd.

To make genetic progress you must cull from the bottom, and replace culled mares with mares of higher genetic value.

The average value for those six mares in 67.5. If mare B is culled and a new mare with genetic value of 75 replaces her, now the herd average is now 71. That may not seem like a major change. But genetic improvement is permanent.

Other factors, such as reproductive ability, may also be considered. In the final culling decision. Mares older than 16-years of age have a sharp decline in their reproductive ability to produce foals. Often, older mares that produced high-quality foals several years ago are kept far beyond their reasonable reproductive age. Culling poor reproducing mares will result in more foals for sale.

Often a dry summer and a limited winter hay supply may force one to reduce the number of broodmares. Certainly in such decisions, one needs to make wise choices based on genetic goals and culling criteria. Open mares, especially those at the bottom or middle of a culling index, should strongly be considered for culling.

Culling usually will also have a positive economic impact. Prudent selection of replacement mares with better genetic potential should result in higher selling foals. It costs the same to feed a good mare that produces a profitable foal as a poor producing mare that has lower-quality, non-profitable foals.

Successful breeders are those who have high-quality broodmares and constantly cull them to keep making genetic progress. This genetic improvement aids their herd, impacts the breed and positively influences their bottom line.

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