Whole Herd Reporting Facts and Tips

written by: Matt Woolfolk, ASA Director of Performance Programs

The end of October through the month of November is as jam-packed a time-frame as you will find on the Shorthorn calendar. The American Royal, North American, ASA Annual Meeting, and several Shorthorn sales all occur in a 5 week window this fall; and of course there is always Thanksgiving on the November agenda. With plenty of events across the country still to attend, I hope to see many of you somewhere on the road between now and the end of the year.

It’s certainly hard to think about next year right now, but if you are able to plan ahead, it could be beneficial to you when it comes time to register your 2020 calf crop with the ASA Whole Herd Reporting (WHR) program. Some of the most common questions that we get in the office on an almost daily basis relate to the WHR program. With WHR inventories being mailed out soon, I will take the opportunity to highlight the WHR process and timeline.

Your 2020 WHR inventories will be mailed the first of November. The WHR inventory is where you will account for all active breeding females in your herd and remove any cows that have left your place over the past year. There are two ways to complete your WHR for 2020. You can fill out the paper form you receive and mail it back to ASA with payment, or you can log in to your Digital Beef account and do your assessments there; as well as settle your balance by credit card while on Digital Beef. It is important when removing cows from your inventory to use as accurate of a disposal code as possible. Check the list of disposal codes when updating your inventory to indicate the reason for her removal from the herd (Death, sold for old age, fertility issues, etc.). The disposal codes will be printed with your inventory or available as the drop down menu from the “Dispose/Exempt” button if you choose to do your assessments on the computer.

Yearling heifers that are not going to calve in 2020 do not have to be included on the WHR assessment inventory. To exempt those heifers from your inventory, use the code number 51 “Active-WHR Exempt, Shorthorn heifer held from breeding”. Doing it this way will keep those heifers active so you can do a WHR assessment on them when they have that first calf in 2021. If there is a heifer listed on your inventory that has been culled and will not calve in your herd in 2021, use the proper disposal code to permanently remove her from your account.

The fee for a WHR assessment on a breeding female is $20. If you get your assessments completed before January 10, a $4 per head discount is applied, making the assessment fee $16 per breeding female. From January 10 to March 1, the $20 per head rate applies.

After March 1 through the remainder of the 2020 calendar year, the WHR assessment fee is $25 per breeding female. When you do your WHR assessments for your herd, that fee gives you some value on each of your breeding females. The registration of her calf is included in that WHR assessment fee, as well as covering the first transfer of that calf after you sell it. The WHR assessment only covers the first transfer of the calf, and any future transfers of that animal will be charged to the seller.

While it’s not the typical holiday season activity, getting your WHR assessments done before the early January cutoff is worth the time to complete it in exchange for your peace of mind and break on your wallet when it comes time to start registering calves. Being up to date on WHR will bring one less headache to the calf registration process. The monetary savings of getting ahead of the curve on completing the WHR for 2020 are also noteworthy. We all love saving a little money!

If I am not lucky enough to run into you this month, I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Thanksgiving. Even in the tough economic times we are facing in production agriculture, we still have plenty of blessings from the Lord above. Enjoy the time with those that you care about, and I hope you make sure there is beef on the menu!

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