Ag Experience Insider- Duxbury Beef

Hear from Shannon Duxbury how cattle and science go hand-in-hand at Duxbury Beef in order to maximize their use of resources while feeding a growing population.

It’s Embryo Day!

By Shannon Duxbury

One of my favorite days of the year arrived!

On Wednesday, June 21st, we put 170 embryos into recipient (surrogate) cows for March 2024 calves. Something that is maybe unknown about the cattle industry is that we always think in 3-year increments. It takes 9 months for a calf to gestate in a cow and another 14-18 months to grow that animal to a place where it could be processed.

On the breeding side, heifers (young females) don’t typically have their first calf until 24 months and bulls don’t reach sexual maturity until 15-18 months. Everything is very meticulously planned with the future in mind.

It also means that producers must forecast their needs/demand 3 years in advance. 

Here’s What We Do

At Duxbury Beef, we believe in having a diversified operation.

However, we aren’t necessarily diversified between crops and cattle. We diversify with our cattle.

Every year, we dedicate part of our herd to recipient cows. A recipient cow (recip) is very similar to a surrogate. We implant embryos from other producers into those recips, and we produce a live calf that is delivered to its original owner after weaning.

This allows producers to create more calves per year even if they may not have a herd big enough to do it on their own. We end up getting the ability to produce calves for clients and create a different revenue stream, while producing beef for Duxbury Beef with our herd bulls.

The success of pregnancy via embryo transfer in cattle is roughly 60%. That means, we can always guarantee that we will continually fill our new Duxbury Beef animals, even while pursuing this other avenue. 


The Bottom Line Is This 

Everything in the cattle industry is cyclical and everything has a purpose.

Every cattle producer you may encounter has a reason they do everything on their ranch.

Behind those reasons are countless hours of blood, sweat and tears.Dale has used every bit of his 63 years of experience to influence the decisions he makes on the ranch, and every day, there is an opportunity to learn something new. The agriculture industry is changing at a rapid pace every day. Congruently, we increase the amount of people we need to feed at a rapid pace.

Farmers and ranchers are constantly thinking about how they will make their operation efficient and adapt to the changes of the industry. It is not always easy. It is not always fun, but it is ALWAYS worth it.