Cow Efficiency Congress to be held in North Dakota

American Aberdeen Association

North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Research Extension Center will host the first World Cattlemen’s Cow Efficiency Congress in Dickinson, N.D., Sept. 1-3. The Congress will focus on helping cattlemen identify factors affecting cowherd efficiency and ranch profitability.

“When cattlemen select for maximum frame and weight, the cowherd loses efficiency, which reduces a cowman’s ability to make the most profit per acre,” said Bismarck cattleman Neil Effertz. Since he started selectively breeding for a more moderate cow size in 1996, the North Dakota rancher has doubled his stocking rate, increased his market price per pound and lowered herd expenses. “Numerous research studies have shown that if we shifted the paradigm in the cattle industry back to a more optimal cow size, many cattlemen could realize greater net revenues.”

The World Cattlemen’s Cow Efficiency Congress will feature presentations from leading university researchers who have studied keys to profitability in the cattle industry. The program kicks off Friday, Sept. 1 with a discussion centered around cow efficiency, economics and rebranding strategies. After the lively discussion, the evening will conclude with a meal at the Medora Pitchfork Fondue. This nationally acclaimed restaurant overlooking the North Dakota Badlands has been featured on The Food Network. The night ends at the Medora Musical at the Burning Hills Amphitheater.

Saturday’s program will feature a Type Conference on “How to Select Efficient Cows,” led by Dr. Clint Rusk, Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department head. The NDSU team of Dr. Lauren Hulsman Hanna, assistant professor, and Dr. Kendall Swanson, professor, will speak about the effects of frame size on efficiency and longevity.

Dr. David Lalman, OSU professor and Extension beef cattle specialist, will be the keynote speaker. Lalman will discuss matching cow types to your environment.

The conference will include a pasture tour of Dickinson Research Extension Center aboard horse-drawn wagons. Dr. Kris Ringwall, center director, will talk about how cow size relates to herd and feedlot performance. Dr. Robert Maddock, NDSU associate professor, will discuss the impact of cow size and frame on carcass endpoints.

Saturday evening will conclude with a ranch tour and meal at nearby Shetler Cattle Co. Presentations will be given on soil health and water infiltration. Nationally known cowboy poet Rodney Nelson will also perform.

The Congress wraps up Sunday, Sept. 3 with a cattle photography workshop led by Tracey Koester of Cow Camp Promotions and a choice of either a scramble golf tournament or a tour of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the historic town of Medora.

Registration for the entire program is $150 if registered before Aug. 20 when the price will be $175. A Saturday pass is available for $75. For more information about the World Cattlemen’s Cow Efficiency Congress or to register, visit