Criteria for constituting groups of grazing cows in Limousin and Charolais cattle herds.
In herds of French beef cattle, breeding cows are assigned to batches with different nutritional requirements. A survey of 81 farms indicated that farmers used a range of criteria to assign cows to batches: calving date, type of bull to which the cows are to be mated, culling (some batches comprise cows destined for culling), age, calf sex, qualitative traits (such as conformation and ease of calving), drying off, selection for sale, selection as breeding replacements, batch size; and a miscellaneous group of less frequently used criteria. For batches assigned during winter, the physiological state of the cows was the main batching criterion. In making up batches of cows to be turned out to grass, many of the criteria were used simultaneously. Batches made up on the basis of several criteria had a longer duration than batches made up on the basis of a single criterion.