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Comparing Spring and Fall Calving Seasons

Comparing Spring and Fall Calving Seasons

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Comparing Spring and Fall Calving Seasons

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  1. Comparing Spring and Fall Calving Seasons 2007 Agricultural and Natural Resources Update for Agents October 23, 2007 John Johns – Animal Sciences Lee Meyer – Agricultural Economics

  2. Focus: • Which calving season is best for our farmers and how they should decide and, • Which system is best for which type of farmers? (i.e. there may not be a general, fit all, recommendation)

  3. Info Needed for Making Good Decisions: • Price Patterns • Differences in Production Costs • The “comfort” factor • Winter feeding costs • Health Issues • Moving cows between seasons

  4. Issues for Discussion: • Increasing number of fall herds in Kentucky – Why? • Risk – what about drought years? • Small vs. larger operations, • one herd – spring OR fall vs. • Two herds – spring AND fall • Non-traditional (not hay-based) feeding programs • Extending ownership past weaning

  5. Surveys show the months that most calves are born in Kentucky are February, March, April and September, October and November.Twice as many calves are born in the spring months.Why? Background

  6. Spring Calving - Advantages • Summer grazing costs are lower • Winter feeding – dry cows • less supplemental feed needed • easy • Less overall, year-round management

  7. Spring Calving - Disadvantages • Weather • Mud • Cold Rain • Ice • Market Discounts • Selling in the Fall • Fescue pastures for rebreeding and calf growth

  8. The alternative - Fall calving and Spring Weaning Pros and Cons to Consider: • Feeding lactating cows during the winter • Productivity differences from a spring calving herd • Marketing/grazing options • Giving open cows a 2nd chance • Doubling bull use

  9. Season of birth, calf birth weight and % calving difficulty

  10. Calving Season, Calf Loss and Cow Conception

  11. Season of Birth and Calf Weaning Weight

  12. Season of Birth and Calf Actual Weaning Weight

  13. Season of Birth and Calf Performance

  14. Fall Calving Summary • More calves to sell • Decreased weaning weights • Increased sale weights • Improved markets • Increased nutrient demand • Increased ration quality and amount

  15. January Rations For Fall or Spring Calving Cows, lbs/cow/day

  16. Season of birth and cow hay intake

  17. Seasonal Price Index – Kentucky Feeder Steer Prices Yr. Avg.

  18. Seasonal Price Index – Ky. Feeder Steer Prices (1995-04)

  19. Seasonal Price Index – Kentucky Feeder Heifer Prices 1995 - 2004 Yr. Avg.

  20. Seasonal Price Index – Ky. Feeder Heifer Prices (1995-04)

  21. Feeder Steer Prices500 -600 lb. M#1 Ky. Avg.

  22. Feeder Steer Prices700 - 800 lb. M#1 Ky. Avg.

  23. Spring vs. Fall BudgetsSpring 3/1; Fall 9/1; sell at 240 days Budgets: www.uky.edu/Ag/AgEcon/pubs/software/budgets_livestock.html

  24. Spring vs. Fall BudgetsSpring 3/1; Fall 9/1; sell at 240 days

  25. Economics of Weaning Weights • Research is not clear on differences in weaning weights; • Fall is lower on 205 day basis • Practical outcome is that weaning weights are probably the same at 8 mo. weaning age • Sensitivity Analysis • The breakeven point is a 25 lb. lower weaning weight for fall calving

  26. Other Economic Considerations • Extend ownership in the spring on fall-born calves – adds $40 - $60/hd. • Consider alternative feed ration to reduce winter feeding cost • Utilize stockpiled fescue to reduce feeding cost

  27. Conclusions and Practicalities • Fall calving may be a good option for the single bull herd; • Close enough that larger herds may benefit from spring and fall herds; • And …