Calving Season Lori R. Puryear Robyn D. Whittington
Calving Season • What is a calving season? • Why should I have a calving season? • How do I convert to a calving season?
What is a calving season? • Developing specific predertermined strategies on when to begin and end the breeding season. • Length of breeding season varies according to marketing objective, size of operation and personal preference.
A Few Numbers • 70% of cow calf producers in the southeast still calve year round • Of the 30% that have a calving season • 75% calve in late winter/spring • 25% calve in fall
Why should I have a calving season? • Nutrient requirements of cows is more easily fulfilled • Cows can be more easily observed for calving difficulties • Calf crop is more uniform for marketing purposes • Improved time and labor management • Easier identification of reproductively unsound cows
Nutrient requirements • Vary within the herd due to phase of lactation and reproductive state • Grouping may be necessary • Heifers • Cows • Feeding cattle according to their nutritional needs reduces costs associated with wasted feed and delayed puberty
Calving Difficulty • Allows for more intense observation of cows during calving • Failure to identify calving difficulties can result in loss of calf and/or cow. • Especially important in first calf heifers Controlled Breeding results in Controlled Calving: Once the calving season ends the producer can focus on other needs of the herd
Uniformity • A calving season allows for more uniform calves which improves: • Marketing • Management
Time & Labor Management Year round calving results in year round calf processing and missed profits.
Time & Labor Management • Vaccinations • Castrations • Dehorning • Deworming & Fly tags • Weaning • Record Keeping • Implants
Time & Labor Management Year round calving causes lower prices due to: • variability in the calf crop • discounts caused by missed management practices
ID of Reproductive Problems • Open cows • Calving intervals • Dystocia • Mastitis/Udder Problems • Uterine infections/Prolapses
How do I convert to a calving season? • 3-4 year process • Set target breeding/calving dates • Pay careful attention to potential culling • May consider split calving seasons • Have a plan!
How do I convert to a calving season? First Year 1: Build a good, strong bull pen. 2: Remove bull from herd. 3: Pregnancy check all cows. Cull: a: All open breeding-age females b: All open cows with calves 5 months of age or older 4:Place bull with cows for 6 months. 5:Breed Replacement heifers 3 to 4 weeks ahead of the final long-range planned breeding. Second Year 1.Follow all previous steps except leave bull with cows for 4½ months. Third Year 1:Follow all previous steps except leave bull with cows for 80 to 90 days. Cull: a: All open cows regardless of age of their calves. 2:The breeding season may be reduced even further in following years.