Choose a Calving Date That Grows Good Calves With Low Inputs

Thanks to Chip for sharing this excerpt from his new boo

All the grazing management tips you need

Subscribe to read this article and over 2,500 more!

Subscribe today!

If you're already a subscriber, log in here.

8 thoughts on “Choose a Calving Date That Grows Good Calves With Low Inputs

  1. Reading this very interesting article from Australia and wondering if any planned grazers from this hemisphere have any thoughts in relation to later spring calving?

  2. Before you believe it is all sunshine and rainbows, a couple of questions. Do you rotational graze? Do you cross fence with a strand or two of hot wire? If no, ignore these comments. If yes, consider a newborn calf will cross a hot wire ONCE. He will not return on his own. If he does not get up and nurse he will lay down and die. And you may have trouble finding the buggers in tall grass. If your cross fence is calf proof, you’ll have no issues. Also, cows anticipate moving to new grass, while calves don’t have a clue what you are doing. If you have a six week calving season and move cows once per week, you will have six occasions to move new calves who have no idea what to do or where to go, and the cows will be moved with their heads down grazing, and not much help to you. We start April 15 to have most calved before starting the rotation, and my first two paddocks are big, will last me two weeks each. First move was today, took 2 minutes to move 100 cows, 25 minutes to move the last two calves. Can’t leave any behind! The next one will be easier.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Curious what kind of wire you’re using? I do manage the grazing, moving every one to three days depending on the location for water and the paddock configuration. I’m still using a temporary polywire system. The charge on the line(s) (one or two usually) ranges from 3kV to 7kV. Thankfully, I haven’t had the problem with newborn calves you describe. This is my 3rd calving season, and the calves keep up with their mamas. A couple times the mama of a newborn has stayed in the old paddock with the newborn. When mama is ready, I’ll get them caught up with the herd. The older calves often creep graze under the polywire. I put the bull in on Jun 1 the last two years. I’m going to try Jun 15 this year, but I’d really like to wait until July if the heat isn’t an issue. Thanks again for replying!

      1. Using single-strand Gallagher ringtop posts & polywire and moving daily all through calving, second year, herd is around 50 cows. We have never yet had an issue or lost a calf this way. We often find very young ones bedded across the wire, but they come back in to nurse. The calves tend to cross freely under the cross fence for the first few weeks while they’re small enough; we don’t stress about it. Once in a while a day-old calf gets left behind on a long move across the farm — we just throw it in the calf cart when we’re finished moving the rest. Most of the time even a day-old keeps up with the herd no problem!

        In fact, the only ‘day-old though the fence, over the hill and gone’ issue we’ve had was through a 5-strand barbed wire fence, but luckily we found the bugger alive after a half day searching with the dogs.

      2. I use two strand high tensile wire, top wire hot only, on wood and steel posts. 5-7kv is the goal. Some of my moves are 1/4 mile, so allowing them to find each other is not an option for me. I have had calves hunker down 75 feet from the dam and not attempt a second crossing. Putting a switch on the bottom wire and leaving it off until later in the season helps, but vigilance is still necessary for the new ones.

  3. Thanks for this article. I’m a beginning farmer on the steep end of the learning curve. Where I live in northeast Oklahoma, to calve after the cows have been on spring grass about 30 days, I’d want my herd to calve in early to mid May. That gives me a breeding window between Jul 23 to Aug 30 if I follow the recommended 42 day breeding window. I’ve been cautioned by local herd managers that breeding during that hottest part of the year could result in decreased fertility & have found articles that back that up. Curious if anyone has insight on what folks in this situation are doing? The other farmers I know are calving in March. I’m working on improving my winter grasses, but my herd sure looks better right now (May 20 than they did in March.) I looked up the Whitetail Deer gestation rate. It ranged from 198 to 205 days in various sources. This shorter gestation rate allows the deer to breed in the fall (mid Oct thru Nov) when temps have cooled & still calve in May & June. So–what’s the decision driver for cattle–breeding date for heat issues or calving date for nutrition issues? Many thanks for any thoughts folks have time to share.

  4. I heard Dick Divens presentation many years ago, and moved from mar/april to May/June calving.

    My first calves just started arriving this week. The cow herd has had about 4 weeks of great quality spring grass to eat and put some body condition back on after winter. Peak lactation when intake demands also peaks will occur during our forage peak in June, our cheapest forage of the year. Ground temps are warm, paddocks are clean.

    What could be simpler, calving shouldn’t be stressful.

    Kris Ringwall, NDSU Beef Specialist at Dickinson has a great series of posts on their move to late spring calving and the economic success it has meant.

Comments are closed.

Translate »