Birthweights

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Bright Raven

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My birthweights average about 15 to 20 pounds higher than Fire Sweep Simmental Ranch on similar matings. For example, Hook's Broadway will throw calves here that average about 110 pounds. Remember, he has a CE OF 4.1!!! The Broadway calves delivered at Fire Sweep have averaged about 80 pounds. In fact, I am not using him in the future. I am trading her a cane of 7 straws for a cane of 9 Grandmaster straws.

Fire Sweep manages under much higher endophyte toxin levels in her forage than I do. Her stocking rate is probably 3 times higher than mine. My pastures have more diversity and probably more clovers. Plus, my cows ARE BIGGER cows on average.

However, I was told last week by a person here in Kentucky who attended the Boyd Sale that he does not believe forage will account for that much difference in birthweight. I will not name him because someone is sure to call him out and his job is sensitive enough that I don't feel comfortable putting him in that position.

Note: Fire Sweep and I both weigh our calves at birth. She uses a scales in the chute. I use a bathroom scales. I have calibrated my method several times. First, I know what my weight is. I have a bathroom scales in the house and the two scales give the same weight. Second, if I use my method with a 50 pound sack of beef feed, I get an accurate weight. Third, I have a platform that I place on the ground to place the scales on that provides a solid support.

The question is: what is causing the difference in weight if my friend is correct that diet cannot account for that much difference in weight?
 

lithuanian farmer

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The size of the cow often plays a role too. Have noticed that often big cows have bigger calves.
However, feed is one of the biggest factor. For example, have two neighbours, raising mainly dairy cows, but have a couple beefx too. One has a good feed and don't restrict it at all during winter before calving. Another keeps a very simple diet of hay. Both use AI, the same bulls too. The first most of the time has pretty big calves and often has to assist. Uses Simmental, Angus, sometimes Belgian blue, and mostly dairy sires. Two c-sections in the past two years, one dairy calf and one angusx calf. The second farmer rarely has any trouble calving, used Belgian blue on heifers without problems, and had a calving which required c-section only once, when he used BB on a beefx heifer of a certain breed, which should probably never be crossed with BB.
Have seen newborn calves of the first farmer last winter and they all easily were 100-110lbs...
 

sim.-ang.king

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The more you feed them, the more they grow. Doesn't matter if they're born yet or not. Get your cows thinned down, and I bet you will see a difference.
 

True Grit Farms

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Bright Raven":2b7jdb2i said:
My birthweights average about 15 to 20 pounds higher than Fire Sweep Simmental Ranch on similar matings. For example, Hook's Broadway will throw calves here that average about 110 pounds. Remember, he has a CE OF 4.1!!! The Broadway calves delivered at Fire Sweep have averaged about 80 pounds. In fact, I am not using him in the future. I am trading her a cane of 7 straws for a cane of 9 Grandmaster straws.

Fire Sweep manages under much higher endophyte toxin levels in her forage than I do. Her stocking rate is probably 3 times higher than mine. My pastures have more diversity and probably more clovers. Plus, my cows ARE BIGGER cows on average.

However, I was told last week by a person here in Kentucky who attended the Boyd Sale that he does not believe forage will account for that much difference in birthweight. I will not name him because someone is sure to call him out and his job is sensitive enough that I don't feel comfortable putting him in that position.

Note: Fire Sweep and I both weigh our calves at birth. She uses a scales in the chute. I use a bathroom scales. I have calibrated my method several times. First, I know what my weight is. I have a bathroom scales in the house and the two scales give the same weight. Second, if I use my method with a 50 pound sack of beef feed, I get an accurate weight. Third, I have a platform that I place on the ground to place the scales on that provides a solid support.

The question is: what is causing the difference in weight if my friend is correct that diet cannot account for that much difference in weight?
I think it's a combination of both cow and diet. A cow on good pasture or feed will put some weight on a fetus, there's many studies to back this up, pry around on some of the university beef sites.
At least you don't calve in the spring, that would be add another 10+ lbs of birthweight. When you breed two big animals together more times than not you have big offspring. You have always bred that way and maybe it's catching up with you? Fact is you don't have a problem, it's the commercial cattleman that ends up with one of your bulls that's going to have the problem or problems. BW weight is hereditary, CE is not. IMO
 

Till-Hill

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I'm saying feed yes and lack of exercise on them lush pasture with water access very easy? Try fencing off some water and making them cows walk them hills some next year!
 

NEFarmwife

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I commented on higher BW's this past winter. We saw a dramatic increase. Some stated that cold weather will do this and it was "colder" for longer than normal. So I understand.

However, I believe that all our corn on the ground when they went to stalks was a very reasonable assumption for excessively large calves. We lost a lot of ears of corn last harvest due to high winds/downed stalks. We took them off stalks directly to calving.
 
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Bright Raven

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Till-Hill":2kpvp8uj said:
I'm saying feed yes and lack of exercise on them lush pasture with water access very easy? Try fencing off some water and making them cows walk them hills some next year!

I think that exercise is a factor. My cows can go to the back of the farm where the creek runs all year and never have to do much more than lay around.
 
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Bright Raven

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True Grit Farms":2gjphhh2 said:
When you breed two big animals together more times than not you have big offspring. You have always bred that way and maybe it's catching up with you?

No problems so far with the bulls from here that are out producing calves. I do cull bulls that are over 100 pounds. The bulls here have good EPDs for CE and BW. You are right on Broadway about "breeding two big animals" but most of the matings don't fit that characterization. In fact, most of the bulls I use are smaller framed - Cowboy Cut, Elevate, Uno Mas, 1143Y, Grandmaster, etc. The ones that caused my birthweight average to move higher are the Broadways, Upgrades, etc.

My birthweight trend with Fire Sweep's help has been going down the last 2 years. Now this year, it went back up. Maybe it was the colder, longer than normal winter. To address this year's trend, I am dropping Broadway totally from my lineup and limiting Upgrade.
 

lithuanian farmer

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Bright Raven":1e6defpb said:
Till-Hill":1e6defpb said:
I'm saying feed yes and lack of exercise on them lush pasture with water access very easy? Try fencing off some water and making them cows walk them hills some next year!

I think that exercise is a factor. My cows can go to the back of the farm where the creek runs all year and never have to do much more than lay around.
Ours walk quite alot for the whole year, kept outside during winter, feed, water and shed are in different spots, hills everywhere, but we still have pretty high birth weights. And they almost never get fat, even sometimes some get on a more skinnier side. The time of the year seems to affect birth weights here too. From November up to ~April we have bigger calves.
 

Son of Butch

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True Grit Farms":1ulrdzyu said:
BW weight is hereditary, CE is not. IMO
While it is true BW is 2.4 times more heritable than CE
There is a 65% correlation between birth weight and calving ease.

The 4 most heritable traits
1. Stature
2. Scrotal Circumference
3. Marbling
4. Birth Weight
Carcass Weight and Docility are tied for 5th at .44 heritable

The 3 least heritable traits
Milk
Heifer Pregnancy
Calving Ease

Source: AAA
 

Nesikep

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My cows aren't FAT, and they have heavy calves.. Heifers usually have 80ish lb calves, mature cows usually low 100's except for the really big cows.. they will do 130-140 every time.
I don't feed them a whole lot during the winter, and often not great quality hay.. usually a first cut which has lots of grass, it's not free choice feed, if they leave any leftovers they'll get short changed the next feeding until they clean things up
Once they calf they get better hay of course and I'm not as strict on cleaning up leftovers!

One of the monsters


 
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Bright Raven

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About the middle of September, I hired a local producer to bring his tractor and manure spreader to spread my manure. He is one of the larger producers in our county. He has a large commercial herd of mostly Angus influenced cows. He does not and has never weighed his calves. He looked at about 6 of my calves that had been delivered up to that date. I told him the birthweight of each calf. He said the weights I gave were heavier than what he would have guessed. He said his calves look to be about the same size as the calves I had on the ground.

I often wonder if calves are bigger than what many of us think. Not being naive, We all know some folks estimate calf weights for registration and only put down what looks good. I wonder how many bulls out there were over 100 pounds that says 95 on the registration?
 

Franke

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I would call our winter not too bad this past year. We had 13 bulls born ET or AI in 13 days in March this year and averaged 98.85 pounds. It is a little disheartening to cut some of these guys here in a month or so. But our cows get fed very well over winter and are pretty sheltered where they winter. Our later born April bulls were smaller but different bull that year in year out has smaller calves. We used Built Right, Style, Cash Flow, Commander, Amen, and All That Matters.
 

Till-Hill

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Bright Raven":zjgc1my8 said:
About the middle of September, I hired a local producer to bring his tractor and manure spreader to spread my manure. He is one of the larger producers in our county. He has a large commercial herd of mostly Angus influenced cows. He does not and has never weighed his calves. He looked at about 6 of my calves that had been delivered up to that date. I told him the birthweight of each calf. He said the weights I gave were heavier than what he would have guessed. He said his calves look to be about the same size as the calves I had on the ground.

I often wonder if calves are bigger than what many of us think. Not being naive, We all know some folks estimate calf weights for registration and only put down what looks good. I wonder how many bulls out there were over 100 pounds that says 95 on the registration?
Most commercial guys have no idea what their birthweights are. Buddy mine bought a group of Angus heifers from a reputation set. He thought all the calves were 60# runts. They were all over 90 with a few at a 100# from a well know calving ease Angus bull.
 
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Bright Raven

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Franke":19ahxo0r said:
I would call our winter not too bad this past year. We had 13 bulls born ET or AI in 13 days in March this year and averaged 98.85 pounds. It is a little disheartening to cut some of these guys here in a month or so. But our cows get fed very well over winter and are pretty sheltered where they winter. Our later born April bulls were smaller but different bull that year in year out has smaller calves. We used Built Right, Style, Cash Flow, Commander, Amen, and All That Matters.

I thought my average was high so far!!! 98.85 is 10 pounds higher than mine. I feel a lot more normal now.
 

76 Bar

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Most commercial guys have no idea what their birthweights are.
Totally agree. After 40 years experience I never cease to be amazed how often I'm still off in my guestimate prior to their official scale wt.
 

Till-Hill

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76 Bar":2darjos8 said:
Most commercial guys have no idea what their birthweights are.
Totally agree. After 40 years experience I never cease to be amazed how often I'm still off in my guestimate prior to their official scale wt.
Even picking them up you grunt some and are like holy smokes here is a 90# stud, nope hung at a 76# average calf on scale
 

Midtenn

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Did your final broadway calf come yet? The one who was several days past due
 

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