Bred cows on winter wheat

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S B Knap

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Nov 10, 2008
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Does any one run there spring calving cows on winter wheat? I havent previously but have some avalible. Would the cows get to fat/ calves get to big if they were rotated on and off a week or so at a time?
Curious to know how many people have successfully done this with out calving issues in the spring? Dont want to be pulling calves in the spring because of this. They are on corn stubble right now. Sure wish I had pot load of steers. Thanks   Scott
We haven't done it, but a neighbor pretty much runs his cattle on crop ground all winter/spring, rotating them from wheat to stalks. He has left them on wheat clear through the calving pasture and seems to get along fine. He does have most of the fields connected to pasture so they can go to grass and cover during bad weather and to calve. Are you talking triticale or just winter wheat?
I have bred cows on winter ryegrass almost every year. I'm not as convinced as some about the risks of having cows "healthy" going into calving. If there is a risk, it must be a small one. Perhaps the point that I have cows (instead of heifers) has a lot to do with it, and I tend to use low birth weight bulls to start off with (I'd rather have a small live calf, than a dead big one). I believe that a healthy cow a birth will rebreed back much quicker.

I've seen some practically starve cows going into calving with the thought that it would prevent calving difficulties. I think this is somewhat naive and risky.

Having said that I don't think I'd put a field full of pregnant heifers in ryegrass and have them obese pre-calving.
I dont have any calving heifers so that wouldnt be a problem. All my cows are between four and twelve years of age. I think I will rotate them on and off and just wont let them get to thick. I wont even put them on it till Jan at the earliest and graze it through the coldest of winter. Thanks Scott
Is this standing winter wheat headed out?

If so, the only real dangers are through the first few days, as cattle released onto standing crop will first strip the heads off and not eat much else besides the heads. Wheat is pretty hot feed, however its digestibility when not rolled or crushed is pretty poor, so I'm really not sure what they're going to take out of it. What I do know is that they will have bellies full of nothing but wheat and head chaff for a few days, so I'd watch them close. Then after that, they'll be eating nothing but wheat straw, so I don't think I'd do it right in the middle of winter (my winter may be quite a bit colder than yours though)

There are three rules to live by on grazing and calving pregnant cows on green wheat.
The first rule is "don't do it" and the second rule is "don't do it" anf the third and final reason which is the most important "don't do it".

That being said if you graze them and pull them off a month before calving then you would probably get by. In a fantasy land if you could graze them on a rotation with a stalk field it might work. I believe you would find that the cattle would beller and wait to get back on the wheat when you had rotated them off.
A test of steers on wheat and they were fed some dry crop residue and their rate of gain went up. The residue does not make them so washy and the wheat passes through their stomach slower thereby creating better gains
If you could put the pairs on the wheat a week after they calved you would have the biggeest calves you ever raised/

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