Concerns of switching herd from spring to fall

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rmredangus

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I was wondering if anyone knew the pros/cons to switching a herd. My concern is not having the cows cycling heavy when I put the bulls in, say Nov. 1. Will they cycle hard all summer, will they fall off after so many cycles? I usually leave the cows on an irrigated cool season pasture until mid Oct. with pretty good amount and quality. They then go to corn or milo stalks for the winter. I live in SE Neb. Should I try to synch the herd or a neighbor told me if I pull calves off a couple days before breeding would induce activity. I don't want to hold bulls out all summer and then miss some cycles when they do go in. I know by Dec. the bulls activity, might be slowing down with temp drop. Any ideas or opinions(good or ugly) would be apreciated.
 

msscamp

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Assuming all of your cows are breeders, they are going to cycle every month until they are bred - regardless.

What I don't understand is why would you want your cows calving in August when the grass is going to be hit by a hard freeze just about the time that the calves are ready to graze it? Your hay costs are going to go through the roof keeping cows and calves fed through the winter. Granted - hay costs are down this year, but this year has been unusual as far as rain fall is concerned. There is also the additional problem of the warmth of that time of year facilitating the spread of illness and disease. The only advantage that I can see to switching to a fall calving season is that your calves will be weaned and ready to sell in the spring vs the usual fall selling, but I suspect that that gain will be outweighed by the additional cost for hay, and the loss of calves due to illness/disease.
 

Angus Cowman

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The only disadvantage I see in switching the herd is you are maintaining that cow for 6 months longer and you will lose a sellable calf crop the next yr but if you can handle the loss of income for a 6-8 months then their shouldn't be a problem
as for fall calving I have been doing it exclusively for the last few yrs and I like it alot better and the prices when I sell are higher than selling calves in the fall
Also alot has to do where you are located as for what MS said I don't think in Wyoming it would be benefecial but here in Missouri I don't have a problem with it
I try to start calving the middle of august and be done by the middle of Oct. and turn bulls in around the 15th to 25th of Nov.
 

BRG

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In our situation, we have 3 calving seasons. Spring (March) Summer (May/June) Fall (Sept/Oct) with most of them in the summer bunch. We do calve this way for a few reasons.

Their are positives and negatives in the fall calving. I like it due to the fact that you simply don't loose any calves or have calving problems. This spring we had a death loss of around 10% due to the bad storms and the labor was crazy. As of today, we have 5 cows left and calved out around 70 fall cows this fall and haven't loss 1, while we only check them once after breakfast in the morning.

Another positive, in our area their is ussually a pretty good premium for grass type calves in May. These would fit that.

We wean ours in April and kick them on grass as soon as we can and leave them there until Mid September. This is easier and cheaper than feeding them every day.

Your weaning weights will be less, unless you give them some creep or something. The cows just don't milk quite as well since it is cold and they are grazing dead grass or eating hay. The main thing I don't like is, it is tougher to get the cows bred, at least in our area it can get quite cold when we are breeding. It is a little more expensive to feed them over the winter, but you can run a few more cows over the summer as they are dry.
 

ChrisB

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When I switched from spring to fall I just didn't put the bull in until Nov. 23rd. I didn't have any problems getting cows to settle.

I love fall calving. Much better weather than spring; bad weather in September and October is better than average weather in March and April. My calves go from weaning onto lush spring pasture and then into the feedlot in the fall instead of being in a lot for 12 months. I get better feeding weather when trying to finish them over fall and winter when they hit the lot as compared to the heat in July and August. And prices are historically better both for weaned calves in the spring and for fats in January and February. Also I have multiple pastures on other farms and it is easier to just haul cows than matching up pairs.

The biggest downside is like msscamp said with the extra feed in the winter. I feed corn silage along with hay and it is also more labor intensive than feeding just hay.
 

S&WSigma40VEShooter

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BRG":2xitj152 said:
In our situation, we have 3 calving seasons. Spring (March) Summer (May/June) Fall (Sept/Oct) with most of them in the summer bunch. We do calve this way for a few reasons.

Their are positives and negatives in the fall calving. I like it due to the fact that you simply don't loose any calves or have calving problems. This spring we had a death loss of around 10% due to the bad storms and the labor was crazy. As of today, we have 5 cows left and calved out around 70 fall cows this fall and haven't loss 1, while we only check them once after breakfast in the morning.

Another positive, in our area their is ussually a pretty good premium for grass type calves in May. These would fit that.

We wean ours in April and kick them on grass as soon as we can and leave them there until Mid September. This is easier and cheaper than feeding them every day.

Your weaning weights will be less, unless you give them some creep or something. The cows just don't milk quite as well since it is cold and they are grazing dead grass or eating hay. The main thing I don't like is, it is tougher to get the cows bred, at least in our area it can get quite cold when we are breeding. It is a little more expensive to feed them over the winter, but you can run a few more cows over the summer as they are dry.


Here they are easier to get bred in the fall/winter because it gets so hot here in the summer time that the uterine environment and the bull semen count going down because it is so hot sometimes they wont catch the first heat in the summer.
 

Angus Cowman

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I also don't have any breed back problems the last few yrs I have had right at 2% open on a 60-70 day breeding season and this yr my calving was right at 98% in 50 days
around here to "SPRING" calve everyone is trying to hit febuary and march which is some of our worst weather, temp could be 70 one day and freezing rain the next and that is harder on the calves than the fall changes as most of the calves are 30 days or older when the weather starts changing very much
 

BRG

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Angus Cowman":2brvv690 said:
I also don't have any breed back problems the last few yrs I have had right at 2% open on a 60-70 day breeding season and this yr my calving was right at 98% in 50 days
around here to "SPRING" calve everyone is trying to hit febuary and march which is some of our worst weather, temp could be 70 one day and freezing rain the next and that is harder on the calves than the fall changes as most of the calves are 30 days or older when the weather starts changing very much

When I made the comment we have a little harder time getting them bred, it is comparing it to our other breeding seasons, and it isn't all that bad, just not what I would like to see, plus all 3 of our breeding seasons are only 45 days.
 

Stocker Steve

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BRG":jvicugh8 said:
In our situation, we have 3 calving seasons. Spring (March) Summer (May/June) Fall (Sept/Oct) with most of them in the summer bunch.
I had a fall herd and bought "in season cows" so my calving season went from March to September this year. I am targeting May through August next year.
In theory - late summer or early fall calving cows with calves going to grass the next spring pays the best. You just need to have enough windbreaks and a little better quality hay.
 

BRG

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Angus Cowman":hniron86 said:
BRG":hniron86 said:
plus all 3 of our breeding seasons are only 45 days.
What kind of bull/cow ratio are you running to get a successful 45 day season
I calved 98% in 50 days this year

Anywhere from 30 to 50 cows per bull, depending on the age of the bull.
 

JRGidaho`

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rmredangus":qakqn8bu said:
I was wondering if anyone knew the pros/cons to switching a herd. My concern is not having the cows cycling heavy when I put the bulls in, say Nov. 1. Will they cycle hard all summer, will they fall off after so many cycles? I usually leave the cows on an irrigated cool season pasture until mid Oct. with pretty good amount and quality. They then go to corn or milo stalks for the winter. I live in SE Neb. Should I try to synch the herd or a neighbor told me if I pull calves off a couple days before breeding would induce activity. I don't want to hold bulls out all summer and then miss some cycles when they do go in. I know by Dec. the bulls activity, might be slowing down with temp drop. Any ideas or opinions(good or ugly) would be apreciated.

rm, where exactly in SE Nebraska are you located? If you have tall fescue pastures to stockpile, you could run fall-calvers all winter on stockpiled pastures to minimize the added feed costs. We used to run fall calving cows in north MO about 50 miles below the Iowa line on just stockpiled pastures. (lots of legumes and other rgass in with fescue, btw) Less than $50/pair winter feed cost, long term average 93% bred in 45-day season, and just over 500 lb calves on April 1 when market for that weight peaks.

To me the whole key to profitable fall-calving is keeping your feed costs low. if you have the fescue, you should be in a position to do it.
 

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