First time heifers. Time to think about breeding season.

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dimka1980

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Hi folks,

I wanted to ask for your advice again. Calving season started for us on May 17 that was about 2-3 weeks early, we had to bottle feed one calf and I think first few were born a bit small. But I am not sure. We were all bull service for our heifers last summer and now have about 50% of the heifers already with calf next to them (16 or 17 out of 30).

However I started to plan ahead for the breeding season. And have few questions for you. All animals on pastures, rotated daily or every other day, Grass is only native grass, and very thick. So, I think we are ok there. I also ordered some micro and micro nutrients and will starts supplement program that I want to do "free choice". Waiting on the delivery of the stuff.

Tomorrow I want to record a little video and wanted to ask for your advice and opinion on the BCS of the first-calf heifers and what I can do to improve the success of the AI breeding this August. I plan to use 5-day CO Synch + CIDR fixed time AI on them with cleaning bull after 2 weeks. Breed them on August 15ht.

My main concern is if they will be able to gain back on grass only. Grass is not the problem for us we have plenty but I am not sure if they can improve the BCS by mid August.

Anyways, I will make 3-5 minutes video to show the heifers, calves and pastures where they are now. Maybe it will be better to voice opinion then.

Thanks
 

gcreekrch

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With that grass they should be in good condition by mid August. While in my opinion you wintered these heifers very tough, as long as they are on the gain they should cycle and breed. Most times they are harder to get in calf the second year than the first.

Two rules here to raise calves and get cows bred back….. put up your hay and feed your cows. I have seen more go broke following Ranching For Profit ideals in country like yours and mine than I have seen successes.
 
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Two rules here to raise calves and get cows bred back….. put up your hay and feed your cows. I have seen more go broke following Ranching For Profit ideals in country like yours and mine than I have seen successes.
I completely agree. If a cow can't raise a good calf on grass and salt/minerals then she is too expensive. As per winter, hell knows we have tough winters in Alberta, if a cow can't keep her condition with good hay and again salt/minerals....... then she's not good enough and goes.

Dimka1980, just a general question. Why do you AI your herd, or part of your herd?
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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Thanks for the replies. First let me answer why AI? My herd is very small as of right now. And I dont want to keep too many bulls for later. Second I want to do AI my self as I get through the training and doing it myself that should keep the cost down, eventhough it is not that expensive to begin with here anyways. Also with AI I can try and bring some good genetics from abroad at MUCH lesser cost. Thats why AI, I have everything already prepared for some years, so thats why AI.
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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With that grass they should be in good condition by mid August. While in my opinion you wintered these heifers very tough, as long as they are on the gain they should cycle and breed. Most times they are harder to get in calf the second year than the first.

Two rules here to raise calves and get cows bred back….. put up your hay and feed your cows. I have seen more go broke following Ranching For Profit ideals in country like yours and mine than I have seen successes.
Greekrch, I agree with you. My plan is not only put up hay, but do couple hundred baleage Wraped, so closer to spring I can start feeding better feed to them
 

W.B.

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They look thin to me for two yr olds. Cows can recover with good grass but young cows are still growing and now they are lactating and trying to rebreed. The last cows I want ai are two yr olds. I agree with gcreek in that you need Raise your own feed. The Herefords i have been around are lower dry matter intake than say an Angus. Not necessarily an asset when forage quality is low.
 

gcreekrch

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Greekrch, do mind me asking what principles do ranching for profit propose and why in your opinion they dont work? Especially in climates like ours?
Have you taken the course? If so, I found the first three days very valuable to any business. When they get to the sell the equipment, buy your have and then bale graze those hard earned dollars to trample 40% of it before it goes through the cow I have a hard time believing that instructors from semi desert country would last long in the north. Another I knew quit vaccinating. His wife said their cows were much happier until abortions started happening, calves died and when they dispersed their cow herd after only 6 years or RFP management the cows were 45% open. This guy would call me and ask why heavy bred cows were going down on his “stockpiled” grass that had less nutrients than straw. The only way to fix stupid is with a 2x4!
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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Have you taken the course? If so, I found the first three days very valuable to any business. When they get to the sell the equipment, buy your have and then bale graze those hard earned dollars to trample 40% of it before it goes through the cow I have a hard time believing that instructors from semi desert country would last long in the north. Another I knew quit vaccinating. His wife said their cows were much happier until abortions started happening, calves died and when they dispersed their cow herd after only 6 years or RFP management the cows were 45% open. This guy would call me and ask why heavy bred cows were going down on his “stockpiled” grass that had less nutrients than straw. The only way to fix stupid is with a 2x4!
No I did not take the course. But seems like not all concepts will work for everyone. And yeah 2x4 sometimes is the best took:)
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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They look thin to me for two yr olds. Cows can recover with good grass but young cows are still growing and now they are lactating and trying to rebreed. The last cows I want ai are two yr olds. I agree with gcreek in that you need Raise your own feed. The Herefords i have been around are lower dry matter intake than say an Angus. Not necessarily an asset when forage quality is low.
W.B why wouldn’t you ai 2 year olds?
 

GoWyo

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Dimka - your cows look in the same condition as a lot of my neighbors' cows calving in April here. With the flush of grass they seem to be in good breeding condition by July when they turn out bulls. In this area, some ranches calve in February. I prefer March so that I only have to feed the months of March and April and the bull calves will still develop enough for our sale in the spring. Others calve in April/May here. Cows will lose some condition over the winter and calving in a BCS 5 seems to work fine so long as they have either hay or grass coming to ramp up right after calving. With 60-90 days on good feed post-calving, they will really be on the gain and highly fertile.

Good for you with your AI program. I don't know what the beef industry is like in your area, but it looks like some great cattle country and you can advance your herd very quickly with careful selection of sires. I always wondered why there weren't cowboys in Russia. Maybe the Cossacks were the equivalent before 1917 or so?
 

gcreekrch

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No I did not take the course. But seems like not all concepts will work for everyone. And yeah 2x4 sometimes is the best took:)
Best way to test those concepts is to watch someone who is already doing them and see how they would or wouldn’t work in your operation. We don’t always have to be the one to pee on the wire to see if it is hot or not. 😉
 

W.B.

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The reason I never ai two yr olds is they are my highest risk group. They also are my highest value group. If I miss a heat or use semen that is of lesser quality now it is on her to make up for that. I want my 3 yr olds on time. I own good enough bulls to make it so that 75%+ of my 3 yr olds calve first cycle.
 

kentuckyguy

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Just make sure they are gaining weight when you go to breed them.

most of the studies I have seen conception rates are better when they are gaining weight regardless of BCS. Of course that’s to an extent. Of course BCS below 4 will give your problems.

And for that matter if open non lactating cows are below a BCS of 4 you need to look at supplementation of cutting back herd size.
 

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