Late May - June Calving and Grass Fed Operation

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Jafruech

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Guys and ladies, thanks a lot for your input. Mr. Judy or whoever, I understand that it all different depends on the circumstances. As for the locals, very little cattleman to see, and those who are to follow doing somethings I won't be able. They are very large farmers and by that I mean they have virtually free feed (grain) because they till 10s of thousands of hectares and grow grains. And they can afford to build barns and whatnot for the animals and feed them all winter long. My approach is low input...others around me that are in the similar conditions started to feed hay late October, and keep animals in some sort of pans all winter long...well with no experience I did completely different and almost everyone thought I was crazy...my animals were grazing up until January 2-3d, and moved daily...then I continue to move them to where the hay bales were. My questions are asked not bacause I try to "mimic some guys on the internet"...and yes I came here to ask questions and then try to understand as to WHY people doing it one way or the other.

For example, one thing I try to understand and decide as to when to castrate the bull calves...all suggest as young as possible, but then tell to use hormones...this is something I won't do, because there is a reason American beef with hormones injections are not allowed to sell in Europe...so then we back to square 1...if castrate early, how much smaller are they going to be? Some say the same others say smaller...simple physiology telling me that of course they will be smaller if castrate early, because of lack of testosterone in the system...castrate late then is an option.

Then the next question to follow...if wean bull calves in 6-7 months it make sense to put them with the stockers that are 10-11 months at the time. But I wanted to know is it going to be ok, or the larger animals won't let the smaller to eat?

The last question then...female calves...leave them with mothers, seems like the only option, because otherwise, I would have to have 3 herds to manage in most of the winter, and I think it is just not the best way to do things.

Oh and the last thing to add...most likely I won't even sell the live animals, but rather finish them on grass and have them ready for slaughter July-November at 24-28 months...and market meat

Very different I understand that, that's why I am learning to lower the cost and use some cost saving tips on managing the cattle through winter with minimal cost.

There's been some good feedback on here...and some helpful ones. I think Greg judy does some things right...I also think he takes things to a level that isn't profitable for most producers in many environments. Here's my take.

I calves in late April-End of May in Colorado. I know plenty of people here who calve in Feb/march here. They stress, create a lot of extra work, buy calf warmers, and ultimately lose some calves. We normally have to feed hay through March.

My cows have green grass at the time when they need it most. They calve in great condition and gain it back fast. I work with nature, not against it.

Here's a basic lay down of the steps to my calving season.

1. Get a great night's sleep.

2. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, look out of over the mountains and have breakfast with my family.

3. Go out, see what's calved, tag, vacc, and band. Write it down in my notes. I spend a couple minutes per calf doing it by myself.

4. Go have another cup of coffee and go about my day.

As you can see calving season here is really stressful 😂😂

Yes I band at birth using a tri-band bander which causes significantly less pain and stress due to the flat band (I've tried a lot of different banders).

I can post some links to several studies about castration timing. Banding at birth causes so little discomfort that there is no loss of gain and minimal stress. Banding after 6 mo you will lose the gain you got from the testosterone plus some.

I did my own experiment with a group of calves to back up the research. The ones I banded at birth weighted more at 7 months than the ones I did at 5 months.

What you're suggesting would cause more stress and pain resulting in loss not extra gain.

I tried the natural weaning deal. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it didn't.

So...I wean my calves in October (replacements go back with the cows). I fenceline wean to reduce stress. I do not creep feed but do bunk train them with alfalfa for the buyers that want them trained. They spend maybe 3 days bawling max, and they keep on growing with very little loss.

This also means that the cows are dried up and requiring a lot less feed when I'm getting into feeding hay. And I get to sell the calves as weaned and vacc. It's good econimcs on both sides and requires very little effort on my part. Typically my calves sell at 580 average this year a little less with the bad drought.

100% of my cows and replacements I kept bred...again...with my 17 year old cow being the first to breed back...again.

Raising cattle can be pretty dang easy, enjoyable, and fairly profitable if you make the right choices on genetics, and your management and handling practices
 

Allenw

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A former friend of mine followed the Ranching For Profit philosophy until the bank told him to sell the ranch. He went from a relatively profitable conventional operation to gladly selling a newer line of haying equipment at half its worth, to managing his cow herd low input until he sold them, calves weighed little, cows died of starvation, they stopped vaccinating and his wife told me how happy therir cows were not being worked twice a year, until they were sold on a forward contract......... Underweight bred heifers were refused, cows in poor shape were refused, 40% were open as they were full of disease. They rented grass to people for a few more years until the bank suggested they sell and they still believe they just needed more time to prove the point.....
I took the course myself and used what I could of it, still here and still growing. Most times you have to put something in to get something out.

"I took the course myself and used what I could of it,"

That is the key, learning should never end but you have to cull the wheat from the chaff when studying others ways of doing things.
 

Rydero

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Guys and ladies, thanks a lot for your input. Mr. Judy or whoever, I understand that it all different depends on the circumstances. As for the locals, very little cattleman to see, and those who are to follow doing somethings I won't be able. They are very large farmers and by that I mean they have virtually free feed (grain) because they till 10s of thousands of hectares and grow grains. And they can afford to build barns and whatnot for the animals and feed them all winter long. My approach is low input...others around me that are in the similar conditions started to feed hay late October, and keep animals in some sort of pans all winter long...well with no experience I did completely different and almost everyone thought I was crazy...my animals were grazing up until January 2-3d, and moved daily...then I continue to move them to where the hay bales were. My questions are asked not bacause I try to "mimic some guys on the internet"...and yes I came here to ask questions and then try to understand as to WHY people doing it one way or the other.

For example, one thing I try to understand and decide as to when to castrate the bull calves...all suggest as young as possible, but then tell to use hormones...this is something I won't do, because there is a reason American beef with hormones injections are not allowed to sell in Europe...so then we back to square 1...if castrate early, how much smaller are they going to be? Some say the same others say smaller...simple physiology telling me that of course they will be smaller if castrate early, because of lack of testosterone in the system...castrate late then is an option.

Then the next question to follow...if wean bull calves in 6-7 months it make sense to put them with the stockers that are 10-11 months at the time. But I wanted to know is it going to be ok, or the larger animals won't let the smaller to eat?

The last question then...female calves...leave them with mothers, seems like the only option, because otherwise, I would have to have 3 herds to manage in most of the winter, and I think it is just not the best way to do things.

Oh and the last thing to add...most likely I won't even sell the live animals, but rather finish them on grass and have them ready for slaughter July-November at 24-28 months...and market meat

Very different I understand that, that's why I am learning to lower the cost and use some cost saving tips on managing the cattle through winter with minimal cost.

I'm not aware of any cow/calf operations around me who implant calves with hormones, it's not as prevalent as you seem to think. I do agree that intact bulls will grow better but the added growth will mostly be post puberty which is obviously going to lead to complications for you. Animals you don't want bred will get bred, castrating late will lead to added stress and losses. It's less complicated to castrate them young.

I think natural weaning will also lead to problems mostly with last year's calves continuing to suck and younger calves losing out. With careful observation you might be able to select animals that will successfully self wean but you will have to separate and cull a lot of otherwise good animals. It may be more complicated to accomplish than to wean the calves.

Under your current plan you will have to wean the bulls. If they were castrated young you could wean all calves at the same time together no? If you're moving daily now I'm guessing you're using electric fences - you could fence line wean the calves which is fairly simple and low stress.

You mentioned you don't want to run separate herds and that you're just starting out. I'm wondering why you are trying to manage so many new enterprises at once? Cow calf, raising replacements, slaughter animals and also running older stockers? If only running one herd is important is it possible to pick the most profitable enterprise and just do that on a larger scale while you get your feet under you?
 

Ky hills

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I would recommend castrating the bull calves early. We band most when fairly young and I have never implanted. Our steer calves wean off on average a little heavier than heifer calves. I would also recommend weaning all the calves . We run steer and heifer calves together. Leaving the calves on the cows past 7 to 8 months at the most is not a good idea. The cows need time to rest and get built back up so to speak before calving again, and not all cows will self wean. That can result in a lot of calf loss. The older calves will take the milk/colostrum from the newborns. I agree with @gcreekrch that the young cattle running with cowherd will result in the young ones not growing or thriving well at all.
 

gcreekrch

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There's been some good feedback on here...and some helpful ones. I think Greg judy does some things right...I also think he takes things to a level that isn't profitable for most producers in many environments. Here's my take.

I calves in late April-End of May in Colorado. I know plenty of people here who calve in Feb/march here. They stress, create a lot of extra work, buy calf warmers, and ultimately lose some calves. We normally have to feed hay through March.

My cows have green grass at the time when they need it most. They calve in great condition and gain it back fast. I work with nature, not against it.

Here's a basic lay down of the steps to my calving season.

1. Get a great night's sleep.

2. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, look out of over the mountains and have breakfast with my family.

3. Go out, see what's calved, tag, vacc, and band. Write it down in my notes. I spend a couple minutes per calf doing it by myself.

4. Go have another cup of coffee and go about my day.

As you can see calving season here is really stressful 😂😂

Yes I band at birth using a tri-band bander which causes significantly less pain and stress due to the flat band (I've tried a lot of different banders).

I can post some links to several studies about castration timing. Banding at birth causes so little discomfort that there is no loss of gain and minimal stress. Banding after 6 mo you will lose the gain you got from the testosterone plus some.

I did my own experiment with a group of calves to back up the research. The ones I banded at birth weighted more at 7 months than the ones I did at 5 months.

What you're suggesting would cause more stress and pain resulting in loss not extra gain.

I tried the natural weaning deal. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it didn't.

So...I wean my calves in October (replacements go back with the cows). I fenceline wean to reduce stress. I do not creep feed but do bunk train them with alfalfa for the buyers that want them trained. They spend maybe 3 days bawling max, and they keep on growing with very little loss.

This also means that the cows are dried up and requiring a lot less feed when I'm getting into feeding hay. And I get to sell the calves as weaned and vacc. It's good econimcs on both sides and requires very little effort on my part. Typically my calves sell at 580 average this year a little less with the bad drought.

100% of my cows and replacements I kept bred...again...with my 17 year old cow being the first to breed back...again.

Raising cattle can be pretty dang easy, enjoyable, and fairly profitable if you make the right choices on genetics, and your management and handling practices
Like this!

We have never put replacements with main cow herd until they wean their first calf. They go to winter range together and then are sorted into a group with the coming twos for that winter. Grass time they go to cows ranges. We have had yearling heifers actually find their mom and suck again after being weaned and separated for seven months over winter.

We also would love to calve a little later but I guess greed and wanting too many cows prevents having enough fenced grass to calve on and having predators checking a calving herd on range won’t happen either. It was suggested by the RFP folks to calve at peak grass. Doing that would sure create some bag problems in my thoughts. It would also be difficult to get a good breed back here in October when the quality of grass is waning.
 

C-Ranch

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There's been some good feedback on here...and some helpful ones. I think Greg judy does some things right...I also think he takes things to a level that isn't profitable for most producers in many environments. Here's my take.

I calves in late April-End of May in Colorado. I know plenty of people here who calve in Feb/march here. They stress, create a lot of extra work, buy calf warmers, and ultimately lose some calves. We normally have to feed hay through March.

My cows have green grass at the time when they need it most. They calve in great condition and gain it back fast. I work with nature, not against it.

Here's a basic lay down of the steps to my calving season.

1. Get a great night's sleep.

2. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, look out of over the mountains and have breakfast with my family.

3. Go out, see what's calved, tag, vacc, and band. Write it down in my notes. I spend a couple minutes per calf doing it by myself.

4. Go have another cup of coffee and go about my day.

As you can see calving season here is really stressful 😂😂

Yes I band at birth using a tri-band bander which causes significantly less pain and stress due to the flat band (I've tried a lot of different banders).

I can post some links to several studies about castration timing. Banding at birth causes so little discomfort that there is no loss of gain and minimal stress. Banding after 6 mo you will lose the gain you got from the testosterone plus some.

I did my own experiment with a group of calves to back up the research. The ones I banded at birth weighted more at 7 months than the ones I did at 5 months.

What you're suggesting would cause more stress and pain resulting in loss not extra gain.

I tried the natural weaning deal. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it didn't.

So...I wean my calves in October (replacements go back with the cows). I fenceline wean to reduce stress. I do not creep feed but do bunk train them with alfalfa for the buyers that want them trained. They spend maybe 3 days bawling max, and they keep on growing with very little loss.

This also means that the cows are dried up and requiring a lot less feed when I'm getting into feeding hay. And I get to sell the calves as weaned and vacc. It's good econimcs on both sides and requires very little effort on my part. Typically my calves sell at 580 average this year a little less with the bad drought.

100% of my cows and replacements I kept bred...again...with my 17 year old cow being the first to breed back...again.

Raising cattle can be pretty dang easy, enjoyable, and fairly profitable if you make the right choices on genetics, and your management and handling practices
Just curious when you normally start feeding hay since I imagine your climate is close to mine. Also, do you buy all or part of your hay or raise it?
I try to not start feeding main herd till 1 January, (weaned calves start getting feed when weaned in Oct) but depending on weather sometimes start the week of Christmas. Then I stop feeding once we turn cows out onto BLM pasture which is normally 1 May. I use to calve much like you described, but in order to get fields ready for irrigation to come on and get cattle sorted and calves branded I had to move calving up in order to be ready for turn out.
 

Banjo

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I have read all the Rotational Grazing books and watched most of the videos. Some will tend to imply that the land will just flourish and bloom with everything it needs when you go "natural".
one video of Greg Judy's ....he was showing all the red clover he had in the pasture....that he didn't plant.
Sort of like ....this will just happen...once you start doing this.
i kind of learned the hard way that red clover will get really scarce if not frost seeded every couple of years. lots of clover in your pasture will give your calves a much higher and digestible forage than just grass alone. Sort of like creep grazing without actually creep grazing.
 

farmerjan

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Just to add that we also do not implant. I know of only 1 person that implants their calves while they are still on the cow. He only does the males, when we work them and castrate, because of possibly messing up the heifers for future replacements. I see no great improvement in his steer weights over not implanting. There is a some implanting done in some places when they are weaned and put on feed... but still it is not near as common as you seem to think.
We have done the castrating at birth, at a 4-8 week age when we are getting them caught up to go out on summer pasture with their momma's, and some later at weaning..... Using the callicrate bander we have had next to no problems with the older animals. Most are in the 550 to 700 lb range. IF YOU DO IT RIGHT .... and you HAVE to use Tetanus Toxoid at banding.... we have not had any issues. They lay around for a couple hours then go right back to eating. We always check them in 48 +/- hours to make sure the sack is cold to the touch... that means no blood flow. Then they get turned out to where ever we are putting them. We have seen maybe a 10-25 lb increase in weights on some but not across the board. You start getting up to the 800lb plus size, it is just hard on them and hard on the people doing it. Don't want to do them that big... and we have done a few over the years.

We sold to an all natural market and there was no real difference in price. This year feeders marketed as all natural did bring about $.10 lb more but that was a pot load (big tractor trailer). But we no longer target that market as we do some minimal vaccinations and we will treat one with an antibiotic if they get sick or get something like pinkeye. Bad eyes will discount a calf faster than you can make it up in an all natural sale.

I think that you might be taking on a bit much with all the different facets at the same time. Again, it may be the only way for you to have control over the supply chain from start to finish or to have available the animals you want or need at certain times.
I am all for reduced inputs. We have fed silage the last 2 years and I am not sure it has paid off except for the older cows with fall calves keeping better condition and making more milk for the calves through the cold. We have gone to more rotational type grazing and the cows have done better. We cut our numbers a little bit and they had some grazing this year through the middle of January at one place.

I think that castrating the bulls and weaning all the calves together would be a better strategy than leaving the heifers with the cows. The older we wean the calves, the more they seem to try sucking each other or other animals/cows. Even if the calves do "self wean, and the cows dry up, there is too much temptation for them to try sucking a cow with a new calf or another cow. If they suck each other as heifers, they can ruin an undeveloped udder and you can wind up with mastitis or blind quarters when a heifer does come fresh.

Personally, our heifers do not get back with the adult cows until after they have weaned their calf and are confirmed preg for their 2nd calf. Much like @gcreekrch I think. This allows them to get the best chance at continuing to grow while they are nursing their first calf. They are only competing with animals their own age and size. They have had a chance to proven themselves as a "momma" too. By the time they have their 2nd calf, they are ready and able to compete with the older cows.

Everyone is trying to give you advice from what they do/have done/or seen others do. No one wants to see you fail. But no one wants to see your enthusiasm get beat down from mistakes or difficulties that you could have possibly avoided....
And I have little experience with the kind of cold and snow you have so the members from the very northern US states and Canada are the best for that sort of advice.
 

gcreekrch

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We do implant all steers and Char x heifers with Ralgro. Not going to get into a discussion of ethics, we believe it pays to do it.

Agreed farmerjan, regardless of tones that some like me come off at, I do care that people succeed and hope that some would learn from other’s failures.

The “experts” likely make more income from their speaking engagements than they do from their farming endeavours.

I spoke with Allan Savory’s son Roger a few years back when he was asking about a property in the area. Their intent was to put 1100 cattle on an area that was proven to carry 400 pairs by using Hotwire on crown range. I explained that 60% of the area was taken up in tree stumps and they lost interest. He then told me that his father had lots of ideas for others but rarely if ever had owned any cattle himself.

Another friend was at a seminar given by Gerald Fry explaining linear measuring of cattle to pick the best grass genetic type. My friend operates a 1200 cow purebred operation and markets 400 bulls per year. When question period came along, my friend asked Mr. Fry where he lived as he wanted to come and see these perfect grass cattle. Mr. Fry replied that he didn’t own any.........

World is full of those that can, those that can’t, and those that can’t become teachers...
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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Guys, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the input...I am really learning a lot, and very grateful for that. I am not going to go into why I am stretching myself to the entire cycle, will just say that vertically integrated operation will be much more profitable and thus far much more sustainable here. There is no advance market for calves, there is demand, but prices are set and no auctions around here...and it is make sense to do it where you have end product.

Anyhow, what I learned and decided to do...castration: it seems that it is possible to find any study that support your idea, however you guys make me decide to castrate at birth...not sure how we will do it, but we are going to try:)

Calving: I will follow the weather, but I think that giving cows 2-4 weeks on grass will greatly improve the ease of calving season for me. SO calving at end of May-June.

Weaning: Dec-January and separate into 2d herd

Breeding around August 15th, AI and clean up bulls.

Now here where I am not clear...comes fall, I have bred cows with calves (4-5 months) in one herd and I have a separate herd with steers and heifers (15 months old)...I continue to run two separate herds until weaning time (6-7 months) for calves...now when weaned do I absolutely have to have a separate 3d herd or it is possible to combine weaned calves with steers and heifers? From your comment it seems to me that I would need to have a separate herd for young ones, so they do not compete with larger animals.

Now, answering some other questions...hay I did not buy any, in fact I sold some this year...I do have a somewhat weak hay fields (2 tons of hay per hectare/1ton per acre) but I need to do some minimal improvement to increase production.

Grazing as late as possible...plan to do that on uncut hay fields and hills

Feeding starts around here around Oct 15th-Nov 1...depends on the weather, folks do not make the cows dig for the grass for some reason and were laughing at me, but I saw that it is works when you move animals on fresh snow daily.
 

gcreekrch

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Guys, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the input...I am really learning a lot, and very grateful for that. I am not going to go into why I am stretching myself to the entire cycle, will just say that vertically integrated operation will be much more profitable and thus far much more sustainable here. There is no advance market for calves, there is demand, but prices are set and no auctions around here...and it is make sense to do it where you have end product.

Anyhow, what I learned and decided to do...castration: it seems that it is possible to find any study that support your idea, however you guys make me decide to castrate at birth...not sure how we will do it, but we are going to try:)

Calving: I will follow the weather, but I think that giving cows 2-4 weeks on grass will greatly improve the ease of calving season for me. SO calving at end of May-June.

Weaning: Dec-January and separate into 2d herd

Breeding around August 15th, AI and clean up bulls.

Now here where I am not clear...comes fall, I have bred cows with calves (4-5 months) in one herd and I have a separate herd with steers and heifers (15 months old)...I continue to run two separate herds until weaning time (6-7 months) for calves...now when weaned do I absolutely have to have a separate 3d herd or it is possible to combine weaned calves with steers and heifers? From your comment it seems to me that I would need to have a separate herd for young ones, so they do not compete with larger animals.

Now, answering some other questions...hay I did not buy any, in fact I sold some this year...I do have a somewhat weak hay fields (2 tons of hay per hectare/1ton per acre) but I need to do some minimal improvement to increase production.

Grazing as late as possible...plan to do that on uncut hay fields and hills

Feeding starts around here around Oct 15th-Nov 1...depends on the weather, folks do not make the cows dig for the grass for some reason and were laughing at me, but I saw that it is works when you move animals on fresh snow daily.
Yes, third herd to address each group’s nutritional needs and maximize returns from them.
I agree with your calving dates, would like to go later here. Do you have to deal with predators there?

We make our cows “rustle” for their living as long as possible here also. We started winter feeding twice in 2020. January first because of good grass and late snow and Oct. 20 because of an early snow and the four inches of rain on top of that. Our winter range was under a foot of water so we had no choice but feed. We like to keep our cattle in salable condition at all times.
 

chevytaHOE5674

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I live in deep snow country and make my cattle work for feed early in the winter also. I often graze into December (January once or twice) but have enough hay on hand should I need to start feeding in October. Then first of the new year I do some counting and calculating and sell off some extra hay.

Never know when we might get an October storm to drop 30" of concrete snow on us making it impossible to keep grazing.
 

farmerjan

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I have to agree that a third "herd" with the younger ones is pretty necessary to give the younger ones a good chance to grow without fighting for their fair share. Which they will not do if they weigh 600 and the yearlings weigh 8-900..... I realize you are looking at alot more work through the winter... but in order for them to continue to gain they cannot be shoved out of the feed/hay by bigger calves.
One suggestion to think about... Calving a little earlier will get the calves on the ground and doing good a little before the grass gets to growing.... they have less need for "quantity" of milk until they are at least a month. Then, if the grass is coming on and the cows are grazing their milk will increase some, and the calves will have the size to be able to drink more that the cows are producing. So you would actually be matching the calves need for milk with the amount available... they get a month or so old, the cows are producing more with the grazing, and the calves can utilize it because they are a little bigger. A calf can scour real fast if the cow is making too much right off the bat.

Hope things work out for you this year. Just out of curiosity, about how many cows are you trying to calve?
Please keep us up on what you are doing and what is working for you. You can always make changes down the road as you get a little experience.
And yes, we make our cows "rustle " for their grub.... grazing through some less than great weather, grazing through snow that is light enough and not crusted over with ice and such. That is their job....grazing.... not having it all delivered right to their doorstep.
 

Muletrack

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I've learned a little about wintering calves on cows in the snow being a fall-calver in North Dakota. We feed hay almost half the year -- almost got to unless in a cover crop situation. Weaning? That's easy when you just put the steers on the truck in May. All I'm looking to do it cut hay feeding by about a month, and started this year by bale grazing to keep them out on hay aftermath pasture until about Thanksgiving. My calves do best in the deep winter when they have free access to good hay apart from the cows. I have a creep hay area. We castrate bulls when they come into the yard -- that's at about three months for some of the oldest. I think Greg Judy's no-wean policy is unique for his operation, and the type of cow he raises. I'm debating whether to sell at weaning this spring, or keep the steers on native pasture into September. The drought is a big concern.
 

Stocker Steve

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Depends on your feed quality and your breeding and your weather and ...

If these things are similar to the expert's situation - - then you can trade off between less labor vs. more performance.
 

Stocker Steve

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The drought is a big concern.
The talking heads said ND that was the driest in 40 years, but some are still hauling ND hay into western MN for sale, so things must not be real bad state wide, yet. Cow hay is about U$S 80/T here and heifer hay is $105/T. Might pay to wean early if hay if high in your local area?
 

Muletrack

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The talking heads said ND that was the driest in 40 years, but some are still hauling ND hay into western MN for sale, so things must not be real bad state wide, yet. Cow hay is about U$S 80/T here and heifer hay is $105/T. Might pay to wean early if hay if high in your local area?
We had a dry winter, but the early summer wasn't bad and I think hay stocks are relatively high -- a lot of prevented planting went into forages that were allowed to be harvested earlier. We are dry, but can't forget how very wet it was last year. Crazy wet. The beautiful thing about Central North Dakota is this, that we only get 14-20 inches of precipitation a year, but most of that comes in the growing season. In 1991 I had to haul water to my cows for a month because two years of light snowfall dried up the dugouts. Then it started to rain and seems like it's been raining ever since. I don't buy hay, but I don't think I'll ever sell any ever again. Walt Davis (in "How To Not Go Broke Ranching") says this about the Amish -- they will sell you almost anything -- but they will never sell you hay. Don't know if that's true or not, but it makes good sense.

Oh, and it's going to rain!
 
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dimka1980

dimka1980

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Yes, third herd to address each group’s nutritional needs and maximize returns from them.
I agree with your calving dates, would like to go later here. Do you have to deal with predators there?

We make our cows “rustle” for their living as long as possible here also. We started winter feeding twice in 2020. January first because of good grass and late snow and Oct. 20 because of an early snow and the four inches of rain on top of that. Our winter range was under a foot of water so we had no choice but feed. We like to keep our cattle in salable condition at all times.
Hi,

My thinking behind calving dates were the grass, I will closely watch the weather and when we do see grass first, and might move the dates 2 weeks or so. Last year, I only was able to purchase bulls after August 15th so it worked out that way.

As for predators, so far so good...did not have any issues, however wolves are the main issue that might arise, so I grow male and female guardian dogs "alabai" breed for that...next year we should have first puppies born on the farm with cattle and other livestock so they know who to protect.
 
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dimka1980

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I have to agree that a third "herd" with the younger ones is pretty necessary to give the younger ones a good chance to grow without fighting for their fair share. Which they will not do if they weigh 600 and the yearlings weigh 8-900..... I realize you are looking at alot more work through the winter... but in order for them to continue to gain they cannot be shoved out of the feed/hay by bigger calves.
One suggestion to think about... Calving a little earlier will get the calves on the ground and doing good a little before the grass gets to growing.... they have less need for "quantity" of milk until they are at least a month. Then, if the grass is coming on and the cows are grazing their milk will increase some, and the calves will have the size to be able to drink more that the cows are producing. So you would actually be matching the calves need for milk with the amount available... they get a month or so old, the cows are producing more with the grazing, and the calves can utilize it because they are a little bigger. A calf can scour real fast if the cow is making too much right off the bat.

Hope things work out for you this year. Just out of curiosity, about how many cows are you trying to calve?
Please keep us up on what you are doing and what is working for you. You can always make changes down the road as you get a little experience.
And yes, we make our cows "rustle " for their grub.... grazing through some less than great weather, grazing through snow that is light enough and not crusted over with ice and such. That is their job....grazing.... not having it all delivered right to their doorstep.
Hi farmerjan,

This year I have 36 heifers. I never preg check them. But they been with the bulls since August 20 or so. I saw the bulls tried to mount 1 or 2 cows as late as yearly October, so I am not sure if they were in heat or not. We will see. As you can see not many heifers, but the plan is to maybe get some more this year, we will see. Also, with stockers we got two heifers that were bred earlier and we got the first calf about 2 weeks ago, she was lucky I think, was born during the day, and it was somewhat warm...about 0 C, and sunny...so she had a chance to dry up...and the other one calved yesterday, again lucky:) 6 C and sunny, and also born during the day, but we still have -10 at night, and any day can have wind snow and all the way to -20 C, so I just think of it as a lottery...plus with hay only I am sure cows do not get enough for them to be in optimal shape.
However, I will monitor closely this year and see if maybe there is room to move calving up 2 weeks or so.
 
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dimka1980

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I've learned a little about wintering calves on cows in the snow being a fall-calver in North Dakota. We feed hay almost half the year -- almost got to unless in a cover crop situation. Weaning? That's easy when you just put the steers on the truck in May. All I'm looking to do it cut hay feeding by about a month, and started this year by bale grazing to keep them out on hay aftermath pasture until about Thanksgiving. My calves do best in the deep winter when they have free access to good hay apart from the cows. I have a creep hay area. We castrate bulls when they come into the yard -- that's at about three months for some of the oldest. I think Greg Judy's no-wean policy is unique for his operation, and the type of cow he raises. I'm debating whether to sell at weaning this spring, or keep the steers on native pasture into September. The drought is a big concern.
Hi there,

I understand about each operation is different, and most likely I will wean this year and see how will it work. I actually want to try the nose flaps as well as a wire when weaning.

As for the drought, so far I don't have that problem. Last year area where I am had a big issue with drought, but in the mountains where I am seems plenty of moisture. When no rain, every morning, when I go move the fence. I return soaking wet waist down from dew.
 

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