making calves work

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cypressfarms

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I had posted a thread concerning a different way of looking at profitability with cows, as far as weaning a percentage of their weight each year. One of the posters cited an article which showed a correlation between low miking cows and high efficient cows. According to the article, while heavy milkers started out with heavier calves, by 60 days of age, the calves were of comparable weight (from low milking momas versus heavy milking momas). This apparently has to do with the calf being forced to forage at a youger age.

So my question is:

Should we start to use cattle with low to moderate milking EPD's as opposed to high milkers? Common sense tells you that extremes on either side are not desirable, but perhaps the cow on the lower end of the milk spectrum could be more efficient? The heavier milker could be providing too much milk - which would not require the calf to work (forage), and a side affect of this is that the moma's daily nutrient requirements would be drastically increased - possibly affecting timely rebreeding. Any thoughts?
 

Angus Cowman

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I don't beleive we want to be at the low end of the spectrum on milk.

I like to stay in the middle because IMO if we go to the low end we take the chance of losing more calves because they aren't getting enough from momma or we have calves that are under nourished and will be lacking if the forage isn't as high as it needs to be or we have to supplement the calves with higher priced grain

I don't feel going to the extreme one way or the other is a good thing I just want a cow that will produce enough milk to get that calve going good and then when he starts foraging to keep enough milk so that he is gaining on a steady basis

I know a guy that has some dairy influence in his cows they raise monster calves but if you try and wean those calves they really drop in condition so he has to sell his calves as soon as they come off the cow

On the other hand I know a guy who has some cows that don't milk heavy enough in my opinion and to get those calves to an acceptable weaning weight he has to creep feed those calves

So I like a moderate milking cow that can raise an acceptable size calf and then at weaning I can go ahead and feed these calves for 60-90 days and get an acceptable rate of gain on them with out losing condition
 

novatech

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cypressfarms":2toevg7i said:
I had posted a thread concerning a different way of looking at profitability with cows, as far as weaning a percentage of their weight each year. One of the posters cited an article which showed a correlation between low miking cows and high efficient cows. According to the article, while heavy milkers started out with heavier calves, by 60 days of age, the calves were of comparable weight (from low milking momas versus heavy milking momas). This apparently has to do with the calf being forced to forage at a youger age.

So my question is:

Should we start to use cattle with low to moderate milking EPD's as opposed to high milkers? Common sense tells you that extremes on either side are not desirable, but perhaps the cow on the lower end of the milk spectrum could be more efficient? The heavier milker could be providing too much milk - which would not require the calf to work (forage), and a side affect of this is that the moma's daily nutrient requirements would be drastically increased - possibly affecting timely rebreeding. Any thoughts?
My cattle are what I would call moderate to low milkers. They all stay in good flesh through weaning calves. I have had cows go down a bit during drought but have never had to wean early when grass was in short supply.
I make my comparisons at weaning time as far as calf raising ability and her BCS. Then cull accordingly. At that point I really don't pay much attention to how much milk she produced, but have noticed that the lower milkers also are not in quite as good body condition as the moderate milkers. My herd average on calves is 2.83 lbs per day weaning weight on purebred Brahmans, with no supplement, non fertilized pasture and below average quality hay only when necessary.
I have had heavy milkers in the past. They raise nice fat calves. They were the only cows I ever had teat problems with and the only ones that could not hold up in hard times. It was the only time I ever had to feed protein supplement. They were the only cows that did not rebreed for a calf per year. Those problems have been eliminated.
As far as EPD's I cannot help as the man I bought my cattle from did not keep up with them. (I question milk EPD's as they do not take into account the hustling ability of the calf.) I have taken care of his cattle for several years so I new the cows that would hold up and those that would not. He sells his cows at 12 years old so that is what I made my foundation stock from.
 

Jogeephus

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To me, the most important thing is to wean a live calf and the cow breed back on time. Two years running I had over 100% calving rate due to twins on a 60 day schedule. This was without culling due to palpation. While some can rightfully argue that twins are a pain. But with the right momma, they are a blessing to your herd numbers when the final numbers are calculated. I've quite trying to split hairs on what's what and have now have my sights on this goal. Not going to happen this year and it didn't happen last year. But it is my goal.
 

Limomike

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I agree with AC on this. I do not want my calves to start out with a low milker. I want them to have as much milk as possible, when growing. I think it is vital to their development early on. Most of my beefmaster cows are heavy milk producers, and those calves grow out real fine. Since I put a Limo bull on them, they also wean great and dont lose a thing while doing so.
 

Cowdirt

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I haven't done a study on the subject of milking vs. calf growth but from my observation I haven't found my calves catching up at 60 days on a low milker; rarely ever by weaning age. My intentions for my herd is moderation in most traits. Matter-of-fact that's not a bad goal for things in general.

I've been putting emphasis on good udders for the past few yrs. Don't like a calf reaching to the ground for the big ole teats and breaking his neck to suck. Seems to me that too much milk early in the calf's life causes more problems, scours, etc. than not quite enough. Again, think moderation.
 

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