Spring and Fall calving herds

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jgn

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I was wondering how many people run 2 seperate herds of cattle with one herd calving in the spring and the second herd calving in the fall. What would be everyones opinions on the pros and cons to this and what would be the minimum size of the herds you would try this with if this was the way you operated.
 

dun

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Since no one seems to want to attack this, I'll give it a shot. The majority of theherds that I've worked with over the years started with a spring herd and the slow breeders slipped into a fall breeding herd. One friend of mine here only calves in the fall, but he's starting to have a few spring calvers, ones that have slipped because of being slow breeders. He only runs about 250 head of fall calvers and around 10-20 spring calvers. The logic of those that purposely established 2 calving periods seems to be that it's better then having all your eggs in one basket. If the market is down for one herd hopefully it will be up for the other. Even though prices are usually better in the spring, the cost of getting the same weight calf to sell at that time is higher. Winter feed for a wet cow and calf, sickness, etc. Can't really address the numbers issue.

dun
 
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jgn

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Thanks for the reply Dun, I've heard of a few that have done this. I don't have anywhere near enough head to run 2 but as I dream about the day I do wether it comes our not, just searching for some opinions on why this might be a good way or bad way.
 

dun

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Much of it has to do with what seasons you have other commitments that would prevent being able to manage the calving period. If you AI you also need to be able to work that into the seasonal schedule.
I've been thinking of how many would be feasible to split a herd. I would think you would need enough in each herd to make the increase in labor pay off. It would probably require two seperate wintering pastures/areas because of the differences in nutritional requirements. Post weaning you would want to move the cows to dry off to a pasture /feeding area so that you could keep the wet cows and young claves on the best forage available.

dun
 

tom4018

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We run a small herd that is about half spring and half fall calvers. As we bought cows when we started we got some fall and spring calvers and have left them that way, but have tightened our calving season up some. My uncle, who I considered my mentor (passed away 6 years ago),always believed in having a herd that split with fall and spring, his thought was that hopefully if the market went bad once that maybe it would recover by the time he sold the other half of his calves. I like having the income spread out, but we have started keeping better records in the last couple of years and it seems our weights are a little less on fall calves. Maybe thats due to less grass and having hay instead. We use very little grain unless they are bottle raised calves. We do try to stockpile grass in the fall. Hope this helps some. Its just the way we do, sometimes we do things wrong but then again we are always learning.
 

Big Alan

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We run a spring and fall herd. Main reason so heifers can calve at 30 months rather than 24. You don't have to push them too hard for weight gain and they breed back better.

Biggest problem is if you have a cow miss getting bred it's easier to just push her back 6 months rather than cull her.
 

royB

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We've only been at this for about 4 yrs but we have a small heard that we calve both spring and fall. My reasons were the same as you've heard, better options for sale barn prices, spread out the income, etc. One that you have not heard yet is that I am starting to sell sides/qtrs etc and hope to get to selling by the cut. Having two calving seasons gives me a better supply of products.

The issue of slipping one from one season to another is a plus and minus. My first bull performed well the first yr, the second I got 2 calves. (yes, I now preg check and BSE the bull - expensive lesson) I had a choice to cull all my animals basically or swith to fall calving. Plus, since I keep a bull, it keeps him busy more than 2 mthns a yr.

Roy
 

hillbilly

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It seems spring would be the natural season for calving, however we calve year round and have found the herd typicly calves about 50/50 in spring/fall with very few in the dead of winter or mid summer.
It seems in our climate that both spring and fall are natural seasons.

Hillbilly
 

Craig-TX

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hillbilly":7966hbli said:
It seems spring would be the natural season for calving, however we calve year round and have found the herd typicly calves about 50/50 in spring/fall with very few in the dead of winter or mid summer.
It seems in our climate that both spring and fall are natural seasons.

Hillbilly

Hillbilly, we run bulls year round and I’ve noticed the same thing over the years. You’ll always have a few outliers but as a general rule they will avoid the deep of winter and the worst of the summer. Of course, the cows that calve in the winter will always find a way to do it at night, out on top of some hill, during the worst northers of the year. That probably gets back to the barometric thread from a while back.

Craig-TX
 

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