Summer calves???

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Tommy Ruyle

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Does anyone have summer calves here in the mid-west?

I've been thinking (that's usually a bad sign). If you look at the feed needs of a cow through the calf cycle, the highest need is in the last trimester. Why don't more guys calve in July so the best pasture (April-June) is when the cow needs it?

I started this a couple years ago and kind'a like it. The calves are big enough to start foraging on their own by the time I turn them out on to the corn stalks (Oct-Nov) and the cow needs the least amount of energy after I wean the calves which is in Jan. I don't see the negative (yet).

What's everyone else think?????
 

dun

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Calving in July doesn;t allow the calf to get the benefit of the best pasture during the timeframe hey can best use it. Then you can run into the problems of heat stress on the cow in the late pregnancy from heat and the possible difficuolty in getting the4m bred back for the same reason
 

jerry27150

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around here not many want july or august calves. the heat & flies make it hard on the small calves & you have to be on watchout for screw worms
 

Workinonit Farm

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dun":5y6vznga said:
Calving in July doesn;t allow the calf to get the benefit of the best pasture during the timeframe hey can best use it. Then you can run into the problems of heat stress on the cow in the late pregnancy from heat and the possible difficuolty in getting the4m bred back for the same reason

Add to that the fly situation and that pretty much sums it up for me as well.

Katherine
 
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Tommy Ruyle

Tommy Ruyle

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I've been putting ear tags in on day one, so flies haven't been a problem.

Breeding back is not a problem because I put the bull in on Oct. 1st.
 

brandonm_13

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I was reading a book by Alan Nation (editor of the stockman grass farmer), and he suggested calving close to the longest day of the year, June 21. I'll try to recall his reasons here. 1. That leaves the cow open during the months of July and August. Apparently there is something called tropical degeneration that bred cows can get when dealing with heat. Plus the bull gets to work in September versus July. 2. With a June 21 calving date, cows have had time to build up their fat reserves from spring grass. The fatter the cow is(up to a point), the higher her breedback percentage. 3. Cow needs double at parturition, and warm season grasses peak growth is on the longest day of the year sense they are light sensitive(he suggests part of your pastures should be in warm season annuals or perennials).

Of course, I think he said this was all based on the 30 somethingk lattitude. For every "however many miles" farther south you go, the earlier the parturition date should be. Of course he also suggests culling based on fly tolerance as well.
 

Willow Springs

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I've been thinking (that's usually a bad sign). If you look at the feed needs of a cow through the calf cycle, the highest need is in the last trimester. Why don't more guys calve in July so the best pasture (April-June) is when the cow needs it?

Actually the highest nutritional needs are at peak milk yield and re-breeding which usually come together 30-60 days after calving. The cows should be calving at the same time as the best grass is coming; basically the same time the wild ungilates are birthing in your area. We do find quite a bit of feed savings on the cows in the last trimester though; they do have higher needs, but the weather is also much warmer in April/May.

I was reading a book by Alan Nation (editor of the stockman grass farmer), and he suggested calving close to the longest day of the year, June 21. I'll try to recall his reasons here. 1. That leaves the cow open during the months of July and August. Apparently there is something called tropical degeneration that bred cows can get when dealing with heat. Plus the bull gets to work in September versus July. 2. With a June 21 calving date, cows have had time to build up their fat reserves from spring grass. The fatter the cow is(up to a point), the higher her breedback percentage. 3. Cow needs double at parturition, and warm season grasses peak growth is on the longest day of the year sense they are light sensitive(he suggests part of your pastures should be in warm season annuals or perennials).

Of course, I think he said this was all based on the 30 somethingk lattitude. For every "however many miles" farther south you go, the earlier the parturition date should be. Of course he also suggests culling based on fly tolerance as well.

Dick Diven suggests May 17 in our area; we are north of Edmonton, Alberta. We start calving earlier than that; about May 1st. I want to be done calving by the first week of June if possible. As Dun said the later calves don't do well on the later summer grass. We have found that the mid June and later calves do poorly. My thoughts are that by the time they start eating any amount of grass it is starting to decline in quality by early to mid-August. The cows are definitely more fertile when calving in June though; most will cycle in 20-30 days and stick to the service; even first calf heifers.
 

alisonb

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Summer prices vs winter prices? Supply and demand. If everybody stuck to 'summer calves' prices would be influenced.
 

BRG

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The majority of our cows do calve in May and June. That may not be summer but it is pretty much when mother nature does it around here. It works great. We only had about 1% death loss compared to the 7% or so for our Feb & March calving cows. The main trouble we have is come heifer marketing time. We are a Registered outfit and when we try to market replacement heifers, nearly no one else breeds that time of the year so no one really wants a June calf or a heifer bred for June.
 

dun

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BRG":2bpeu6rm said:
The majority of our cows do calve in May and June. That may not be summer but it is pretty much when mother nature does it around here.
That's where environment enters the picture. If we calved in may and june we would be trying to get them to settle during the hottest part of the year. Instead calving in March and April I'm thinking of moving it up to the middle of February to start
 

brandonm_13

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I may have some calve in winter, but I definately don't want to do it as a herd again. I tried that with Boer goats. You can get 3 kiddings in two years, which means that every other year, a kidding will be in the middle of winter (as opposed to Fall and Apring the other years), and I've had my fill of frozen babies, frozen fingers, wind whipping rain and ice, breaking and hauling water, and all thos other wonderful things you have to deal with in winter. :santa:
 

Keren

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Willow Springs":1lg120s1 said:
I've been thinking (that's usually a bad sign). If you look at the feed needs of a cow through the calf cycle, the highest need is in the last trimester. Why don't more guys calve in July so the best pasture (April-June) is when the cow needs it?

Actually the highest nutritional needs are at peak milk yield and re-breeding which usually come together 30-60 days after calving. The cows should be calving at the same time as the best grass is coming; basically the same time the wild ungilates are birthing in your area. We do find quite a bit of feed savings on the cows in the last trimester though; they do have higher needs, but the weather is also much warmer in April/May.

Exactly what I was going to say
 

mnmtranching

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Summer calving is fine. It's going to take some extra care. Fly's are a problem. Even young calves in hot weather will need water. Can they reach the tank or find the water?
 

brandonm_13

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Good point. I forgot to mention that I usually keep one short trough for babies in hot weather, just in case. They seem to figure it out after a few days.
 

TexasBred

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We shoot for early spring but actually end up calving year round. I can't see any difference in the calves at birth or weaning, have had no additional medical problems or calving problems. Summer in this area is not the best time to get a cow settled tho.
 

showing71

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BRG":2u2dknrc said:
The main trouble we have is come heifer marketing time. We are a Registered outfit and when we try to market replacement heifers, nearly no one else breeds that time of the year so no one really wants a June calf or a heifer bred for June.
That's our problem with calving later, when it comes to selling bulls and heifers, having them that young turns a lot of people away. We have found that a lot of our buyers want Jan/Feb calves.
 

BRG

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We hold the bulls over and sell short 2's, and it seems as if we have a demand for them, it is just those darn heifers. Oh well, we are culling the cows a bit harder and keeping more heifers to breed.
 

alacattleman

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dun":1a7pld32 said:
BRG":1a7pld32 said:
The majority of our cows do calve in May and June. That may not be summer but it is pretty much when mother nature does it around here.
That's where environment enters the picture. If we calved in may and june we would be trying to get them to settle during the hottest part of the year. Instead calving in March and April I'm thinking of moving it up to the middle of February to start
thats when i start calving ,,, in my area its perfect time,, summer slump is hard on the momas enough, and milk production,, but age of the calf is were its doing alot of grazing and taking some pressure of moma.... that calf will jump up and go too nursing in the cooler temps. our fescue make the placenta thicker too, especially horses added with the heat drying it out and the heat exhausted mother makes a rough start on both and the cow is bred before dog days get here .
 

msscamp

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Tommy Ruyle":18itpjn0 said:
I've been thinking (that's usually a bad sign). If you look at the feed needs of a cow through the calf cycle, the highest need is in the last trimester. Why don't more guys calve in July so the best pasture (April-June) is when the cow needs it?

That is true, but if you look at the feed needs of a cow with a calf at her side, the highest need is when that calf hits about 2 months of age through weaning. We did not calve in summer because that would mean having to supply hay to the cow and her calf through the winter. It is labor intensive, and cost prohibitive for my area. In addition to that, there is the issue with flies, disease, and the heat of summer has been known to make the calf lethargic and unwilling to nurse.
 

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