One of the greatest strengths of the cattle industry is the diverse methods of raising cattle. There’s multiple entry and exit points an animal can take from the farm/ranch to finishing. It allows for a variety of production methods, allows producers to match their operation to a region’s specific environment, but also carries a weight of risk by not choosing the right path.
It Starts At Calving
This diversity was evident in a recent poll on Drovers.com, when we asked producers to comment on the timing of their primary calving season. More than 450 respondents participated
, and many added comments below.
Of the respondents, the majority said their primary calving season occurred from March to April, typically called spring calving, regardless of the fact that winter weather is often still a factor.
In second place is September to October, at 17%, and close behind was January to February, with 13%.
Through the comments we received
, producers were quick to add details such as if they have a tight calving season as well as their experiences with any changes they’ve made in the past year. Here’s a few insights:
Match Resources to Production
Whether it’s labor, forage growth or availability to other feedstuffs, producers can develop a operation that matches the resources they have.
Several people, like John, have groups of spring calving and fall calving cows. And, like Doug added, there are pros and cons to both seasons.
A tighter calving period can be more labor intensive
, but offers a more accurate calving timeframe. By synching cows before breeding, grouping cows for calving can help manage farmers provide top-notch care. This is common strategy for farmers wanting to have cows finished calving prior to planting or harvest seasons.
Start With Your Marketing Strategy, Then Work Backwards
Interesting perspective came from Jessie Driggers, who changed timelines based on reaching a select group of bull customers.
For commercial cattlemen, seasonality can also affect how calves successfully meet certain production goals, such as preconditioning programs, health claims, antibiotic-use or harvest bonuses.
Have additional comments or questions about spring or fall calving? Email them to [email protected] for future article ideas.