No, a late calf isn’t always better than no calf

Are you still calving cows?

It may seem like a strange question to ask during the breeding season, but many farmers calve more cows in May than they do in February!

Some of you may say that “a late calf is better than no calf”, but what weight will a weanling born in May be by mid October?

Taking a birth weight of 45kg and an average daily gain of 1.2kg/day, this weanling will weigh just 225kg.

When should your cows calve, in order to achieve a 330kg weanling by mid-October?

Working backwards, a 330kg weanling needs to gain 285kg (330kg minus 45kg) by mid- October, to hit this target.

At 1.2kg of average daily gain, this means that the weanling needs to be 240 days or eight months old.

This gives a mid-February birth date.

To avoid having late calves next year, you need to decide on a bull out date this year.

Taking the bull out by the end of June will mean that calving will be completed by mid-April.

It may be tempting to keep the bull in with the cows and vow to sell these with calf at foot next year, but it means that you will have these animals for an extra year, rather than scanning cows and fattening cull cows off grass cheaply.

The other danger is that you will keep these cows in the herd, once they are in calf!


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